Straight-Up Parenting Questions

I have 2 straight-up parenting questions today.

First, how do we take away Little MPB’s pacifier/soother?  You see, Little MPB LOVES his soother, he took to one on the second day of his life and it instantly became his thing, which was great initially because they are known to reduce SIDS, but we are well past that now.  He loves his soother so much that he has not taken to any blanket or stuffed animal (no matter how hard I’ve tried to force it on him).  He simply uses his soother as his security item.  In fact when he sleeps he wants 2 of them – one in his mouth and one in his hand.  And, he likes to switch them up from time to time – it’s adorable.

But, it’s also somewhat problematic now that we’ve decided it’s time for him to give up his reliance on his soother.  The reason for our decision to take it away now is that here they recommend very limited soother use by the age of two as to not impact tooth/mouth development.  So, we have a bit of time but not a lot.

We have successfully reduced him to only 1 at night time, but how do we reduce him to none, ever?  And we try not to ever let him have one during the day anymore.  I have no idea how to do this without causing a major sleep regression or a major ongoing melt-downs. Suggestions would be much appreciated.

Second, when do people tend to turn their car seats to front facing?  The recommendations here are not to switch to front facing until the child is at least 1 years old and can walk independently but ideally keep the car seat rear facing until they are 5.  I have to say, I truly think it’s unrealistic to force him to sit rear facing until he’s 5, considering how uncomfortable that would be.  Little MPB is well past 1 year old and clearly walks/runs/climbs on his own, so I think we can switch him any time.  But I’m also paranoid, I know all too well how important car safety is and I’m slightly paranoid that the day we turn him will be the day we get into a car accident.  The main reason I’m considering changing him to front facing is that I am down right sick and tired of the car seat battle and I’m told most kids stop hating the car seat as much once they are forward facing.  Honestly, I’m sick of being kicked and screamed at every single time I have to put Little MPB in the car.  So, anyways, at what age do parents tend to turn the car seat around?  And does turning the car seat actually help reduce the car seat battle?

So, if anyone has any thoughts on either of these 2 questions, I’d very much appreciate hearing from you!

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42 Comments on “Straight-Up Parenting Questions

  1. I have no advice on the soother… G still uses one to sleep and he turned 3 in August. I think we are just going to have to go cold turkey and suffer through the first few nights.

    As for car seats, I don’t know the laws in Canada. In the US, there are some states that require you to wait until the child is 2 to turn them forward facing. Other states say after 1 is legal. If you do some research it is best to keep the rear facing as long as possible based on their bone and muscle development. That being said, it is a matter of personal preference (if where you live doesn’t have specific laws/regulations). We turned G when he was 2.5 because he reached the weight limit of his rear facing seat but I know a lot of people who waited until 3-4 to turn them forward facing. I also know plenty of people who turned them before 2. Good luck!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • First soother – I think we are going to do it cold turkey too. But I’m dreading it!
      Second, car seat. Wow, I had no idea other places have a 2 year old minimum. Here the requirement is 1 year and independently walking. Most people here tend to turn them around 1.5 years old. But, after all the comments I’ve received about the 2 year mark, we will definitely be holding out until he’s at least 2 years old! And probably even longer! Thanks so much!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Both of my kids refused pacifiers, no matter how hard I pushed them on them. I’m no help there!

    We kept ours rear-facing as long as possible, meaning as long as they were happy that way. Don’t worry about his legs – he’ll let you know when it’s uncomfortable for him. Don’t set a time or are in your mind – just decided when he seems to be flustered by it. You’ll know! ( Matthew made it to 14 months – I theme that. Bryson made it longer but I don’t know how long… 2?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loved the pacifier when Little MPB was little. But now, I wish he had just refused it! I’m dreading taking it away from him.
      And thanks for the tips about when to turn the car seat. Based on all the other comments about 2 year minimum in some states/counties, I think we are going to hold out until he’s 2 and then see how it goes from there. 🙂

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  3. Gah the car seat battle! I hear you! Cora hates that thing. Not sure about your laws there but my state says I can flip her forward at the age of 2 and well, I did it a few weeks before she turned two. It didn’t solve all our car ride problems but it did help.
    We pretty much have the same pacifier problem. Two in the hand at night and nap:) For the most part that is the only time she has a binky at all. I know I should think about getting rid of them and going cold turkey but I just haven’t done it yet. So I’m not much help but to say I hear cold turkey is best:) Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • This 2 year minimum requirement fascinates me! We are required to wait until 1 year old and independently walking. But, apparently this 2 year thing is a big deal (based on all the comments I’ve received so far), so we will definitely be waiting until he’s at least 2 to turn him around! I can deal with being kicked for a few more months. 🙂
      I’m definitely going to be looking forward to your cold turkey lessons on the soother front. I’m thinking that’s what we’ll be doing to, but just not yet. I’m not ready for that battle right now.

