Here Nuky, Nuky, Nuky

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Okay guys, I need some advice from you other parents. Bean is 13 months old and is seemingly getting more and more attached to her nuk. We typically only let her have it for naps and nighttime. But then there are some exceptions like during car rides when she’s kind of freaking out, or at church which is during her naptime and she’s tired and cranky.

But lately I see it becoming more and more of an “attachment” or comfort object for her. I don’t know if she’s truly getting more attached to it, or if it’s because she’s teething and has a cold, and wants it for comfort (meaning, maybe in a few more weeks it will be back to no big thing).

All I know is that I’m having a hard time not giving in and giving it to her during other parts of the day when she’s freaking out or tired and cranky. Because let’s be honest — it’s so much easier to give in and give it to her now, but then so much harder later on.

But I really, really try not to give in because I’ve just never wanted my kids walking around 24/7 with a nuk. (disclaimer: that is totally my personal preference, no judgment on anyone else who thinks differently). And I’m afraid the more she has it, the more she’ll want it all the time.

Right now, when Bean wakes up in the morning or from a nap, usually the first thing she does is take the nuk out of her mouth and hand it to us. But then if she sees it later? WATCH. OUT.

For instance. This morning while I was getting Bean changed, she saw the nuk on her dresser, and when I wouldn’t give it to her, proceeded to have a nuclear meltdown akin to the Chernobyl disaster, complete with kicking, screaming, tears, spitting, and of course a runaway nose due to her cold. This continued for the next 20 minutes while we finished getting ready to leave, up to and including buckling her into her car seat, which set off a second nuclear wave. Finally, after looking in my rearview and seeing the snot comingling with the spit, and getting pretty close to a nuclear reaction myself due to the unrelenting, ear-piercing screams, I turned on the AM static really loud. She was stunned into silence and then her eyes seemed to glaze over as she stared out the window the rest of the ride. (Incidentally, these are the moments I’m going to be reminding myself of when we’re on vacation and I get sad and start to miss them. This and the fact that every time I wipe their noses, they still manage to smear snot on their faces, then I have to wash their hands and their faces, and then apply lotion because their faces are all red and dry, only to have them sneeze again, IMMEDIATELY after I get done with that whole process. UGGGH.)

With Monkey, we decided to ax the nuk around 18 months. Partly because I knew Bean was on the way, and I really didn’t want to have two kids fighting over nuks (you can ask my cousin about that ;)), but mostly because it was becoming a huge inconvenience in my life. Even though Monkey also only had the nuk at nighttime and naptime, she was still waking up 2-3 times per night in search of the dang thing. And of course she couldn’t find it, so that was 2-3 times a night that Husband and I were in her room, feeling around in the dark, running out to the kitchen to get another one, etc. It was getting super annoying.

So because it was inconveniencing my life, we decided it had to go. Going cold turkey did not work for Monkey. But, with a lot of helpful advice from all of you, we decided to cut the tip off of her nuks, and within a week they were ALL. GONE. And it was so not a big deal. I was expecting it to be a HUGE deal. But it was the biggest non-deal ever. I couldn’t even believe it. And once she stopped counting on it to put herself back to sleep in the middle of the night, we were making far fewer 3 a.m. trips into her room.

I feel like I’m kind of in the same boat right now. In addition to seemingly wanting the nuk all the time during the day (which Monkey didn’t), Bean also is waking up 2-3 times a night in search of it, even when she’s not teething and is cold-free.

I’m really torn. If it wasn’t impacting my life, I would let her go another 5-6 months with the thing. The girls’ pediatrician (whom I adore), said the easiest time to get rid of it is now. BUT, she qualified that with, “or whenever you’re ready.” She’s not concerned about it harming the alignment of her teeth or anything like that. She just agreed that the older they get, the harder it is to get them to give it up.

But, I also feel like I’m taking away the last of her babyhood — that I’m rushing her to grow up, which isn’t really what I want at all. I just want her to stop FREAKING OUT when she doesn’t have the darn thing, and I’d rather not be woken up 2-3 times a night (when she’s healthy and not teething).

So what do you think? Has anyone else done nuk weaning fairly early like this? How did it go? Thoughts, suggestions, comments?

To ax, or not to ax.

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9 responses »

  1. Cade is just as hooked on nuks as Bean is (or is becoming), so I think I’m going to go the route that you and Laurie did and cut off the tips of the nuks. But I don’t think he’s old enough to understand the “my nuks don’t work anymore” concept nor do I think we’re ready to drop the nuk just yet. We like their “mute” button property too much. :)

    • Hahaha!

      I do have to say that I don’t think Monkey understood the concept (at least not rationally) that her nuks “didn’t work anymore.” I think for her (because she was a year younger than B), was simply that it wasn’t providing her with what she was used to it providing, and since it was no longer satisfying to suck on, she moved on. Aside from you guys not being ready, do you think that he’s ready?

  2. At two years old both of my girls “gave them to the new baby”, whoever you know with a new baby. That way they felt that they could make a sacrifice to help out and comfort a new baby. It worked very well. Just a thought you may want to consider.

    Laurie’s suggestion would help in the middle of the night if she figures out a humane way to accomplish that.

  3. My littlest one is 16 months old, and loves his paci. He doesn’t get upset if we take it away, but he likes to have it when he’s upset (like if he falls down and bumps his head or whatever), tired, not feeling well, at naps and bedtime. I forget what age our 3-year-old was when we stopped giving it to her, but it was before age 2 (when she became a big sister). We started relegating it for naps and bedtime ONLY, and when we took it away completely (because she’s a “big girl and doesn’t need it”) she was upset for a few days but soon got over it. I think it helps if your child has another lovey of some kind; for instance, both my children have blankies.

    Healthcare professionals have their opinions, just like everyone else. I would follow my instincts… but letting your baby have his paci really won’t make him stay a baby, no matter how hard you try. :) I wouldn’t feel like trying to explain to my 13-month-old why he all of the sudden can’t have his paci since he doesn’t have the capacity to understand your reasoning. This may just be one of those things where it depends on the child.

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