Comforter/Pacifier Transition

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    • #9181

      Hi all
      My oldest daughter opted to give up her pacifier and comforter herself before the age of 3 but my younger daughter (3) isn’t looking like tracking the same way!
      She seems to be getting less dependent on these but definitely still doesn’t like the idea of giving them up.
      I am reticent to force the issue but not sure how long to let it go!
      Also, she’s very aware of when she needs to go to the toilet but would prefer to go in her nappy/diaper so asks for one in order to go to the toilet if she has her underwear on.
      We’re also trying to play down the stress on this issue but just wondering if there are any magic tricks I am missing to help these transitions! πŸ™‚

    • #9182
      Meg Rodney

      Hi Natalie. It sounds like your little one is meeting these milestones but maybe at a pace that is a little bit slower than you’d prefer. Being conscious of keeping things stress free is great, though I know it can be hard. I know I felt pressure from well meaning friends and family when it came to toilet training. It sounds like your little one is very close – she is aware of when she needs to go and has the physiological control part down. It sounds like she has some apprehension about going in the toilet – is that for pee and poo, or just for poo? Do you think there is fear about falling in or where things go? Could it be a position thing whereby she is more comfortable squatting than feet dangling? Investigating the why behind the apprehension to use the toilet can help in discovering solutions that will help her feel more comfortable.

      As for the pacifier and comforter, again investigating the why behind their use can help. For example, when does she turn to these things? Is it when she is upset? If so, she could be using these things to cut off the big feelings that come up. If you can help her allow herself to feel those big feelings by staying lovingly present with her when they come up, she may offload fully and then not seek the pacifier and/or comforter. Or if she uses them only when tired, you could come up with a new bed time routine together.

      Best wishes as you navigate this!

    • #9183

      Thanks, Meg. I’ll consider all of this!
      She’s primarily telling me she doesn’t want to do these things because she doesn’t want to grow up / get bigger / she’s only little πŸ™‚

    • #9188

      Hi Natalie,

      I’ve just read through my response to another member Bronwyn relating to her 3.5 year old being very resistant to going to the toilet and wetting her pants quite often. The question is different but scanning through with your questions in mind, I think you’ll still find it relevant and give you more food for thought.

      I love Meg’s questions about exploring what she likes and doesn’t like about using the toilet and if you can help her express her apprehensions. Sounds like she needs lots of reassurance that you’ll always look after her and care about her. And I wonder if she would benefit from playing out Mum and Baby, whether she wants to be the baby or be the mother and you be the baby.

    • #9191

      Thanks, Genevieve! I saw that one before I posted this. We have been asking her to choose nappie or knickers since and that’s going well.

      She has done a few wees in her knickers since (by choice) but I am taking it as progress!

      I have started talking to her about how I’ll always care for her even when she’s big etc and will see where it takes us.

      Thank you

    • #9197

      All steps in the right direction Natalie! πŸ™‚ It’s oh so hard to maintain that positive light and breezy approach but avoiding the associations of stress and pressure and avoiding creating a power struggle are key to this stage of development. And lovely to be giving her those warm reassurances, I’ll bet she’s soaking all that up <3

      On the topic of the pacifier, what Meg @meg2 has said above really is great advice. Observing closely to notice when she wants to use it and tuning in to what she might be feeling and needing at those times. The pacifier will be that which she has come to associate as helping her feel better, but if you can really connect with her at those times, give her love, empathy, cuddles and encourage her to cry as she needs to while encouraging her to delay using the pacifier, this might be a nice gentle way of helping her start to identify that she can feel better by accessing the affection and through the emotional release of the cry or a big loud venting complain. I'm going to copy in something I previous saved by a mother who I helped with the pacifier dependence and what she personally learned through the process and how it then helped her in supporting her younger child's emotional development as well.

      Have you read my article "children and babies can heal through their cries"? Read it with the pacifier in mind and have a think about the habits around using the pacifier and if at times you've given it to her hoping it'll soothe her when she's upset. There's a process a child (or people in general) goes through when upset feelings build up, be they frustrations, irritation, sadness, anger, disappointment, whatever the emotion is it needs motion (e emotion = energy in motion) to move through and out of the system. Crying and venting help children practice processing their emotions in a similar way that they're building muscles and coordination through their physical play and the whole range of trying, succeeding or failing, feeling frustrated, pushing through, trying again, intensifying focus and generally improving through practice and engagement is the same way that the emotional development happens. This is why it's important to avoid (as much as possible) distracting children from their feelings with that which shifts their awareness away from feeling and expressing their emotions. Better understanding all this can really help with the process of slowly gently and lovingly helping a child make the transition away from being reliant on a pacifier. Understanding these concepts will give you confidence that you're supporting her emotional development by helping her transition away from the reliance. Once you read the article, let me know what you think.

