How to Induce Labor

I wanted to avoid being induced all 3 times. I read and researched and tried all of the things!

Here are things friends suggested and things I read online:

  1. Sex. You have all heard it, I know. So I thought I would just go ahead and get that one out of the way. Apparently there is something in semen that is similar to the medicine used to soften the cervix.
  2. Walking . Lots and lots of walking. The weekend before I was induced with Caleb, we walked so many miles. Sadly, it didn’t seem to help all that much.
  3. Primrose Oil. You can take this orally or vaginally. I did both with Ethan starting at 37 weeks.
  4. Pumping . To make things easier, use my favorite Hands Free Pumping Bra I got when I had to pump for Caleb beginning at 5 months. A friend that is a L&D nurse recommended this suggestion for inducing labor to me. Apparently nursing (or nipple stimulation in general) can help the body create oxytocin. I pumped each night for the week before I was set to be induced. **I will add here that the Lactation Consultant who came to see me in the hospital got so upset when I told her. She sternly asked, “who told you to do that?” And she reprimanded me for doing so because she said it can lead to contractions that can last longer than normal and possibly put the baby in distress. Needless to say, I was incredibly emotional, exhausted and hormonal after a birth that did not go as planned and I was really upset when she rudely relayed the information. She also treated me like I had no idea what I was doing, and I didn’t receive that well as I had nursed 2 other babies previously. I just mention this as a word of caution. Some may not agree with this advice.
  5. Bouncing on a labor or Exercise Ball/ Rolling on the ball to engage the baby into your pelvis. Every nap time, I would sit on the ball and bounce and drink my labor-inducing smoothie. I would roll my hips and bounce while pumping in the evening. I was so determined to do anything I could to move my baby along.
  6. Chiropractor care. I sought this out with our first and last. This last time, I went to a chiropractor twice a week for the last 4-5 weeks or so. Perhaps I should have started sooner, but I think if nothing else it helped me have a lot less back pain the 3rd time around. I was able to sleep more soundly.
  7. Acupuncture/acupressure. With Caleb, the chiropractor we saw showed Bryan some acupressure points to press. With our last, since I was attempting a VBAC and was really wanting to avoid being induced, I even looked up acupuncturists and called a few in the end but they didn’t have any openings the Saturday before we were supposed to go in to get induced.
  8. Pedicure/foot massage. Similar to the reasoning above, there are thought to be points on the sole of the foot (reflexology) that can help get things started.
  9. Spicy food. We tried Thai food, Mexican food, all sorts of spicy food.
  10. Eggplant Parmesan (from Olive Garden) I heard from a few that this was the last meal they had before going into labor. So we got some the Thursday before I was supposed to go in to the hospital. If nothing else, you get to enjoy a great meal before the baby comes!
  11. Dates. This one has medical research behind it. I began eating 6 dates a day beginning at 36 weeks.
  12. Pineapple. I love pineapple so this wasn’t hard for me to do.
  13. Pineapple Date Smoothie I read about this on another blog. It’s just a great way to combine suggestions 11 and 12.
  14. Hypnosis. Y’all. I am a skeptic of this for sure, but I figured what could it hurt? I downloaded a podcast and listened to it nightly.
  15. Membranes stripped. You can ask your doctor about this one. I asked mine at my 38 week appointment, but I wasn’t really dilated at all and my doctor didn’t feel comfortable doing what needed to be done in front of my 1 and 3 year old who I brought along to all of my appointments.
  16. Pregnancy Tea. This is supposed to help prepare your uterus for labor. I read a little bit about it possibly increasing bleeding, so I was hesitant to drink it.

Remember, I am NOT A DOCTOR. Please seek out medical advice and PLEASE do not try to induce labor before you are full term, no matter how miserable you are. These are just tips from one very pregnant mama to another.

Sadly, I didn’t get to have my dream of going into labor naturally any of the 3 times I wanted to do so. The first two times I tried most of these things and wasn’t dilated at all when I went in at 40 weeks (with C) and 39.3 weeks (with D). With E I was actually 3 cm! So who knows, maybe adding in numbers 3, 4, 6, 10 and 11-14 helped some. In the end, I really believe there is only so much you can do. It may help or it may not, but babies come when they want to come unless the doctors decide it’s best to force them out.

