Out with the old, in with the new!

It all started when Wes came home with pacifiers for Maya. Normally that wouldn't seem odd. But Maya has NEVER taken a pacifier. Ever. Today Wes went to Walgreens. And while he was gone, I had the sudden and fleeting thought that I needed a pacifier for Maya. And he came home with 2. It seems that fleeting thought flitted right on over to Alameda and Glenoaks, through the sliding glass doors, and down aisle 6—where Wes proceeded to read my mind.

I should probably back up a bit. This summer my brother is getting married in Greece. And I am going alone. (Wes has summer session, I would have to travel for over 24 hours with multiple flight changes with 2 small kids, it's too expensive for our current situation, you get the idea). And while I know it will be a beautiful and exciting trip and celebration, it will also be difficult to be gone for 8 days from my family. Wes and I were talking about it. He said something to the effect of, "It's going to be a really hard week for you as a mother." What he also means is, "It's going to be a really REALLY hard week for me as a father, and for our kids who are totally dependent on you, and not so keen on me at nap and bedtime."

This is further heightened by the fact that Maya is not yet weaned. And while I am fully confident that she will be by summer, I am still troubled by few details. Maya has one really bad habit (OK, it's MY bad habit). Maya nurses to fall asleep. Groan. Yep, that means that my baby (who also won't take a bottle of milk, might I add) will scream and cry endlessly if she can't nurse before a nap and bedtime. Crying it out doesn't work. If I nurse and put her to bed awake, she cries a bit and then goes straight to sleep. But if I put her down without nursing at all, you would think her crib was a torture chamber. She will cry. And NOT STOP. I'm talking hours of crying if I let her. (My mom said I was the same way.) One especially difficult night Wes said that he could forsee her crying the entire time I am in Greece, collapsing out of exhaustion, only to wake up and cry some more. What can I say. That girl loves me.

So those 2 things combined are a deadly formula for disaster. And in order to thwart impending doom, I've decided to do the only thing I know to do. Replace bad habits with...well, other bad habits. Out with the old, in with the new! Finn had a pacifier (his "uh oh") until he was 2 and a half. Shortly after moving here, he lost his last one and had to go cold turkey one day at nap time. It was a rough week, but worth it. So I've been totally happy about Maya's lack of pacifier dependence (only really it's turned into a dependence on me, do you see?). And Maya's first birthday is fast approaching. I plan to start weaning her at 12 months. So in order to help her with that transition and get comfortable with going to sleep on her own, I thought a pacifier might help. ONLY at nap and bed time. ONLY in the crib (and at church and in the car when she's crying...). JUST KIDDING! Only for sleep. Counter intuitive, right? My last pediatrician said to be done with the pacifier by age 1, not introduce one. (But he misdiagnosed Finn's pneumonia, resulting in a 3 week hospital stay. So what does he know?!)

Maya's been waking up 3-4 times a night lately wanting to nurse. I don't have the supply to meet her demand! She just wants to suck her way into slumber. I've been sort of a zombie for a couple of weeks now. Something had to be done. So I tried the pacifier today. I fed Maya a snack, gave her some sippy cup water, snuggled up with her in her rocking chair, and popped one in. Her eyes got all droopy. She started cooing and smiling. She sucked on that thing like it was candy laced with sugar gum drops. She lovingly caressed the second pacifier in her other had, protecting it like it was a coveted treasure. Sakes alive! These things are like a drug! She looked at me through her pacifier-induced haze as if to say, "Why didn't I give these things a second chance sooner, Mom?!" If this means that I won't be waking up 3-4 times a night anymore, I am willing to deal with the consequences. If this means weaning Maya will result in a happier mom and baby, then I am all for it.

Judge me if you will. But we'll be soundly sleeping while you do. :)

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Crystal Farish said...

Do what you have to do girl!!

Here's another suggestion -- give her the pacifier and sing to her until she gets drowsy, then put her in her crib with some music. Have Wes do it too so she gets used to him singing. I did that with both my kids and it worked like a charm. As they got older (Finn's age), they sang with me.

