Binky, pacifier, soother, Nuk-Nuk, mute button, and my grandma’s choice nickname, pipe. These items were a lifesaver and a nightmare for me. During a routine daily check by our pediatrician we had noticed a bump on my daughters stomach. She was taken to have an ultra sound and came back with a Soothie in her mouth. I was at a loss for words. I was still on the fence with using binkies as I heard nightmare stories of not being able to break the habit. As I quickly learned, binkies were amazing. While I was changing one baby I popped a binky in the other's mouth and instant silence. Getting my daughters to sleep without a bottle in their mouth; pop a binky in it was my solution. I became addicted to them just as much as my daughters were. As my daughters, Kayden and Kaylee, got older, the questions of when I was going to take them away kept coming up in conversations. I was then hit with the reality that they needed to go and I had no idea how or really when I should forever rid my babies of their binkies.
Breaking the Binky Habit: Weaning Twins Off Pacifiers
Any parent of multiples that has both babies using binkies knows that you need an overabundance of them. Binkies go to Narnia. Voldemort steals them. They time travel. The crib eats more binkies than the dryer eats socks. It’s a proven science if you ask me. No matter how well you keep track of them, they disappear. We had used one brand and it was the only one that would work. Kayden was obsessed; she needed her binky and we let her have it. Kaylee slowly weaned herself off her binky except at bedtime and I was thrilled; until we were out shopping and had managed to lose both binkies.
A quick run into Target and my heart sank, the brand we used was sold out. Out of desperation we grabbed a different brand and gave it to them to finish our day of errands. Kayden HATED that brand, while my semi-weaned Kaylee became addicted. She wouldn’t give it up, hiding it in her shirt and putting it under the blankets in her crib so I wouldn’t take it. I felt like she was going to be harder than Kayden on some days.
The first dilemma: When do you stop using them?
We lived in an apartment and I tried to be the best neighbor as possible and did whatever I could to keep the noise down with two newborns. I knew taking them away before a year was going to lead to disaster so I figured after they were a year old I would look into ways to breaking the habit. Once a year rolled along, I fell to the peer pressure of getting rid of bottles, so in my mind binkies could wait. I felt like such a pushover but I couldn’t do that to them too. I know, I’m weak. Slowly the twins second birthday was creeping up on us and I had to commit. I was going to make sure we had no more binkys before they were two. I declared it.
Next dilemma: How do you do it?
I LOVE being a parent in this time; the internet became my best friend in this case. I found many different solutions.
- Passing it on to a younger sibling was one idea, but we didn’t have one of those coming so I had to cross that off.
- A Tooth Fairy type concept came up — the “binky fairy” — where she leaves you a present, but I personally think there are way too many “fairy” things I have to be and I don’t need another one.
- Snipping the tip off; the germaphobe in me cringed.
- Putting it inside of a Build-a-Bear so they always have the comfort of it; that was just a little too different for me.
- Slowly wean them off it — okay this was the first to appeal to me.
- And the final option: Cold Turkey (this is what we did for bottle breaking and I saw a slight light at the end of the tunnel.)
The last idea I found was telling them the process. I am a very honest parent, minus a few things; I want my kids to tell me the truth so I tell them the truth. I started telling my girls that before they turned two binkies weren’t going to be allowed in the day time unless they were napping. Then I would take them away for naps but night time was the hardest. I couldn’t get my daughters to go to bed without them and I was going insane. I needed a different strategy… I wasn’t going to let twin toddlers out-smart me (this time).
Mommy confession: I bribe my kids more than I care to admit.
I made a chart and told them every nap or bedtime they didn’t have their binkie I would let them put a sticker up and for every 3 stickers they would get a prize (such as more stickers, trip to the library, more crayons). This proved effective but it wasn’t consistent. Kayden had come to me and showed me her binkie was broken, she had bitten the tip off. I explained that we didn’t have any more binkies. I then made sure if she wasn’t using it that I had sanitized it before she got it back.
A few days later she came to me and told me how she was a big girl and couldn’t use it. WAIT, WHAT?! She told me she didn’t like her binkie not working so she didn’t need it. I took it away and since then she has been binkie-free. Kaylee still used it for bedtime and we were nearing their second birthday quickly and I was frustrated. Kayden started telling Kaylee that she needed to be a big girl like her but Kaylee would quickly remind us that she was a baby still. I finally caved and snipped the tip off and just like that she tells me that it wasn’t working right. About two days later she had enough of the binkie that didn’t work and she didn’t need it. It was a happy dance day and I'm pretty confident that I even created a “mom brag” on Facebook that we were a binkie-free household.
Having our children grow up is amazing and hard at the same time. We want them to be independent but having to “say goodbye” to those baby moments is very sentimental to us all. When should you take the binkie away? When its good for you and your multiples. Set realistic goals for the process and take your time with it so your multiples can adjust to it. Be patient; as adults we didn’t learn new habits overnight and neither will your children.
Most of all, make it fun for you. This isn’t something that we should stress about — there are too many other things we have to stress about! And I promise your children won’t be graduating high school with a binkie.
Robyn Gogue is currently a stay at home mom to her 4-year-old fraternal twin daughters, Kayden and Kaylee, and wife to her husband, Roy. She is currently pursuing her career in the medical field.