Pacifiers for sleep?

Pacifier Power: Friend or Foe in Sleep Training?

June 06, 20242 min read

The pacifier. A lifesaver for some parents, a constant battle for others. When it comes to sleep training, the pacifier can be a source of confusion. Can you use a pacifier and still achieve sleep training success? Let's explore the pros and cons.

Pacifiers as Sleep Aids

There's no denying the soothing power of a pacifier. Sucking is a natural calming reflex for babies. This can be a huge help in getting your little one to drift off. 

The Downside of Pacifier Reliance

However, relying solely on the pacifier can backfire. If your baby wakes up and the pacifier is gone, they might not be able to put themselves back to sleep without it. This can lead to frequent nighttime wakings and frustration for both parent and child.

Age Matters

The decision to use a pacifier for sleep training can also depend on your baby's age. Younger babies (generally under 8 months) are often unable to grab and reinsert the pacifier by themselves so it's not something I typically recommend using during the sleep training process.  For older babies (around 8 months and above) who can potentially re-insert the pacifier themselves, it might be a more viable option.

So, Pacifier or No Pacifier? Here's How to Decide

  • Your Sleep Training Goals: If your ultimate aim is for your baby to learn to fall asleep independently, using a pacifier might not be the best approach.

  • Your Baby's Temperament: Some babies are more easily soothed by the pacifier, while others may not find it as comforting.

  • Your Comfort Level: If the idea of constantly replacing the pacifier throughout the night stresses you out, it's best to skip it.

Alternatives to Pacifiers

There are other ways to soothe your baby if you decide not to use a pacifier. Here are a few ideas:

  • Shushing and rocking: These calming techniques can be very effective, especially for younger babies.

  • White noise: A white noise machine can create a soothing environment that helps mask distractions and promote sleep.

  • Warm bath and massage: This relaxing routine can signal bedtime and help your baby wind down.

Ultimately, the best approach is the one that works for you and your baby. Experiment, be patient and remember, a good night's sleep is within reach!

And remember, as a certified gentle sleep coach I am always here to help on your family's sleep journey!

Yours in sleep,

Tracie / Rest Well Baby

Tracie Kesatie

Certified Gentle Sleep Coach

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