Good luck.... get to Greece!!!

mammakasparian said...

Amen Sister! Christopher has now been waking up several times in the night since he started teething...I pray daily that he will learn to love the paci!

Anonymous said...

L, You've got one thing on your side that the MALE pediatrician doesn't - Mother's intuition! (Don't even get me started on those "children doctors"!)

Our Little Finch Flock said...

You Sound like such a great mom! I know you get lots of advice but I wanted to share with you the best advice I have had. The book The Baby Whisperer by Trach Hogg is amazing; she also has on for the Toddler. When Ever I have had a problem I refer to her book and follow her advice I get almost instant and positive results. Thanks for sharing all of your thoughts and tools on such a nice blog, I really enjoy it!

Ali said...

I think binkie's are great and all that crap about making babies give them up before they are ready is for the birds. Luke still uses his at nap and bedtime and Gavin uses his as well for sleep. It is soothing for them to suck, so let them I say. and better on something other than mom all the time. Luke and Gavin were terrible sleepers, so those who cast judgment never had 2 poor sleepers back to back, and under the age of 2 for 7 months. Luke is ready to give his up, so we will be getting to that shortly. I'm glad you had success and will be getting some sleep.

Tiffany M. said...

As you pointed out, some doctors are not quite capable of giving reliable advice.

I would happily journey with you to Greece.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lyndsay!
I found your cute blog through Nie, and I live reading about your darling family.
I just wanted to say that I think you are an amazing mom for meeting Maya's needs for nighttime feeding/ comforting. It can be so challenging to feel that severe sleep deprivation :). And I hope no one would judge you for following your mama instinct and nursing your baby to sleep! It is the most natural thing in the world - there's a reason it works so well. I think it's a bunch of nonsense to talk about babies having "bad habits". They had a need for nighttime parenting that they will outgrow when they are developmentally ready.
Your trip to Greece sounds fantastic! What if you took just Maya with you to ease some of your fears about her weathering an 8 day separation. 8 days is a long time for a 1 year old to be away from mama!
And don't feel like you need to wean her on anyone else's timetable - just follow your heart and your baby's cues. Most of the world seems to be in such a hurry to make babies independent. Independence can't be forced; once baby needs are met, children achieve independence when they're ready.
Just my 2 cents. Do what is right for your family and don't worry what books, pediatricians, or experts have to say about these types of parenting choices.

KatieJ said...

haha! That is great- I hope it lasts and you can start sleeping! And 8 days (childless!!) in Greece- how fun!

Beth said...

Even though it can be hard to leave the family, I hope you really ENJOY Greece!!! What an amazing adventure.

Christy said...

Hi Lyndsay! I think you're an awesome mom and should totally include yourself in the super mom series! If she needs her binky for a while longer, so be it! I'm sure it'll be hard for you while you're in Greece, but I'm sure your family will survive, and thrive even, while you're gone. One book that helped me with getting Fiona to sleep through the night was "12 hours sleep by 12 weeks old". Don't let the title scare you - check it out of your library and read it -- it's a quick read written by a woman who is a sleep expert in the DC area. I didn't read it until Fiona was 4 months old, but by following her prescribed daytime routine (sort of her - we did 5 feedings a day, most days) and night time routine, we really were able to get Fiona to sleep through the night without needing us. Check out the reviews on Amazon - that's what sold me on the techniques used in the book. It's worked for several of my family members and their kiddos too - it could help you! Regardless, you're doing a fantastic job raising two adorable kids!!!

Jessica said...

Whoa! I can't believe that worked! Luthien has always had so much difficulty with sleeping so of course we tried everything and pacifiers rarely worked. We tried later (when I got to the sleep deprived point you were at) and she had no clue what that thing was for...glad it worked for you though! Maya is a DOLL btw- I had to get that out since I haven't commented in awhile.

One more funny thing- we just took out Luthien's pacifiers when we were cleaning things out and thought it would be funny to give them to her (at 19 months). She still has no clue- just kind of bites on them, but we CRACK UP watching her play with them!