I gave Princess a pacifier to try when she was only a few days old. Ever since then, the "paci" has been a part of our lives. When she was younger, she got the paci when she was fussy or tired or loud in church. When she turned one, the paci was banished to her crib where it was only to be used when Princess was sleeping. I bent the rules a few times when she was really sick or when I was really sick, but basically the paci is only for sleeping.
I was three when I gave up my pacifier. Before my third birthday, my mom began psyching me up to lose the pacifier. She told me over and over how when I turned three, I would be a big girl and big girls didn't need pacifiers. On my birthday, the beloved pacifier disappeared and I sadly went to bed that night without it. I remember several weeks or maybe months later, finding my old pacifier in a drawer in the changing table and looking at it with fondness. I wanted desperately to stick it in my mouth for old time's sake, but knew that I was too old for it. So I put it back and never thought about it again. The whole process was relatively painless even though up until that point I had always had my pacifier for bedtime. I thought this might be a good way to get rid of Princess's pacifier as well, but here we are, trying to get rid of the pacifier at 20 months.
Personally, I don't have a problem with Princess using a pacifier for sleep. It's not like she walks around with it in her mouth all day. However, I have fallen prey to mommy guilt. Mommy guilt is not just the guilt a mommy feels when she feels guilty for giving in to her child's demands for jelly on white bread for supper the fourth day in a row. Mommy guilt can also occur when somebody else makes the mommy feel like she's doing a bad job in raising her kids. The second is what happened to me. Certain people have made no secret of the fact that they strongly disapprove of me letting Princess have her paci. Never mind the fact that Princess is not their child and they have no idea what she really needs. I also have gotten several guilt-inducing lectures from co-workers, friends, and relatives. Hubby is of the strong opinion that Princess needs to throw her pacifier in the trash yesterday since he has been listening to all these people as well. Never mind the fact that he doesn't have to sit up half the night when she cries. If it were up to me, I would leave Princess alone until she's old enough to understand that big girls don't suck pacifiers, just like my mom did with me. But because of increasing pressure from so many people, I have begun cutting Princess off her pacifier. Literally.
Rather than go cold turkey which would result in traumatizing sleepless nights and days for both Princess and me, I am cutting the end off her pacifier little by little. The first time I cut a tiny sliver off, it didn't seem to bother Princess much although she immediately became more attached to her baby blanket. The second time, I cut off enough so that the air could get through and Princess...well, she noticed. She has become even more attached to her blanket and is not as thrilled about getting the pacifier as she was before. Every week, I will cut a little more off until she (hopefully) decides that the pacifier is not worth it and gives it up completely.
This whole thing seems ridiculous to me. With Princess's asthma, the paci has been an invaluable tool to calming her down and getting her to breathe again when she's gasping for air. She's also getting very attached to her baby blanket which to me means that no matter what I do, she will need something to sleep with, be it the pacifier or the blanket. Does it really matter which one it is? I'd rather it were the pacifier actually. It's easier to carry around then a blanket.
Apparently, I don't follow this one well, but here it is. You know your child better than anyone else. Always remember that.