Although I didn’t get to achieve my “goal” of not having to be induced, in the end, God gave us 3 healthy boys, and so I cannot really complain that much. If you want to read their dramatic birth stories you can find them here (C), here (D) and here (E).

 

Disclosure:

There are some affiliate links where appropriate. That simply means if you choose to buy one of these products, a small portion goes to me to help cover costs of running the blog at no additional cost to you.

Mama Needs a Manual is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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My favorite books for new or expectant Moms

Searching for a Mother’s Day gift for your wife or just want to give something sweet to your best friend?

Here are 4 books I loved as an expectant or new mom:

  1. Waiting in Wonder : I LOVED reading this when first expecting Caleb, especially after losing Sam (read the story here if you’d like). It was so beautiful to read each week about who God was forming inside of me, the milestones being reached within the womb, and to think about truth from the Scriptures that corresponded. The devotional is rich, but short enough to do in about 10-15 minutes or so, which meant for me I could be more consistent in doing it daily. Sometimes when I have longer studies I can get overwhelmed if I fall “behind”. I even picked it back up for David and Ethan and wrote in a different colored pen. It was so sweet to see things I had prayed before going through it the second and third time. I loved this study so much I have given it as a gift to a few friends when I found out they were expecting.
  2. Mom’s One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book My best friend gave this to me when I was expecting Caleb and it has been such a fun thing! I had no idea how busy I would be (having 3 boys in 3 years) when she first gave it to me, but I love that it is actually do-able. I was afraid I wouldn’t be faithful to fill out a traditional baby book. (It took me 3 years to make Caleb’s First Year Book on Shutterfly and maybe I will make David’s before he turns 3, too. That is my goal anyway, lol). This has 5 spaces for each date. You write in the year and just jot down a memory, a funny anecdote, a milestone, something funny your kid says, birth stories, monthly weigh in stats, etc. I have loved having this so much and am always terrified I am going to lose it. It has all of our special memories for the last 4 or so years! It has also been great for when I forget as I am going through a difficult stage with one of the boys to be able to look back and see, did Caleb do this, too? It is amazing how much of the “hard things” we forget, even when are kiddos are close together, and is so helpful to have them written down.
  3. Mommy Time: 90 Devotions for New Moms This was INCREDIBLY helpful the first few months of Caleb’s life when I was struggling BIG time. I am so thankful a sweet friend gave it to me. They are short enough to actually read in the extremely limited time you have when caring for a newborn baby (even one you can never put down). When Caleb cried all of the time, it was so helpful to know that I was not alone. I related to so many of the author’s stories and found such perspective and encouragement from reading her words.
  4. Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood: An Eleven-Week Devotional Bible Study I LOVE this book so much! I cannot say enough good things about this study. It was recommended on a Moms Facebook group I am a part of, and I just was so blessed by doing it. I love how to how she speaks about the fruit of the Spirit, and gives spiritual and practical advice. I loved it so much I want to go through it again now that my kids are a little bit older.

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Disclosure:

There are some affiliate links where appropriate. That simply means if you choose to buy one of these products, a small portion goes to me to help cover costs of running the blog at no additional cost to you.

Mama Needs a Manual is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

 

Favorite Podcasts for Encouraging Mamas

Fun Friday edition number 1!

As a stay at home mom, some days can be long and lonely. Even when you carefully plan and execute outings around your baby (or toddler or multiple kiddo’s nap times) you only have a small window of time when you can get out and do anything. Add in snack times, feeding times for the baby, loading the kiddos in the car and unloading them and it makes that window even smaller.

For about 10 years I have listened to podcasts. I used to listen to them daily when I would train for marathons and triathalons back in my young single days. Some of my favorites then were the Village Church Podcast, Breakaway, Redeemer NYC (Tim Keller), and JR Vassar (who was then at a church in NYC). Fast forward a decade and my alone time running and listening to podcasts has become pretty much non-existent.