    • #9198

      After supporting Vanessa through the process of weaning her 4y.o. daughter off the pacifier, this was something she shared:

      “my girl was 4 when she gave up the dummy entirely of her own accord… we did lots of work with Genevieve on getting her to express her feelings fully and yes that means being totally comfortable with the crying etc. I know how hard it is to be ok with it sometimes particularly as they get older. In the end I realised that it was my inability to be ok with her crying that lead to her dependance on the pacifier… it pacified me (and I know she picked up on how much it calmed me when she stopped crying – she sensed that crying meant that the person she was totally dependant on started becoming distressed). In the end it was only when I weaned myself of the dummy that she was free to wean herself πŸ™‚ Much love xx”

      β€œHey Genevieve… Z has also become very tuned in to her own emotions now and will say “I just need to have a cry because I’m sad about that” and let me know that she needs that time…. we haven’t looked back! Its been a huge learning experience for us all πŸ™‚ xx We have recently gone through weaning my boy (2.5 years) and having the understanding I gained through the experience with Z made the process so much gentler and compassionate.”

    • #9199

      yes, thank you.
      i’ve also started letting her know we can get through upsets without her comforter/pacifier and we did so on the weekend a couple of times.
      you’re right – the caregiver has to be ready to cope with it!
      my husband does a lot of the caring on week days so need to get him on board with reducing dependence on the comforter/pacifier too.

    • #9201

      it was a nice release at bed time tonight to cuddle and talk to my daughter and let her know that we love her when she’s tired, mad, sad, crying etc. it felt like she had a nice releasing cry and whilst she still used her comforter and pacifier I saw how much she used the comforter to calm her breathing so we’ll focus some more on doing that with her on her own to breathe through her feelings.

      I also remembered that for as long as can remember she has said ‘don’t cry’ when she sees others cry. I don’t know where it comes from as we don’t say that in our home, although she may have picked it up from other family members. So it kind of makes sense that she may suppress crying with her comforter / pacifier.

      thanks for the support and insight!

    • #9299

      Natalie, I only just now spotted that you had asked me a question underneath that post that I recommended above re 3.5 year old toilet training. I’ve just copied your question into a new post in the village and responded to it and only after doing that did I click that I should have brought it in here to keep the thread all together. I’m also being refreshed reading back through this thread and it looks like you did read through that article children heal through in arms crying (which I had just recommended in the other thread). Lovely to come back to this post and to read the progress happening with her having releasing cries and you being so in touch with what’s happening with her breathing and working with her on that.

      It would be great to read an update about how it’s going now, is she using the pacifier any less or do you see a change in patterns around it, or a lessening of her reliance, and have you noticed changes in how you’re coping with it. It’s so so important to work on coming to peace with yourself. You will continue to work on the project but in the meantime, the less stressed you are about it the better it is for you both.

    • #9300

      Oh and just to say to you Natalie or anyone else who reads this that if you comment or ask a question under a post it’s worth flicking me a quick email or a comment in one of the threads here in the village. I often forget to check those comments because sadly it’s 99% spam so I don’t tend to think of it as one of the places to scan for messages from members. Please feel free to then just flick me a message through here, facebook or email and I’ll track it down and respond <3 Hate to miss an important question πŸ™‚

    • #9407

      Hi Genieve

      She has been using it a bit less and joining with me in doing the breathing etc first.

      I had a good chat with her yesterday and she tells me she doesn’t like feeling sad so she uses the pacifier/comforter to stop that feeling. We chatted about some things that make her feel sad and about how it’s Ok to feel sad, angry etc! It’s funny because even though we let emotions be in our house she seemed to come out of the womb telling us not to be sad when she sees us sad .. so definitely a big topic for her.

      After this chat, she sat on the potty twice next to me with no prompting and whilst she didn’t wee it seems linked that talking about her feelings gave her the freedom to do this!

      So, now, today she’s been on the toilet 3 times in a row and been on the toilet for pooh and wee 5 days in a row! So both the toilet training and pacifier /comforter seem linked for her I think. Both seem to involve her ‘growing up’ but she’s lessening her need to not grow up I think as we listen to her and help her feel her feelings.

      Thanks Genevieve

    • #9420

      Natalie this is all such great progress. What a healthy process it is when we can really slow down and tune in and help our kids with their feelings related to these big stages of development. And yes I agree inevitably resistance in one area is linked with other areas. When a child isn’t gaining enough release and hence relief through that healthy release of crying it tends to impact many areas. And conversely when they’re helped and encouraged to get those feelings out, it tends to free them up to move forward.

      Reading what you wrote here reminded me of when my daughter was around the same age and she started talking with a baby voice and wanting to play being a baby. At first it was irritating me and I was encouraging her to speak with her normal voice so I could better understand her. Then I slowed down and wondered what was going on so one day I sat her on my knee and asked her if she liked “being a baby” and she said yes she wants to be a baby again. I asked her what’s good about being a baby and she shared some very interesting insights. We had recently moved house and I kind of put together that she was generally feeling that there was a lot of change and not enough space for her vulnerable feelings. So we started playing “being mum and baby” and she would sometimes be mum and sometimes be baby and loved it! I wonder if this would be helpful with your little girl.

    • #9421

      Thanks, Genevieve. Funnily enough while I was sitting on her potty (!!) and she was on the regular toilet yesterday she said ‘I’m the mummy and you’re the baby!’ πŸ™‚

      So, yes, we’ll do more of that. We were also doing some of those fun pushing games on the weekend where I let her push me over and she loved that!

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