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      • It used to be a year old. Some people are really over the top about the rear facing thing. They will tell you all the ways your child will die if they don’t see rear facing until they are married. After two, I say do what works for you!
        I’m not ready for the binky battle either which is why I’m ignoring it. But I’ll be sure to share when we tackle that:)

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  4. Something that works is to cut the soother nipple. It won’t work. He won’t want it. I have also heard of the binky fairy but I feel kids need to be older to really get that. My kids didn’t take pacifiers but I worked in childcare and the surefire way was ruining the soother.
    The carseat should go with height and weight limits of your seat. My son rearfaced until 2 per the recommendation but I kept my daughter rear facing until she was 3 or a little over. She was too tall in her seat at that point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve heard of the idea of cutting the soother nipple. I think we may try that first, because it would really be ideal if he just gives it up on his own. But, if it doesn’t work then I’m guessing we’ll have to go cold turkey.
      As for the car seat, we don’t have a 2 year requirement and today’s the first I’ve ever head of it. But, I think we will definitely be keeping him rear facing until he’s at least 2 and hopefully even longer.

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  5. No advice on the soother – we tried desperately to get Avery to use one, but no dice.

    We recently bought a second child sized car seat because Avery finally outgrew the infant one that we had in our second car. We had one big kid carseat made in 2016, and this new one made in 2017, and both exactly the same brand and model. But the safety guidelines written on the info booklets were different. The old one said rear facing until 1, and the new one said rear facing until 2. So my wife did some research…. apparently in Sweden they sit rear facing well into childhood (past 2, even), and they just get used to having their legs bent if they get too long. Why? Crash tests have shown that kids are 75% safer in rear facing car seats. http://www.thecarcrashdetective.com/2017/03/a-guide-to-swedish-child-car-seat-safety-for-americans.html/

    So we are putting up with Avery’s kicking and screaming as she gets buckled in for a while longer. That said, if the car seat you own recommends the switch to forward facing any time after age 1, it must have been safety tested to come to that recommendation. So you may feel comfortable enough following those guidelines.

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    • Ah, when Little MPB was an infant I was thrilled he loved his soother. But now, now I’d give anything to have a kid who just didn’t want one. I’m dreading how upset he is going to feel the day we take it away.
      Also, thanks for all the info on the car seat. Lyra211 (another comment) gave met his website – https://carseatblog.com/43048/everything-we-thought-we-knew-about-rear-facing-is-being-questioned/. It’s a really good review of the newest research/summary of flaws in the research that exists that actually debunks the 5x safer numbers, but does so in an academic manner. You might enjoy reading it too. I’m soaking up all the info people are sharing with me today. 🙂
      From what I can tell, based on my limited research, 2 years old is the minimum anyone should turn the car seat. So, we’ll be waiting until he’s at least 2 years old, but hopefully even longer. I guess being kicked on a daily basis is okay if it’s for his safety. 🙂

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      • So much research!!! And so many things that we as parents can potentially obsess over! And both you and Lyra are academics so I know I’ll always get good resources from you both! 😊

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  6. Ugh. The pacifier. Charlotte is still going STRONG with hers and I just haven’t had the fight in me. It’ll have to happen soon though. I think we’re just going to go cold turkey.

    Car seat wise, California requires them to stay rear facing until 2. We are aiming for 3, but we’ll see. She’s not complaining though. If it was a kicking screaming battle every time we got in the car, I’d probably have flipped her by now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t have the fight in me either. I’m aiming to take it away by 2 years old, but gosh, just the thought of it has my anxiety raising!
      We don’t have a 2 year requirement where I live, but based on everything I’m learning I think we now have a 2 year requirement in our family! So, now we’ll wait until he’s 2 and then re-evaluate.

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  7. So as far as car seat safety, keep that kids rear facing until a minimum of age two, the studies on safety are very firm on their findings! I reluctantly turned ours recently at 26 months and while it has its ups, I should have waited until three. A small amount of discomfort to them is worth the safety factor.