However, for the last year or so while doing other tasks around the home (washing dishes, folding laundry, feeding the baby), going on walks (I did this when I just had Caleb and he was a baby but don’t do it as much anymore since I now spend most of the walk talking to the kids) I have reintroduced my podcast time, and I have been SO encouraged. In fact, a combination of what I’ve heard on a few of these podcasts encouraged me to blog more regularly again.

During this season, here are my favorite 5, the Fab-5, if you will:

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  1. God-Centered MomI just love being encouraged. Heather is so incredibly real and she interviews all sorts of people. Listen! Don’t think about it anymore. Just listen. You will find practical tips and spiritual encouragement and hear stories that make you say, “Oh, you too?!” The episode from this week was INCREDIBLE. Courtney shares her story of being freed from fear. It’s called the day fear died. This is something I definitely am praying about and working on (read more here) so I found her interview inspiring. She shares God’s miraculous healing of her infant-son and shares some practical advice for getting rid of a spirit of fear in your home. Screen Shot 2018-04-12 at 3.19.55 PM
  2. Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. Talk about fun! I love Jamie’s real-ness, as well. She is great at asking questions, and I have learned SO much from listening to other’s stories. She interviews all sorts of people as well- everyone from Sean Lowe’s wife Catherine Lowe (for you Bachelor fans out there) to Kathy Lee Gifford and tons in between! Jamie talks about serious things and funny things, big things and small things. I love that she ends every show by asking her guests what they are loving and what they are reading. Shout out to my sweet friend Bridget for recommending this one- you can find her here.IMG_5936
  3. Risen Motherhood. This one is great because it’s only 18-20 minutes long. I often listen to it on the way to tutoring and on the way back home. I love the practical and gospel-centered advice Emily and Laura give. They have young kids (all 5 and under) so they are still very much in the trenches of motherhood, and I so can relate to them. I have learned so much and been so encouraged from listening to their show weekly. It is definitely a high light of my week!
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  4. Glorious in the Mundane. I just started listening to this one. I heard about Christy Nockels, over a decade ago. One of my best college friends LOVES her (and can sing like her as well!) She has the sweetest voice and I could listen to her all day. Love the truth she shares.IMG_5937-2
  5. Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss WolgemuthI first heard of Nancy 14 years ago when I read her book Lies women believe and the truth that sets them free. That book was life changing to me as a college freshmen serving as a youth-intern. I loved her application of replacing lies with truth. I have listened to this podcast on and off for several years. Nancy has been faithful to serve for decades!

So friends, start listening! What we take in, we think about and what we think about we become.

Gallery Wall for Our Stairway

When we moved into our home a few months ago, initially I was sad because we do not have much wall space (hello open floor plan!) to hang pictures. As I began to decorate, I realized we had a new space for me to hang things- our stairway!

I had a vision of hanging family pictures from different seasons. I had all of these frames hanging in our home before the move, so thankfully this wasn’t a very expensive project. I did buy the 1 Thess. scripture  and Love Lives Here sign from Hobby Lobby (half off of course). The frames were bought from a variety of places (Hobby Lobby, Home Goods, Michaels).

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I was so excited to hang the scrabble letters my sweet husband bought me for my birthday. You can fine the letters, here. I really want to add a wooden Family Name, established 2013 sign. Maybe I will get around to painting one, one day.

 

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Rustic Farmhouse Dining Room on a Budget

IMG_4762About 4 years ago when we were moving into and decorating our first home, I really had  my heart set on a certain dining room table, but it was way out of our budget (Restoration Hardware Trestle Table). After months of saving my tutoring money and researching online for cheaper options, my sweet husband found a couple in Alabama who would build me my dream table (and it was affordable!). Fast forward 4 years, and the market is now saturated with these types of tables and people all over building them, so I am sure it would be easier to find one today. It is the center of our dining room.

