Here are some pacifier pros and cons and how to usethe pacifier (dummy) without putting it back in all night.
I’ve used the pacifier with all my babies and have to say that I do love them.
They have their pros and cons, but can be an extremely effective tool in helping comfort, calm, and sleep train your baby.
But first, if you are deciding whether to take the plunge to pacify, consider three things:
- your baby will get addicted
- he will not kick the habit willingly
- he will attempt to have you reinsert it day and night if you let him.
If you’re okay with those things (and I always was!) then it may be for you!
As long as you know those things you’re ready to go :)
Here are some general rules of
teat thumb when using the pacifier.
- Let them suck during their wake time or when they’re happy as it satisfies the non-nutritive sucking need young infants have.
- Use the pacifier to help night wean your baby or toddler. If they are used to nursing to sleep, try substituting the pacifier (particularly if it’s one they can put back in themselves) as this will help wean them from nursing. This probably works best if your spouse gives them the pacifier, not you.
- Get a pacifier that babies can put in and keep in and toddlers can find in their crib without your help. I have purchased quite a few of these pacifiers, and they are easy to find in the dark for your baby or toddler.
- Let your baby have the pacifier if you need to prolong the time until their next feeding. It will give them temporary relief, aka. they will be pacified, and you can get another 15 minutes out of them to finish at the checkout (because running errands with babies is hard), pay the bill at the restaurant, etc.
- Take the pacifier away when your children start to throw it out of the crib just so you’ll come back in to get it for them. This is a sign that they are now gettin’ tricky! When my son started this we took it away. After only one day he was sleeping without disruption again. If they’re old enough to play this game they’re old enough to go to sleep on their own ;).
The pacifier that stays in baby’s mouth, is easy to find at night, and helps baby settle.Learn More
- Don’t confuse them by prolonging the pacifier wean. Of course you’ll know your kids better than anyone else, but I’ve found with my kids that once you start the wean then finish it. You can poke a hole, make it bigger, etc. or another trick of the trade, but don’t take it away then give it back then take it away, etc. Make a plan then stick to it.
- Don’t use it so you don’t have to hear your baby cry. Learning their cries helps you accurately meet their needs which means they’ll probably cry less anyway. So sure you can use it to comfort your baby, but try to determine the reason of their cry first.
- Don’t let your babies use it indefinitely as a sleep prop. Using the pacifier can be a good sleep association, and help the baby or toddler to get to sleep, but don’t make a habit of going back into the room to put the pacifier back in. If they can’t put it in themselves again then I’d start out how you can hold out. Mine have all been given the pacifier at bedtime, but I didn’t go back in all nigh long (unless they were teething or night weaning) and that is the best of both worlds.
Read: Pacifier Weaning 101: Guide To Less Stress & Fewer Tears
How to stop going in all night to put the pacifier back in
If they are addicted to the pacifier and want it reinserted all night you’ve got a sleep prop on your hands and you are probably one tired mom.
It sound simple and you’ll meet resistance, but there’s pretty much two options here.
- Get them a pacifier they can find and put back in (my kids used these) or just stop doing it.
- Continue giving it at bedtime, but comfort in another way until they’re back to sleep and learning to sleep through their transition.
You can use the pacifier to help your baby or toddler in many ways. As long as you take a start out how you can hold out approach then you’ll all be happy you did.
Ready for everyone to start sleeping better? Use this checklist to help you get there.
If baby seems to wake frequently and isn’t in need of a feed, you can give the pacifier back. After 6 months of age it’s a good idea to teach baby to put their own pacifier back in. If baby is waking too often, you may want to wean the pacifier.
It’s difficult to keep a pacifier in the baby’s mouth all night. This is because when they fully relax into a deep sleep, the muscles of their mouth will open and the pacifier will fall out. This type of pacifier can be propped up on baby’s chest and stands the best chance.
According to doctors and studies done, it does not cause gas. Intense sucking possibly can take in air that may cause some air bubbles, but it’s not noticeable and will not be the main cause of gas.
According to the AAP pacifiers help reduce the risk of SIDS because when baby is sucking on them (or a breast) they remain active and in a lighter state of sleep which helps their body’s systems keep them awake and alert.
Any age is a good age to take the pacifier away if baby is becoming too dependent, can’t re-insert it in their own mouth, or if it’s disrupting their night sleep. By around 1 year of age, it’s good to take the pacifier away so it doesn’t turn into an emotional crutch that also creates some teeth issues.
If you are nursing, midwives typically recommend waiting until around 6 weeks to introduce the pacifier so there isn’t nipple confusion. However, if you see your baby doesn’t have a difficult time latching on, then it’s fine.
You use pacifier weaning strategies. You can remove the pacifier cold turkey, put a hole in the top, mail it to a loved one, or anything in between. But the key is to pick a strategy and stick with it.
