So I've done it. I've finally taken away my little guys soother. Why you might ask? Why not leave him have it until a later date? Why not leave it until he can understand? Why, why, why???
Where to begin.
First off, I'm not a fan of the leave it till they're older and have to try to talk around it - that has a major impact on their speech! And don't forget their teeth. Also, I think once they're over a year or so the "need" to "suck to sooth" is greatly diminished (that's just my personal opinion). So after that age it's more of a habit than anything else. And it's not a great habit to have. So why support a bad habit?
That being said, it's so hard taking away something that I know he loves and enjoys! He only gets it when he goes to bed, so I've been putting off taking it away.... I keep using excuses like, he doesn't have it all the time, he's still a baby (he's 15 months now), he won't understand, blah blah blah.... but in the end, I know that it's in his best interest to just take it away.
The straw that broke the camels back?
Over the course of a few days.... he started throwing it out of his crib - and his soothers the "soothies" and they BOUNCE.... like crazy... I don't know how many we've lost because of this! So yes, throwing it out of his crib, so that I would go back in and get it for him. Not to big of a deal at first. He did 2-3 times and then would go to sleep. Well, it got worse. The day I took it away, this had been going on for over 30 minutes! I felt like if he was throwing it away then he must not really want it that much. I had just had it with it taking him so long to go to bed.... just because he would purposely throw it out and scream until I gave it back.
That was it. I took them all away - and hid them. The first day was a nightmare. I so wanted to give in... but then where would I be? In the end I know that not having the soother will be better for him, so I can be strong, and be there for him while he's upset.
His first nap he screamed for an hour.... he was MAD!! I held him, and rocked him, and sang to him to help calm him down. I could never just leave him in his crib screaming. I think that's just mean... and honestly a little neglectful. If I'm taking away his main source of comfort, then I need to help him find another way to comfort himself. So we snuggled, and I sang to him until he fell asleep. The same for his next nap, and bedtime. The next day was a little better, it didn't take him so long to fall asleep. I changed what I did a little.... I would hold him and sing still, but just before he would fall asleep I would put him in his bed. That would start screaming all over again. LOL But I would stand there and continue to sing and rub his back until he fell asleep. About 20 mins or so.
Today.... day 3..... we are back to normal. I lay him down in his bed, he turns over and plays with his bear and blanket, and falls asleep. No soother. Just a happy boy :)
Was it worth it? YES!! A million times yes!
Oh... and in all honesty, I think it gets harder the older they are. First of all, the longer they use it the longer they have to form/ingrain the habit. Secondly, things are much harder to take away when they understand what you're doing. They ask questions that are very hard to answer, and they play the guilt card VERY well. They also have a great memory, and will keep asking you about it - long after 2 days! It's so much harder when they are older.
If anyone else out there is doing this soon... I wish you luck! And once you take it away, don't give in and give it back. It will take away from all the work you've done thus far! And then they know that you'll give in, and they will use that to their advantage.
Good Luck and Happy Parenting!