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Pacifier Help

By Nicole Hill Gerulat |

Evie, Paca and Blankie

Yup. I give Evie a pacifier. I have to say, it’s been amazingly helpful in putting her to sleep. She only gets it in the car seat, and before bed– it’s the “signal” that it’s time for bed.

For 5 months, I’ve been enjoying how relatively simple it’s been to put her to sleep, but now I’m stuck. Lately, she’s been taking much longer to fall asleep because her grabby little fingers keep wanting to pull the pacifier out… which means I go in and out of the nursery to put it back in. If she can fall into deep sleep, she’ll pull it out on her own (or drop it) and stay asleep. But, if her sleep is light, she wakes up and cries out to have it put back in.

I know this isn’t good for her sleeping now, but HOW do I wean her of it now that it’s her sleep signal? And now, I -the panicked working mom- am worried I won’t be able to soothe her or put her to sleep on a plane. (Ps… I’ve tried going cold turkey, but she just cries and cries and won’t cry herself to sleep. Yeah.. I know I’m in trouble.)

What do you suggest?

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About Nicole Hill Gerulat


Nicole Hill Gerulat

Nicole Hill Gerulat was part of the Babble team as an editor and blogger on the Baby's First Year blog. She is a writer and professional photographer who showcases her work on her personal website, Nicole Hill Photography. Her work has been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, Glamour and Design Mom. Read bio and latest posts → Read Nicole's latest posts →

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13 thoughts on “Pacifier Help

  1. Jeni says:

    I just started with the soother at night at 4 months. It’s been OK but I think I am headed for trouble too. I am curious to hear what others say.

  2. Kate says:

    Have a look at this Australian book, ‘Minkie Mary the Dummy Fairy’.
    Go to :)

  3. Katie says:

    In my limited experience with my daughter (now 2), this is a short-lived phase of pacifier removal. It seems neverending, but I don’t think you have to wean her of it if you don’t want to yet. You just have to make it through this tough stretch. Before you know it, your little girl will be able to find and replace her own binky if she loses it at night. My 2 year old still sleeps with her binky and it is very comforting to her and I see absolutely no reason to take it away.

    We did have a stretch of time when Jane wanted her binky all the time (not just for sleep) and we relented a lot and it got problematic, but now we have a “binky bucket” and that is where we put the binky when she isn’t sleeping and she is ok with that.

    GL. Pacifiers definitely have their pros and cons, but I think, overall, it has been beneficial to Jane’s sleep.

  4. CDN Mummy says:

    Don’t even worry until she is between 18 to 24 months. Babies should not have a pacifier after they are two but until then go ahead and let her sleep with it. She will eventually be able to find it and put it back in her mouth herself. I weaned my son cold turkey at 20 months and it took a week. At about the 3rd day he cried the most, 45 minutes, but then 20 min. the next day, then 15 the next and then not at all. He is now 27 months and has no problem going to sleep without it. It is so cute to see him looking at old pictures of himself; basically every picture has his pacifier in it, he used it A LOT. He gets all nostalgic and points it out every time but he also says “my don’t need it now” and seems to be proud of himself.

  5. CDN Mummy says:

    Oh and I also let him sleep with a stuffed animal at 12 months old to get him attached to something else knowing that eventually he would not have his pacifier and now he always sleeps with his Doggy. This was tricky, I would lie him in his crib at his bedtime and put his arm around the dog, then check on him before I went to bed and put his arm around the dog again. Eventually he cuddled with the dog on his own and got very attached to it. I figured it would be a good transitional object when it was time to take his pacifier away and he would still have his beloved doggy. When he’s sick now, it’s his dog he wants with him.

  6. Rosstwinmom says:

    I have twins, and one needed constant paci replacement while the other didn’t. It won’t last too long. My paci lover is still using it at 3. He has other lovies. We tried to get rid of it, but he screamed like he was being skinned alive. He couldn’t even sleep alone anymore. This lasted 2 months. We then gave the paci back. Ah, sleep again. So, just relax as best you can and roll with what your child needs. Try not to say never about something or plan too much of when something will happen. All kids have their own ways.

