Since Conner was a newborn, he LOVED his paci. He had it all the time. We used to try to distract him so he would play without it, but that was difficult. He was my baby and he loved it so much. It brought him so much comfort and peace and security.
When he turned one year old, I decided that in order to encourage speech development we needed to regulate the paci to bedtimes only. I waited until "just the right time" and started putting the paci away when I fed him breakfast and not getting it back out until naptime *no matter what* The first week was HELL!!! He cried and cried and cried. I thought I was going to lose my mind! I felt so bad for him. The one thing that helped was that he couldn't say "paci"yet. If I'd had the extra burden of him being able to ask for it, I would have been toast!
Jerry hated that pacifier. He complained about it for years!! As Conner's second birthday approached, Jerry started in on one of his many many many monologues about getting rid of it. I was perfectly content. As long as he didn't have it when he was awake, he could take it to college as far as I was concerned. But Jerry was determined for some reason (he'll have to start his own blog to explain/defend himself) that the pacifier had to go. Drove me crazy!
The problem was that no paci = no sleep. The first time, I tried to take it cold turkey. That was a disaster. The child was coming unraveled. We made it 5 days and 5 nights before I couldn't take it anymore. I was pregnant with Parker and the last thing I needed was a distraught 1.5 year old and a newborn to care for. No way!
The second attempt is actually kind of funny. I took Conner to the mall to the Wacky Bear Workshop (like Build a Bear). He put the paci into an empty teddy bear and pushed a button to fill the bear with fluff. The machine made a loud noise and Conner thought it was destroying his beloved paci. Yeah. We had a breakdown in the mall.
Third time's a charm! A few months before his 3rd birthday, I got that "it's just the right time" feeling again. So I took Conner to Walmart and let him pick out a toy for when he was ready to give up his paci. He loved this Little People's airplane. I told him I would buy it for him but he couldn't have it until he slept without his paci. So we took it home and put it on his dresser. He wanted that thing so bad. So he did it! There were still some tears and we had to add a back rub to his nightly bedtime routine (which we still do, lol). But it was in his hands. His choice. He did it because he wanted that airplane. So, at least I didn't have to feel like such a beast!
We've been paci free for months!