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We purchased our table from Simply Southern Home Decor. I do wish that it was wider (so we can fit our plates and serving trays), and longer (but our original dining room was shorter and we did not have room). And now that I have kiddos, I wish I would have gotten one that didn’t have grooves, or that I had the grooves filled in with clear caulk (I may still do this) so food will not get stuck. I do love how it is stained and finished, so it is super easy to clean, and I am not afraid it is going to get messed up. The sweet couple actually made the table twice because the first time the stain wasn’t exactly what I had communicated (it was more gray). They have since updated their website, and their prices and they have more options available, if you want to purchase a table similar from them. The chairs were a great deal from Ashley furniture for $100 a piece. I wanted tufted chairs and I may change them out one day, but had trouble finding some that were in our budget and had a similar color wood legs.

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you can find the rug at Target, here. One day we would love to replace the floors with wood-look tile. The white curtains pictured are my favorite. They are from IKEA and I love them for multiple reasons: price, length, versatility. They are literally having in 5 rooms in our house. 
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You can see the beautiful table legs here. I was so excited the Ashley chairs matched perfectly!

For months I kept scouring Craigslist and garage sales looking for a dresser I could convert into a buffet. We found this beautiful Broyhill dresser (and night stand) for $150 dollars at a garage sale a couple years ago. I used Lowe’s brand chalk paint and bought some new knobs from Target to dress it up. The lamps are from Marshall’s. Funny story, when I was looking at the lamps I was a week away from giving birth to our second and our first was 17 months old. I was trying to keep him happy (with snacks of course) while shopping and went to pick up a lamp to see how much it costs and ended up breaking one. I felt horrible, and asked to pay for it. Somehow, by God’s grace I ended up walking out there paying less than the ticket price for two lamps.

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Dresser turned buffet, DIY with chalk paint from Lowe’s and knobs from Target

The beautiful arch mirror is from Kirklands (one of my favorite places to buy decor, and I love that they often email coupons or you can download the spin to win app for deals). The shutters on either side are also a Kirklands purchase.

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Pictures take by Kate Miller, Madeline Trent, and Micaela Dougan. The color of the wall is Sherwin Williams Repose Gray.

I love collage walls (maybe too much). My sweet Mama bought me all of these frames at Kohl’s for my birthday about 3 years ago. The lovely pictures are taken by Kate Miller and Madeline Trent.

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I’ve had a dream of framing generations of wedding pictures. I need to get a hold of our grandparents’ wedding pictures so I can frame them, too. But for now, we have our parents and ours as well as our vows hanging in our dining room. The vows, a present to my husband on our first wedding anniversary, are a wonderful reminder for both of us of the promises we made to each other {almost} 5 years ago.

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My generous parents bought this light fixture for us for Christmas! I was so excited to replace the ceiling fan that was there before

Use Your Words

With toddlers in the house, Daniel Tiger is a favorite around here. I often find myself singing the jingles. Lately the one that has been playing on repeat in my mind is, “Use your words, use your words…to say how you feel”.

I have attended two funerals in the last few months where the person giving the eulogy did an absolutely incredible job. My uncle at my Maw Maw’s funeral and one of my best friends, Chrissy at her Dad’s funeral could not have chosen better words to honor their parents’ life stories. I was seriously blown away each time by the way a son honored his Mother and a daughter honored her Father.

And the last couple of days I’ve been thinking, in the end, once this life on earth is through, is not that all that remains: your life reduced to an obituary, other’s words about you? Through their words your memory and legacy live on, through the words of those who knew you, your life can still impact others. For authors, their words live on to impact others even when they have long left this world. And for beloved family members, they can continue to impact generations after them by words spoken, stories told about them, character attributes praised and emulated, passed down from generation to generation.

For the Christ- follower, His words are life. And we know that though we are absent from this world, we will be present with Christ. God created this world by His word. He SPOKE it into existence and He is still speaking, if we choose to listen. The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword (Hebrews 4). Words can build up or tear down (Ephesians 4). When we refresh others with our words, we ourselves are refreshed (Proverbs 11:25).

“Words kill, words give life. They are either poison or fruit- you choose.”