    Pacifier is a hard one. I’d say cold turkey is the way to go. Talk about a t going bye bye for a week maybe and then just take it away. Some have no problems and others have a hard time for a few days. Before age two is definitely a good idea, everything gets harder to take away after that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We don’t have a legal 2 year requirement here, but after everything I’ve learned today, we definitely have a 2 year requirement in our house!! So, we’ll leave him rear facing for now and re-evaluate the kicking and screaming battle once he’s 2 years old.
      As for the pacifier. I think you’re right about taking about it so he’s aware it’s leaving. But, I definitely think he’s going to be a kid who has a hard time without it. I’m dreading it.
      Thanks for the tips!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your welcome. Just remember that he doesn’t know any different on the car seat until you change it…there’s no going back lol it didn’t seem to phase my kids dislike for their car seats either 😩

        Liked by 1 person

  8. No advice on the pacifier, sorry! I also live in a state where the requirement is to keep kids rear-facing until they are 2. We bought a seat that is highly rated for extended rear-facing intending to keep him rear-facing as long as possible, because of the research someone else described above. BUT… there’s a new analysis that came out recently showing that it’s almost certainly not as clear a slam-dunk case in favor of rear facing as we’ve been hearing for the past 10 years. Here’s one really great article about it that describes exactly what the data do and do not tell us, but if you search you can find more:
    https://carseatblog.com/43048/everything-we-thought-we-knew-about-rear-facing-is-being-questioned/
    Our kiddo does not fight the rear-facing seat the way some kiddos do, so we’re keeping him rear-facing for now. But I think this article should assuage your mommy guilt a whole awful lot if you do decide to flip Little MPB.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the article! I definitely read it and even shared it with another commenter on my blog – she’s an academic like you, except totally different fields of study. So, I thought she’s appreciate it. 🙂
      And I guess we are definitely waiting until Little MPB is 2 years old. Then, we’ll re-evaluate how the kicking and screaming battle is going.

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  9. Both my kids hated the pacifier or anything plastic in their mouth from day 1.
    So not much I can help there. However, I can say go cold turkey.. no pacifiers at all, which will be harder for him because I am sure at daycare, other kids use pacifiers and he will ask for them.
    Forward facing, well, I turned A around last month. He is 2 months shy of being 2 years old. Like you, I was fed up of the battle, and has it improved? Not really.. he still struggles the restraints in the car seat and gets cranky for rides longer than 1 hour.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The only plastic thing Little MPB has ever liked in his mouth is his pacifier. And he’d have it 24/7 if we’d let him. Thankfully, we’ve got him to the point of only when sleeping, but I am dreading eliminating it entirely.
      As for the car seat, thanks for letting me know that turning the seat hasn’t really helped. I was hoping it would be a magical cure, but at the same time I’m pretty realistic in knowing that he hates being restrained, so I doubt turning him will be a complete fix. I guess, they are just kids with energy to burn, so it shouldn’t surprise me.

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  10. Ah, two good questions! Pacifier experience, Darwin took one from 4 months to 1 year and gave it up on her own when she started at our childcare swap, of her own accord. The only advice I have is, wait until after your wild and stressful 6-8 weeks coming up here, because a soother that works during a stressful time like that is worth 10x it’s weight in gold.

    Car seats, there’s so much information about rear facing now it can be overwhelming. We planned to rear face until Darwin outgrew the requirements, but she started getting epically carsick right after her 3rd birthday. There is some significant spinal maturation that occurs in the 4th year of life, which is why the recommendation for rear facing until at least 4, but I decided bathing the car seat straps in acid weekly was not safe either and we turned her around (no more vomiting). Ideally, we would have rear faced until at least 4, but I would not turn any child under 2 to forward facing.

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  11. As far as pacifier: the sooner you stop it the easier the battle. We did ours at 18 months and he protested/ asked for it for a few days and was over it. Car seat: I say wait until 2. Just my opinion :). Xo

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  12. My daughter loved her pacifier. It was a hard habit to break. We eventually got her to stop by cutting a small piece off the end. It is difficult to suck with the hole (of course being mindful of any pieces that may come off…making sure it is still safe). We cut a little sliver more kff each night until she could no longer suck it. She held it in her hand for a might or two, but this worked wonderfully to end the habit.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Two ways my friends have stopped the paci use with great success.

    1. Showed you tube videos of kids with bad teeth as what happens if keep using them.

    2. Say your a big boy now and you graduate, lead up to it, have a little ceremony, he has to throw them all in the bin (trash) himself .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your tips, I love how different each kid is! 🙂
      But I have to admit, I laughed out loud when I read Little MPB would have to throw them out himself. 🙂 He wont let go of them when he has one! He holds onto them with some sort of toddler death grip. It’s literally a battle with tears most mornings to leave it in his crib until night time. I cannot imagine for a second that he’ll throw them out on his own!!