Ah ha! A good trick is to take the pacifier and put it in the baby’s mouth then gently tug it out. This will cause baby to instinctually suck on it. Do this a few times every time you put it in until baby gets a strong suck.
a cappuccino and a bag of tayto says
This is pretty much our take on things too… Soother only for bedtime and to avoid public meltdowns ;) Although we have made the mistake of leaving it clipped onto his pj’s, he learned pretty quickly that he can pop it in and out as he likes and it never gets lost…. it won’t be pretty when we try to take it off him! :)
Avoiding the public meltdown is reason enough for use! I lived in Italy a few years and can only imagine the fun you are having there as a mom! There didn’t seem to be tons of kids in Rome (at least not compared to how many I see here) so they were treated so special!
We used a dummy at 7wks as our little boy had tongue tie which wasn’t picked up at birth and he has to relearn to suck. I find the pacifier useful for long car journeys and nighttime. He is now 19mths and we only use it for bed time and give it to him rather tham put it in his mouth. He’s always managed to find it at night which was a blessing. I don’t want to take it away yet as I don’t think he will understand. Hopefully by the time he’s two the fairy will come and take it away….they do serve a purpose when required and we’ve used them for long car journeys too….
Rachel Norman says
Yes long car journeys is actually a perfect time to use them! I agree with you, I think they serve a great purpose and are great for kids to use as they settle down to sleep. I think they are a great sleep association as long as they aren’t clear (ha) and invisible and impossible for kids to find on their own at night ;)
Ronni @ The Screenwriter's Wife says
Funny that I stumbled onto this on my Pinterest feed just now! I’m actually in the process of inventing an infant item to aid in a young baby being able to spit out and re-insert a pacifier on their own. Give me another year and hopefully I’ll have something you can update this blog post with that will help out exhausted parents! :)
Rachel Norman says
Oh well you do keep me posted ;)
Jodi Koll says
I need your help! So my daughter absolutely loved her pacifier but we recently pulled it just after her first birthday as she too was starting to play the game of throwing it out of the crib. She is doing great without it and is sleeping much better at night! My struggle is long car rides. The pacifier was how we got her to sleep in the car. I tried her blanket with no such luck! Would it be too confusing to bring it back just for car rides? I don’t want to go backwards by any means! I’d appreciate any advice you can give! Thank you!
I had a big problem with getting rid of the pacifier with my kid, but I had this excellent guide from my sister ‘How to help your child give up the pacifier’ by Susan Urban. Step by step instructions, lots of methods to choose from. Perfect for all children! Love it and can recommend it to others :)
Thank you for sharing the link. I purchased the guide, and it has been only two days, and we did it! I choose one method out of 13, and we won :) The guide is short with clear instructions so I could read it fast and get started! Lovely :) Thanks
This guide is the help I was looking for! It has been only 3 days, and it helped us get rid of pacifier, and my son was like most addicted ever! Thanks so much for sharing the link :)
Bonnie thanks for sharing the link. I got all the guides and they are all very helpful! Awesome :)
At 4 weeks old would you give the pacifier one time in the beginning of a nap or bedtime. And if the baby cries due to losing the pacifier would you allow them to cry until they fall asleep or would you go back in and try to comfort them another way and just not reinsert the pacifier? I do have the wubbanub he still loses it and is swaddled and he is unable to put it back in himself. I am asking this because this is my second child and my first child was addicted to The Pacifier we would wake up 10 times a night to reinsert we had to take it away cold turkey and went through four nights of crying it out to fix the problem. It was horrible. I have noticed that my son is already starting to ask me to come back in to reinsert. I don’t want the same thing to happen to him.
I am in the same boat as Laura. What are your thoughts?
Thank you for this post! I am a little confused though about how to not reinsert it. My baby is 9 weeks and our problem is with naps (he is tired enough at night he doesn’t need it). He has a hard time settling himself and so using the pacifier helps him get to sleep. However he will then wake up with gas several times throughout the nap and cry because he lost his pacifier. At this age I don’t feel it’s wise to use CIO and nothing else (shh, patting, etc.) will calm him except reinsertion. And even when we reinsert, sometimes he’ll continue to squirm, making it keep falling out and creating a difficult situation. Any advice for how to fix this? He’s so young that I feel it would be cruel to keep the pacifier from him when it’s the only thing that will really calm him… but it’s getting incredibly frustrating to have to play the reinsertion game all nap long…
Same as previous poster… 8w old needs the paci reinserted a lot to take naps… he falls asleep awake (swaddled) with the paci at naps and wakes either when it falls out or when transitioning sleep cycles and needs it put back in order to fall asleep again… which is every 10-30mins! It’s getting really old, and thankfully i don’t have this issue at night time- BUT I’m sure that will happen soon if we don’t correct the problem. He used to nap great for 1-2.5h but now cannot make it past the 30min mark and i think it’s pacifier related. I really don’t know how to navigate this. Do I take it away entirely? He gets put down awake in his crib in a dark room, swaddled with loud white noise and usually falls asleep on his own.
