Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Giving the Paci the Pink Slip and Braving CIO

The first six months of Ky's life we were all absolutely in love with the pacifier.  When nothing else would calm Kylie down, the paci would pull through and do us a solid.  Kylie would immediately quiet and suck away, happy as a clam.  She would fall asleep with it, the paci dangling from her mouth as she fell into a deep sleep.  As she grew older, the paci also moonlighted as a toy, Ky would get bored and pull it out of her mouth, studying it and chewing the sides. 

However, the past couple weeks the pacifier became the bane of our existence.  Kylie would spit it out and then scream because she spit it out and wanted it back NOW.  The worst was at night.  She would fall asleep sucking on the paci, but of course it would fall out after she fell asleep and then she would wake up in the middle of the night, realize that it was not in her mouth like it was supposed to be, and then promptly start screaming.  Yeah.  Not fun, especially when it was happening 3-4 times a night.  It was particularly frustrating because before Kylie was sleeping through the night no problem, without waking up at all.  I wasn't getting any sleep, and that didn't exactly sit well with me, since now I have to wake up at 3 in the morning to get ready for work. 

So after much deliberation, Rex and I decided it was time for the pacifier to kick rocks.  I'd done some research and talked to the pedi, and they all agreed that now was a good time to stop using the paci.  Kylie was old enough to find other ways to soothe herself.  And I felt bad because we had started using the pacifier as our go to thing to quiet Kylie down instead of making it our last ditch effort.  We were being lazy, plain and simple. 

Taking away the pacifier led to a new problem though.  How was Ky going to fall asleep at night?  She had always used the pacifier before, and very rarely had she fallen asleep without one.  After more deliberation, we decided to let her cry it out.  And we decided to go with the rapid extinction method, the one where you don't go in to see them at all.  I like the idea of the Ferber method, but I knew that if I went to her crib I would have to pick her up. 

Let me tell you, CIO is not for the faint of heart, and you have to be 100% committed to it.  Or it won't work.  The first night I gave Ky her bath, put her lotion and jammies on, fed her for the last time, and read her a bedtime story.  Rex and I both kissed her goodnight and laid her down in her crib.  The next hour and ten minutes were absolute hell.  It took Ky a couple minutes for her to realize what was going on, and then she started whining.  I was like, "ok, I can handle a little whining."  But then the whining turned into crying.  And then into screaming.  I thought I was going to die.  I wanted so badly to go and scoop her up into my arms.  It took everything in me to stop myself.  It was hard.  She finally fell asleep a little over an hour later.  She woke up a couple times that night, but went back to sleep within a couple minutes with no intervention.  Then the next night it only took her ten minutes to fall asleep.  And the night after that, and the night after that.  It's been eleven days and every night she has fallen asleep by herself within ten minutes with no crying and only minimal whining. 

It's the best frigging thing we've done so far.  I used to dread bedtime because she was so hard to put down, but know I practically look forward to it.  She is still having some difficulty falling asleep during the day with her naps, but she's getting better and is now sleeping longer when she falls asleep.  She used to only nap for about a half an hour, but now she will stay asleep anywhere between 1-2 hours.  We've still kept the pacifiers just in case, we weren't so brave that we threw them out, but we've only tried to use a paci once during a moment of weakness in the car and Ky completely rejected it.

So that's our experience with giving the pacifier the pink slip and being brave enough to try CIO.  I was afraid Ky would hate me after that, but she still wakes up every morning with a big ol' grin on her face for Rex and me.  Don't be afraid to try it, it's so hard to do, but once you actually do it, you'll never regret it.  Believe me.  It's saved my sanity.

My new "Zen" baby

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