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  14. My son adored his pacifier. We had him leave them for Santa with the milk and cookies (he was just over 2) with a note that they were for babies who needed them. It worked for us. My friend “planted” her child’s soothers. The next morning they sprouted suckers. Not great sugar wise but gets them over the need to suck something hump.
    Good luck!

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  15. We weaned my son off his pacifier ever so slowly. We tried to make it so it was never around, and then kept him distracted if he started to act like he needed it. While we were done with day-time pacis by the time he was 2, he still needed a night paci for some time after that. In fact, we just finally got rid of it about a month ago, and he’s well over 2.5.

    We kept our son rear-facing until he was 2, per the recommendations in our home state. But after that, we turned him right around. He looked so uncomfortable with his long legs all bunched up against the backseat 😦

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  16. On the advice of our pediatrician, we discontinued use of pacifiers just after our sons’ first birthday, when we stopped using bottles. As I recall, we first just gave them a “lovey” (small, soft blanket with an animal head) in place of the pacifiers at naptime, and there were a few tears. After a couple of days of that, we took them away at bedtime as well, and I don’t recall a lot of problems.

    Admittedly, it may be more difficult with a slightly older child, though, and I can’t speak to that. I will say that one of our sons was VERY devoted to his pacifier, so we thought it would be more difficult taking them away than it turned out to be.

    Regarding the rear-facing child car seat, I say leave him rear-facing as long as the height and weight limits of his seat will permit. It is SIGNIFICANTLY safer (5 times safer), and although he may look uncomfortable to you, he probably isn’t.

    This website is a great resource regarding car seats: http://thecarseatlady.com/5-times-safer/

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  17. We plan to use the dummy (soother in Aussie) fairy! She comes and collects them from all the ‘big’ boys and girls, leaves a special toy/drink bottle etc instead. This way the child is giving them up and toddlers often like to think they are ‘big boys or girls’.

    As for the carseat, we have already forward faced our son, much to my guilt, we are complying with australian law but he is only 11 months. But the screaming was just too much and it was becoming dangerous for me to drive like that. We turned him and instant silence and happy baby, he is a bit reflux-y too and I think the more upright position of forward facing helps.

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  18. As for the soother, we took H’s soother away during the day when he was 17 mo and then took it completely at 18 mo. It honestly wasn’t that bad, though I fully anticipated it being a huge battle. Basically, one night, my husband said, “let’s try not to give him the paci tonight.” I was against it, but gave in. He took about 10 min longer to fall asleep and did wake 2-3 times a night for a couple of nights, but then that was it. We would go in and rock him for a bit when he’d wake crying and then put him back in his crib. It was only terrible for 2 nights. I do think taking it during he day helped bc he got used to not having it. As for car seat, mine is 2 yrs 2 months and still RF. Here in the States, they recommend 2 yrs old and/or when they outgrow the RF weight or height limits. He went through a hard stage where he fought me EVERY TIME I put him in the seat (from about 17 mo-22 mo) and then he stopped and now it’s fine again. If he starts this again, we will turn him.

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  19. Well, I don’t have any advice on question #1 as Michael never took to a pacifier; and I’m thankful for this very thing you’re going through!

    As far as the car seat, we switched to forward-facing at age 2. It’s recommended to keep them rear-facing until age 2 or until the height/weight max has been met with the car seat manufacturer. I was tempted to wait until he reached the height/weight requirement, but it was getting hard getting him in and out of it (he’s of the charts in height).
    I know this doesn’t fall for you, but we found the car seat thing being a huge topic in our family because Michael was so tall and his legs were going up the backseat. My comment to them, every time, was I asked the very same question to the NICU nurse when we reviewed car seat rules. Her response was “you can always fix a leg, but you cannot fix a head”. That was enough reason for me NOT to switch him forward-facing too early.
    So, I would say age 2 if it feels right, or wait longer if he’s on the smaller side and if you’re iffy about switching 👍🏼 listen to your mommy gut

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  20. We still have the soother battle going on in our house too. H is the same as little MPB and has to have two in the crib every night. I spoke with a dental hygienist friend and she said that it’s actually relatively safe to let them have it up to 3 years old. It’s the bottles of milk that will cause more damage. But that’s one person’s opinion. I’m sure lots of other doctors would disagree. Our plan, when we are ballsy enough to stop them, is to reduce it to one in bed at night. Then eventually cut a little hole in it so he’s sucking more air in and it makes the soother less appealing and he eventually eliminates it on his own. He’s a stubborn one so we kind of have to make it seem like it’s his own idea.

