This blog was requested by one of our amazing customers. I thought sharing our story might help her and possibly others!
When I was pregnant with Lilly I vowed that I would never give her a soother. At some point we gave in, probably during a sleep deprived haze when I realized that my sleep was more important than trying to wean her off a soother later in life.
After her first birthday Lilly usually only had her soother for sleep times and when we were in the car. At her two-year dental check up I asked the dental hygienist about it and she told me that as long as she didn’t have it all day and she wasn’t chewing on it then there was no need to take it away. She told us to wait until she could comprehend having it removed from her life.
We switched child care when Lilly was 2 years and 4 months old. She went from home child care to centre based care. At the beginning of April (4 months into being at the centre) we noticed that her soothers were in her cubby. I asked her teachers about it and she wasn’t using the soothers during nap time anymore. What?!?! And she was still napping.
After a long conversation with Jesse and myself we realized that it was time we ditched the soother. We started to talk to Lilly about the soother fairy. I had a whole story that I made up for her.
“The soother fairy lives high in the clouds. She watches over at all the new babies being born in the hospitals and brings soothers to them when they are born. This is a special gift that the fairy gives them for entering the world. But the soothers that are given are special. They all used to belong to former babies. You see when a baby or toddler no longer needs their soother they leave it out for the soother fairy to come and pick up. All you have to do is leave the soother with a letter for the fairy and they will come and get it. The soother is sometimes replaced with a letter in return and a small gift. A token of appreciation that you are returning the soother that was given to you when you were born.”
Lilly loved this story. We talked about all the babies that were being born, we talked about how she didn’t really use the soother anymore and that it was time to give them away. She loved the idea that she was helping new babies in the hospital.
Now this was the tricky part. Lilly had soothers hidden all over her room. So we started with one soother and a letter. The next day the soother was gone and in return the fairy left a paw patrol toy that she wanted. She was excited. This piqued her interest and we knew this was the right thing. The next night she left all her soothers, there was a good handful of them. I do not remember how many there were. She left a note for the soother fairy and she went to bed. After she went to bed all those soothers went in the garbage and got taken out. So I could not access them again. Especially since we didn’t know what the night held and I knew if things got too rough I would give in.
The night was rough. She was up several times crying for her soother but overall I would say the evening was pretty successful.
The next morning when Lilly woke up she found that the soother fairy left her a paw patrol hooded towel. She was over the moon with this. We chose this as her gift as she needed a new towel as she had outgrown her other ones. It was a win-win situation.
The next few nights she was up several times again. We would go in to comfort her and by the 4th night she slept all night long. Consistency was important. We stuck to our story about the soother fairy. We stuck to the idea that the babies at the hospital had them now. And we made sure she understood what was going on.
Anytime she asked for her soother we reminded her that the soother fairy came to pick it up and that a new baby has the soother now to help them sleep.
I am not saying that this method will work with all babies or toddlers but having an open conversation and letting them know what is going to happen and why is the most important part. By the time they are 2 and a half or older they can understand. Whatever method that you choose to help guide your child off of their soother stick to it. Let them know why and don’t give in. Make sure you get rid of them! If you keep them you are more likely to give in knowing that you have it hidden.
Did you child use a soother? How did you help them get rid of it?