Proverbs 18:21, The Message

Even if you do not know much about the Scriptures, I am sure you can attest words are powerful. Can you remember a time when someone’s words crushed you? I know I can remember several. On the flip side, can you remember a time when someone’s words about you breathed life into you? Gave you courage? Inspired you to conquer a fear or try something new or truly believe good and true something about yourself?

I love the book (and movie), The Help. I read it several years ago, but one of the lines that has stayed with me is what the caretaker speaks over the little girl she cares for every single day: “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” Oh, how our words truly give life! They can shape a life, can shape a family, can shape a generation, can shape a world. What we say to others (and to ourselves) affect how they see themselves (and how we see ourselves). Are you kind to yourself in the way that you “speak” to yourself all day? What is your thought like life? For, as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7)

As parents, we are the first teachers of our children. And as teachers, we have the opportunity to make a profound impact. Just last week when I went to pick my middle son up from the childcare at Bible study, his teacher spoke words of praise to me about how attentive he was at his age (newly 2), and how he truly listened and understood. She encouraged me to keep my hand on him because he may be the next Billy Graham (lol!). What mother doesn’t love to hear words of praise about her child? And what child doesn’t feed off praise as well?! If people continue to speak things like this over David, I have no doubt those words will impact what David thinks of himself.

I watched a movie in an education class at A&M that featured the famous Brown Eyes experiment. Wow. If you have not seen it, you should click the link above (sorry some of the language is rough; it is from decades ago). In essence, a 3rd grade teacher creates and experiment in her classroom, one day saying “blue eyed people are better” and “brown eyed people are not”. She gives the blue eyed people more recess, special privileges. She tells them they cannot play with the brown-eyed people. She speaks words of life into the blue-eyed children and words of discouragement into the brown-eyed people. The next day, she reverses the roles. The kids come to their own conclusions about who is smart and who is not, who is able who is not, saying things like, “The way they treated you, it seemed like you didn’t even want to do anything.” The students even perform more quickly on their word work the day they are praised and told they are better! When there teacher tells them they are smart, they perform better!

Mama, how are you speaking to your kiddos today? Are you speaking words of encouragement and praise? Or, are you constantly correcting, saying, “No!”, “Stop fighting!”, “Come here!”, “Share please!”, “Don’t hit your brother!”, “Stop acting crazy”. (I am by no means saying we do not need to correct or say No to our children. Of course we do!) But I’ve heard it said for every one negative interaction, there needs to be 5 positive ones. When I remember to intentionally look for ways to praise my 2 and 3 year old I can see it transform them into more cooperative and willing children. If only I could stamp a tattoo on their foreheads that says, “Encourage me” because indeed, that is what all children are craving.

As a recovering perfectionist, one who tends to be detail-oriented and often focuses on the negative, it can be more natural for me to be critical than to be encouraging. To be honest, when thinking of how to praise specifically, it’s hard for me to know what to say, more than just “Great Job!” or, “You are so smart!” I also struggle with false praise. I don’t want to tell my child, “Great hit” when he didn’t even hit the ball. He will learn over time my words don’t carry weight. So where is the line then? How do we praise effectively? I do not want to say things that are not true, or build kids up so much that they are “snowflakes” and cannot take any criticism, so there is definitely a balance.

I plan on writing a post for some tips on taming toddler tantrums and speaking to toddlers soon, but for now, I want to include some ideas for how to offer specific praise:

  • Instead of offering an evaluation, simply describe what you see or ask your child to tell you about what they have done. Example: “Caleb, I see you have used so many colors on your picture. I see you stayed in the lines here! There is red and blue and purple.” or, “Tell me about your picture.”
  • Describe their effects on others. Example: “Wow, look, Baby Ethan is smiling at you when you talk to him. You are a good big brother.” Or, “Look at David’s face when you shared your cars. How do you think that made him feel?”
  • Praise their effort over the the job done. Example: I can see you tried your best picking up your toys.
  • Praise the behavior you want reinforced. Example: For several months I had tried to teach our oldest how to hold a crayon correctly and he would get so angry when I would correct him. He would just scream, “No!” and refuse to change his behavior or stop coloring all together. I know this is not a huge deal at his age, so I just let it be. But, one day I noticed his younger brother holding his crayon the right way and I said, “David! Look how you are holding your crayon!” and guess who automatically changed his grip on his? Caleb, looking up at me said, “Look, Mommy! Look how I am holding my crayon.” I often do this when one of them obeys when I call them the first time, “Oh, David! Thank you so much for obeying Mommy and coming the first time.” It almost always makes the other one want to obey as well.
  • Tell them what they can do. So often I spend the day telling the boys what they are not allowed to do. I know I would not like being told no all day long every day, so I try to remember to tell them what they CAN do. Example: You cannot throw your cars, but you can throw balls. or After one of them is yelling, I simply say, “if you want to yell, you can yell outside. We don’t yell inside.” Along with this tip, I’ve heard it said that whenever possible it is a good idea to dialogue with your child rather than monologue. So for example, instead of saying, “Don’t throw cars!” You can ask, “What did you just throw?” (wait for answer) and say, “Are we supposed to throw cars?”. (wait for answer) “What can we throw?” (wait for answer). In this way we are teaching our kids to think themselves, and to reach their own conclusions instead of simply dictating to them the rules. We can also praise them by simply noticing what they are able to do on their own and stating it out loud.
  • Brag about them to others (like their Dad, their grandparents, etc) when they can hear. I try to tell Bryan something positive that the kids did that day at dinner so they can hear me praise them. Example: Caleb remembered something he hadn’t seen in over a year and I told Bryan, “Did you know Caleb remembered that from a year ago! What a great memory he has.”
  • Tell them they can do hard things and that you believe they can do it. And resist the urge to rescue them right away when they struggle (This is so hard for me!). But if a child is able to do something herself, let her. It will build such confidence and she will think she can do things. She is able and you want her to get that message her whole life.
  • Describe progress. Example: “I see that you have picked up 3 cars.” Often times if we praise the progress, our kids will think they can finish the task.

Some of the above tips are modified from the book How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listenby Joanna Faber and Julie King. If you have any other ideas for how you praise your kiddos, please feel free to comment below! I would love to hear them.

Don’t rob others of joy to be had. Encourage someone today with specific praise! Speech is a free gift we can give. Remember, Mama, what you say to your kids day in and day out will GREATLY shape how they think about themselves. Empower your children today. Let’s be Mamas who strive to create fruit in their lives.

I am not writing this post out of a place of mastery, but rather, as a reminder to myself and out of conviction to change. I have a lot of work to do in this area. Some days with 3, 3 and under, it is so much easier to just turn on the tv (so it keeps fighting to a minimum). Some days I feel like I am barely hanging on to my patience. Some times I lose my cool and have to apologize. Some days, getting everyone dressed is a win and when we try to do something “fun” I question if it is worth it. Most days, I feel like I am just trying to survive and fight that heaping Mom guilt of needing to do all the things. But, I want to be better. I want to remember the impact of my words and think before I talk. I want to be one who looks for opportunities to praise, not only my children, but my husband, my friends, and other Moms as well. Mamas we are not in competition.

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Let’s be each others cheerleaders! There is so much joy to be had in encouraging one another to become all who God has created us to be and to use our talents for the glory of God and the good of others. Mama, thank you for reading this today. I have no doubt you are striving to be the best mother you can be, and your children will be so thankful.

So, as they say on Daniel Tiger, “Use your words, use your words to say how you feel” to your loved ones now, while you can. As long as you have breath, use it wisely. We truly never know how many days we have left. What words will others say about you? What legacy do you want to leave? I can only pray that one day my kids will stand and say words of me like those I have heard recently said about my Maw Maw and my friend’s Dad. May I be found faithful and may they see Jesus in me.

Buy this book! You will not regret it.

 

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Disclosure:

There are some affiliate links where appropriate. That simply means if you choose to buy one of these products, a small portion goes to me to help cover costs of running the blog at no additional cost to you.