    As for the car seat. We waited until H turned 2 before turning him around. But we had no choice as we went to Hawaii and the rental car seat only forward faced and after 7 days of forward facing, there was no getting him back to rear facing once home. So we made the switch. I gotta say, I love having him forward facing. It’s easier to deal with issues while traveling as we can both see him. He is happier in the seat too. I do always think about how everyone says that he should rear face as long as possible, but the kid is taller and he was clearly unhappy with his legs dangling over the edge or propped up on the seat back. So we just did what we felt was right for us 🙂

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  21. It looks like you got a ton of advice, so I’m just going to say: good for you for making conscious parenting decisions and gathering ideas and opinions so you can decide what is right for your family!

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  22. We just took our soothers away about 3 weeks ago cold turkey. prepare for HELL week & nap strikes. Now, it doesn’t even bother them, you just have to prepare yourself for a week if misery lol.

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  23. We were lucky, R only to pacifier for as long as she took a bottle. When she started used a sippy cup at 7ish months she lost interest. Though we were fine with her having it as long as she wanted it.
    Car seat is tricky. I live in Canada and had planned to do rear facing until 3 as that seems to be safest but little R had different plans. She hated being in the car since day one and would scream the entire time, usually puked if the drive was longer than 30 mins. One day I had an emergency and landed in the hospital, my mom picked her up from my friends house who had watched her in a pinch and mom couldn’t get the car seat in rear facing ( she was 14m at the time). She she put her in front face and later when I was home and she dropped her off reported she didn’t cry the whole time. That was enough for me. The car seat and law said12m. I’d have liked it to have a child enjoyed car rides but at least now she tolerates them for short times, we go out a lot more now a days.

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  24. Dalton likes 2 pacifiers at night too lol with my older son he would lose them and we tell him to find it when he couldn’t he’d give up and distract himself and we slowly started tossing them eventually he had none left but he rarely used them by then it was our way of weening but Dalton is more attached then Adin was… we decided to turn it when he’s at least 2 and has reached the rear facing height or weight limit… good luck to both

    Liked by 1 person

  25. For the pacifier I used the strategy of cutting a small amount of rubber off. Every few days I cut a little more. Eventually there was nothing to suck on and my little one grew uninterested. I offerred other blankets and animals at this time and he settled upon an animal that now goes to bed with him.

    I just explained it must be getting wore out from all the use. Not sure if he understood but it took a short few weeks. He rarely ask about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Baby E never was really that attached to the pacifier (though as I write this she is walking around with an old one in her mouth that she just found at the bottom of the toy box), but we’ve really struggled with getting her to give up bottles. The pediatrician said no more bottles after 15 months, but she will not drink milk out of anything else. She love sippy cups and will drink water out of them no problem, but refuses to drink milk out of them. So like you with the pacifier, we’ve cut down to bottles only at night before bed and in the morning before she gets up. But she’s rapidly approaching 18 months and we’re still not totally bottle-free at our house.
    As for car seats, in our state the law is rear facing until 2 and the recommended guideline is now rear facing until 4. You can get car seats made for taller kids (Graco makes one, otherwise check Lucie’s List for recommendations) if you’re worried about him being uncomfortable. But most experts say even if they look uncomfortable, they’re really not. Toddlers don’t mind having their legs bent nearly as much as adults do.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. We battled the binky problem before my son turned two. His dentist told us his teeth were starting to bow out slightly, so we wanted it gone sooner rather than later. No easy tips for you. We were in the same boat of only letting him use it at sleep time. We decided cold turkey was the best for us. It definitely wasn’t easy, but took just a couple nights and then it was like it never existed. I wrote about it on my blog if you’d like to check out my experience: https://thematernalcanvas.wordpress.com/2017/07/21/goodbye-nani/

    Liked by 1 person

  28. No advice on the paci because I️ have no desire to start that battle with A right now, lol. She starts with it in her mouth at night but rarely keeps it in. Daytime it just depends on her mood. This morning she hasn’t grabbed it yet. As far as the car seat, like all the others WI recommends until 2 yrs and I’ll do that but I️ don’t know if I’ll last much past that because it is a pain to get her in there right enough at that angle. Don’t even get me started on wi winters and not being able to have them in winter jackets! I️ seriously wonder how any of us made it out alive without all these rules and regulations.

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