I made a lot of sleep mistakes with my first that resulted in letting her CIO at 4.5m when we took the swaddle and pacifier away bc we were getting up every 20mins all night long. She ended up sucking her thumb- still does at almost 4 years old. Any advice would be super helpful!!!
I can’t tell when you posted this, but have you figured out any solutions to this problem? I am struggling with the same thing with my 6 week old! Can’t figure out what to do…if I should keep using the pacifier but just resolve not to keep reinserting it and try to comfort him in other ways. Curious to hear if you’ve figured out any solutions or approaches.
Rachel Norman says
Laura, so it’s hard to say. There are benefits to the pacifier and eventually they can put it back in their mouths. Until then you may end up re-inserting frequently. So you’ll basically have to decide do you want to put it back in now and let them find it later on their own and have the benefits of the pacifier or do you want to go ahead and wean now?
I have a 7 week old and majorly struggling with having tk get up many times to put the paci back in her mouth. Did you end up solving this problem? I am at my witts end!
I am having the same issue as the woman above with my 11 week old. We are having to go into her room and put her paci back in her mouth several times a night. Please help!
Hi! Thanks so much for sharing this post! I have 6.5 almost 7 month old twins. One has decided she would rather suck her thumb (another problem for another day!) but the other loves her binky. They’ve both been sleeping through the night since about 13-14 weeks without issues. About a month ago we transitioned from their bassinets to real cribs and ever since then I have to go reinsert the binky several times a night. The first week or so I just went with it because we had made a big change, but at this point I feel like it’s getting worse, not better :/ please help!
Rachel Norman says
LaShay, sounds like it might be time to remove the pacifier and move forward with self-soothing. Are you averse to that?
My almost 12 week old is sleeping 9 hour stretches at night but naps are a struggle as she loves her pacifier and won’t go to sleep without it. She’s swaddled, dark room, white noise and goes to sleep with soother but then wakes after 30-45 min for every nap and only calms if I reinsert it (only for it to repeat 10-30 min later) or allow her to extend her nap on me…should I wean her off the soother? Is she too young to self soothe if I try to gently sleep train her by getting rid of it?
Ideally I would like to offer her the soother at naptime and bedtime and let her CIO if it falls out but maybe that’s too confusing for her? I have such a love-hate for that pacifier!
Rachel Norman says
So we don’t recommend using a paci at nap but not at bed, or vie versa. It’s confusing. So my idea is that you teach her how to resinert the pacifier and put a few in there for her. If she can get it and keep it in her mouth herself that might prevent her from waking up early from nap right?
Hello- my 4mo old is sleeping almost through the night. He can soothe himself during earlier night sleep cycles but cannot get through the 5am transition on his own. I’ve tried cry it out but it doesn’t seem to help at that hour. I end up giving him the pacifier which helps soothe him but we end up playing the pacifier game for the next couple of hours. I know he is still tired because his eyes are closed and whenever I give him the paci he falls asleep, but when it pops out he will wake up and cry. At this point he is reliant but I don’t want to create a bad habit- i want him to soothe on his own. My first found her fingers so I didn’t have this issue. What are your thoughts on how to get through this last sleep stretch? Do I wean, and how? Or cold turkey cut it and cry it out for as long as it takes?
Thank you for your advice!
Hello! I was wondering if you could offer some support. We have a 5 month old baby girl. Lately she has become dependant on the pacifier to sleep. She will cry til she has it. Sometimes 4-5 times will spit it out like a game til finally she will take it and fall asleep. It seemed great until…. after she falls asleep I was moving it away from. And now she wakes up at 1:30am and 5:30am here I am thinking she’s hungry (would only breast feed for 5-10minutes) and then cry in bed til the pacifier was back. Again having to go in and replace it in 4-5 times. I’m exhausted and so over the pacifier thing. So do I try to teach her to place it in her mouth or go cold turkey and have to bare through the crying. Please help. I’m getting so frustrated. I don’t want her to become a thumb sucker. But she only started with the pacifier in her 4th month. And used to self soothe no problem at all!!! Help!!!!
Kelly Cardeano says
Hi! Thanks for this great resource!
Any tips on how we teaxh babies around 6m to reinsert paci on their own?
Rachel Norman says
Yes! You can focus on training them to put their paci in themselves. Don’t ever put it in yourself again (I mean this is the attitude) start handing it to babe, then moving babe’s hand up, etc. until he can do it on his own :)