I am not a fan of Pacifiers. With that said, I don’t know how I would have done the sleep training without a pacifier. I use a pacifier and then when my baby is 3 months old, I take it away.
I know tons of people think the pacifier is the best thing that happened to this world and I can see why they feel that way. But, just as with every baby related decision, you have to do what works for you and your baby. For me, pacifiers don’t work. (Disclaimer: I know many people that have extremely happy children who use pacifiers. This is a personal choice, and before I elaborate on it, a quick reminder that I am just a mom)
I didn’t want my children to use a pacifier because…
1) I did not want them to become addicted to it and then at age 2 or 3 whenever it would be, have to go through the process of taking them away.
2) I heard (horror) stories from friends (Shout out – Y) of waking up 10 – 15 times a night to put the pacifier back in the baby’s mouth because it fell out and they were crying.
3) And this is more of a vain reason – I don’t love how pacifiers look, especially when the baby becomes a toddler and is walking and talking with the pacifier in their mouth. (Again, a personal decision — I still think your kid is cute, just don’t like it on my own children)
As I said, I still use a pacifier for the first 3 months. I try not to give it all day, but I need to give it enough so that he likes it and will take it. I don’t like to use it at night in the bassinet/crib to fall asleep. Starting from day 1, I put my baby down to sleep awake, (or as often as a newborn is awake), and I try not to associate that time with a pacifier.
So when do I really use the pacifier? Three major times:
1) During Step One of the book – stretching the day feeds to every 4 hours. That pacifier helps me around 2 hours and 45 minutes in, when the baby starts to be ready to eat, as they have been eating that often for weeks. The pacifier is a lifesaver at those moments. Some other tricks are bouncing up and down in front of the sound of running water and the swing (that is another post, but the swing function on is also very helpful in that moment). I often found that once the baby makes it past that hurdle, they fall asleep and make it to 4 hours, or very close to 4 hours, no problem.
2) During Step Two of the book – when the baby naturally moves their nighttime feed later, and then they wake up earlier, I give the pacifier to help them fall back asleep in order to make it to the later nighttime feed. For example, if the baby was waking up around 2 am, but then on their own moved that feed to 4 am, if they wake up a few nights later at 2 am and it is now too early for them to eat — the pacifier helps us push them to the new feed time of 4 am.
3) The final time is also the time that I don’t know what we would have done without the pacifier. When the night feeds are reduced to zero, and the baby sleep through but the morning feed is 7 am and they wake up at 6:20 am. —> P.A.C.I.F.I.E.R. My husband and I take turns going and putting it back in, sometimes getting 15 minutes of quiet, sometimes a mere 5 minutes, but that is how we get from 6:20 — 7:00 am.
When my baby turns 12 weeks, I take away the pacifier. By that point they aren’t using it during the day anymore because they have no trouble waiting the 4 hours, and they aren’t using it during the night because they are done with their feeds. If they do wake up before the morning feed, they learn a different way to self soothe – whether it be sucking on their fingers as babies or singing their hearts out at 2 years old. Whatever they do, they are in their crib, and they are happy, and they don’t need me bringing them anything so therefore I am very happy 🙂
Just the other week my then 7 month old stumbled upon a pacifier and while he puts everything in his mouth, he didn’t put it in his mouth correctly – he just started biting on the outside. This amused me because I remember turning to my husband when he was 10 weeks freaking out that he LOVED the pacifier and how we’re never going to be able to take it away…