Mama Needs a Manual is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

How to Break Your 2 year old’s Pacifier Habit Without Tears

This formula for getting rid of our 2 year old’s pacifier was magic!  (scroll to the bottom for a quick summary of how to kick the habit quickly)

Caleb’s 2 year old birthday came and went, and his pacifier was still a much loved companion. The pediatrician and the dentist both had encouraged us to drop the habit by 2 years of age due to potential dental issues, but we had David when Caleb was 17 months old, and David never slept more than 30 minutes for the first few months of his life. I was too fearful of having two children not sleeping so, I just let Caleb keep his pacifier. I did try to limit the use to bed time and nap time. I was so afraid of taking his paci away because he was incredibly attached to it, and I feel like when you have a “hard” baby (see this post, this post or this post, 12 Tried and True Tips for Coping with and Finding the Cause of your Baby’s Colic (from a Mom who’s been there 3 times)for more details) it’s almost like you have post traumatic stress disorder when it comes to sleep and transitions. In fact, he never missed a nap until he was 3 because once he was finally on a schedule, I was too afraid to mess it up, that no matter what, every single day we were home for nap time (and we still are 99% of the time).

His 2.5 year well check rolled around and our sweet pediatrician asked me the dreaded question, “Is there still the pacifier habit?” I was ashamed to say yes. Thankfully, she’s incredibly understanding, and she told us what she did with her son. When she told me, I thought, “Well that’s great that it worked for you, but you do not know how hard my son is and how attached he is to his pacifier, and how emotional he is and how many tantrums he throws daily and how often he asks for his paci. There is no way that will work for him.”

And y’all, it was a miracle! What she told me worked like a charm!

So here is what we did:

For a few nights I asked Caleb when putting him to bed, “Do you want to give all your pacifiers away to baby ______ (our friend’s baby’s name) and get a present or keep your paci?” And he said, “My paci” the first couple nights. Then, the third night, to our astonishment, he said “Present!” I asked him if he was sure (I almost tried to talk him out of it and my husband was like this is going to be horrible!) Y’all, he went to sleep! No problem. So the next morning, when he woke up, we praised him and praised him. As soon as church was over, we stopped at Target and he and I went in and walked down the toy aisle, and I asked him what he wanted. He chose a set of his favorite Cars (Disney) characters.

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Caleb and his Cars!

 

He was so proud! We went to visit our friend’s baby soon after and brought a gift bag full of his pacifiers to her. This way he knew all of his pacifiers were out of the house and that he got to keep his very special present in exchange. The real test came at nap time that afternoon. He cried for just a little bit and asked for his paci once, but I reminded him he got the present instead, and he just went to sleep and slept his normal 2.5-3 hours! He surprised us all! So if you are dreading the paci transition, maybe your fears are misguided. You never know how your kiddo may respond. He or she may surprise you! I would have bet a lot of money that Caleb would not have handled this transition as well as he did. Potty training however, now that’s a whole other story! He still isn’t trained at 3.5 years old, but one day he will be, and I will share how the 3 day potty training method everyone swears by was a major fail for us.

So I guess one of the advantages of waiting to take away your child’s pacifier or soother, you can reason with them. They understand more the idea of bribery.

Some other ideas I’ve heard:

  • Cut the tips off your child’s pacifier. This wouldn’t have worked for us, as sometimes caleb’s pacifiers would break on the tip and he would cry and thinking they were dirty would say, “Wash it, Mama! Wash it!” The idea is that your kiddo would slowly not want their paci if it didn’t work how they were used to it working.
  • Take your child to Build a Bear and have them put their pacfiiers inside. Now they can sleep with their bear instead of their pacis.
  • Throw a big paci party to celebrate that he or she is a “big boy” or “big girl” and no longer need their pacifiers.
  • Have the “paci-fairy” come take the paci and leave a gift in return

Quick Summary of how to kick the pacifier habit quickly:

Praise the child for giving his or her pacifiers away to a new baby. Then, actually bring the pacifiers to the new baby so that your child knows they are gone and out of the house. Reward their choice with something they really want.

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