  7. Sarah Neilson says:

    Hello – My kids are paci babies for sure. I didn’t have this problem too too much because I swaddled them in this: It seemed to keep little hands at bay until they were coordinated enough to put it back in themselves. Each of the kids also have a special bla bla doll that I sleep with for a month or so before they’re born to give it my scent and use that as a soothing tool. It totally works and if paci can’t be found their little buddy is there to help! We also have a special out of the way place for the paci when it’s not bed time. All in all paci’s are a life saver in our house and especially when we travel and they’re out of their element. I would stick with it and when the time does come we use the “binky fairy” method from super nanny to soften the blow. Good luck! :)

  8. gwyn says:

    seriously, look up the real research (not other’s opinions of the research) and you will see that using a pacifier to sleep is perfectly healthful and not detrimental, even to teeth, until ages 3-4. Bottle use for going to sleep is often mixed into pacifier use and has a different effect, so keep that in mind as you look at the research.

  9. Zoë says:

    Wait it out! My baby is 7 months old and can put the paci back in by herself!!! Hallelujah!! I thought this day would never come. And you know what helped? We switched paci brands. Like Evie, my little one liked her Nuks, but the babysitter noticed she would stick her finger in the ring and pull it out unintentionally so she tried another paci without the ring. I thought baby girl wouldn’t like the change, but she really does. We switched to MAMs and she does so much better. It’s easier to put in too because there is no upside down, unlike with the Nuk. I promise, you won’t be putting that paci back in for much longer.

  10. j. says:

    So, I have a little bit of a different approach to this problem.

    My baby is 3 months old and we recently went through something similar with her. She actually doesn’t get a binkie to fall asleep with (we only use one for her in the car and in the evenings when she gets naturally fussy). I used the binkie to help her fall asleep when she was a newborn, but quickly decided I didn’t want it to be her sleep prop, when we went through something similar where she would cry every time it fell out. So, instead of using the binkie to prompt her to sleep, now I use a little seahorse soother that glows and plays lullabies for a few minutes. It has been great and has let her know that it is sleep time for the past 3 months and always put her to sleep, but recently we starting have the same problem with it that you are having with the pacifier. She would close her eyes and start to sleep while it was on, but as soon as it turned off she would wake up and cry until I came in to soothe her and turn it back on. This went on for a few days and I was getting really frustrated. Finally, I decided to extend her awake time by 10 minutes and put her to sleep a bit drowsier. I was in the habit off putting her asleep virtually WIDE awake, so I kept her up 10 minutes longer and waited until she was starting to close her eyes and act really drowsy on her own before putting her down. She was still awake (I don’t want to rock her to sleep-not my style), but I found it completely solved the problem. I only had to push the button once and she listened to the lullabies and then went to sleep like she had been doing in the past. So for me, the problem was more that she wasn’t quite ready for a nap yet which makes sense as she is getting older and staying awake longer.

    You will probably run into this problem with a sleep prop regardless of what you use (binkie or soother) so I’ve found that letting her get a bit drowsier was really the only was for me to solve this problem. At least for now. And it was worth it to me to not have to go in and out of the room turning her soother on. Good luck!

  11. Kali says:

    oh god i hated that stage! J is a totally in love with his, our term is “pluggie” and he would freak out when it fell out. We practiced, and practiced and practiced getting him to take it out and put it back in all by himself. now he’s 18 moths and i kid you not we’ve got 10 of them in the crib with him so if he looses one there’s another close by.

  12. Randi says:

    Give it a little while longer. Elle loved hers, and then just boycotted it when she turned 6 mos old… she didn’t want anything to do with it anymore. She may give it up on her own… I’ll cross my fingers for you!

  13. Jen says:

    I’m a huge believer in pacifiers and I’m a HUGE believer in weaning BEFORE 15months. I weaned my 3 children of bottle AND paci’s at 12-13months and it was a rough couple of days but they ALWAYS got through it in just a few days and I’ve talked to countless other parents who wait until 15m, 18m or 2/3 years to do this and it takes weeks and months and is so miserable because when they are toddlers they have more fight in them than a little baby has…and babies are soothed still by cuddling/rocking where toddlers won’t always go for that at an older stage. I’ve always done cold turkey and offered sippy cups in place of the bottle and blankets or other items in place of the binky, it’s hard but usually I’m done in 3 days. It’s so nice to not have to worry about 2 back up binkies everywhere you go for years =) The older they get, the more attached they get to it, wanting it more often than bedtime…another reason I believe in pulling the plug (literally) at about a year.

    Good luck.

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