Pacifiers can be such a wonderful tool for babies and parents. However, when a baby begins to scream the moment a binky falls out of his mouth or awakens multiple times a night for it to be replaced, it’s time to do something.
What do I do?
If your baby is 3 months or younger, this first method is for you! Watch this video to see me demonstrate how to gently pull the binky from your baby’s mouth right before he falls asleep.
Doing this increases the likelihood of him putting himself BACK to sleep in the night without needing it replaced. Now, this skill won’t develop immediately. It may take weeks for your baby to learn to fall asleep without the pacifier. That’s okay. It’s a work in progress. If your baby begins crying when you pull it from his mouth, just replace the pacifier and try again later. It will take time and patience.
It’s not required to pull the pacifier before your baby falls asleep. It’s perfectly acceptable for a baby to fall asleep with the pacifier in his mouth. This is simply a technique that can be helpful for babies who are overly dependent upon it.
Check out the video below of baby Gio. Mom has been working on this technique. He is now able to put himself to sleep without the pacifier at all. She uses it as part of the nap and bedtime routine, but once she lays him down, he goes to sleep without it. Again, this was only implemented because Gio was crying each time it fell out of his mouth.
My baby is older, and we’re needing to “pop the pacifier” all night long. What do I do now?
My Navigating Months 3 & 4 ebook gives specific guidance to help you reduce pacifier dependence if you need to take that step. For babies 5-24 months, The ABC’s of Sleep allows your baby to have a pacifier at bedtime, but helps eliminate the need for you to replace it all night long!
If your baby is over 5 months, one of our goals is to teach him how to replace the pacifier on his own, allowing him to become a more independent sleeper. How can you do that?
1. Place 3-5 pacifiers all around the crib. This can make it easier for your little one to find a pacifier in the dark.
2. Try “The Binky Game.” It’s a fun activity to help reinforce this skill. Start practicing today. Older siblings are great at “playing” too. Soon this “game” will help your baby replace the pacifier on his own. See it in action here:
When is the right time to toss the binky?
If the binky is causing your baby frustration, increased crying, more wakings in the night, and you’ve just had enough… you can get rid of it no matter what age. As a parent, you get to decide when is best for your baby. If you need tips on weaning the pacifier, I’ve got a blog for you.