It’s amazing how something can be the biggest lifesaver one day and can turn into the bane of your existence the next day.
Pacifiers are wonderful for younger babies because they help protect against SIDS and because they help them relax and soothe themselves. Most babies have a need to suck- instead of Mom becoming a human pacifier, the paci can do the trick and meet this need.
Pacifiers can become problematic when a baby gets older if the baby heavily relies on the pacifier to fall asleep. Most babies under the age of 8-10 months don’t have the fine motor skills to replace the pacifier on their own, so they’ll need you to do it for them. This is what I call “the paci dance”.
When is it time to ditch the pacifier? The answer to this question will likely be based on what the paci dance entails for you. Some parents are only getting up once or twice to put it back in the baby’s mouth, so they choose to keep it and wait for the glorious day to come when the baby can replace it on her own.
Other parents are waking countless times a night to replace that darn thing, making them want to burn every pacifier within a 500km radius. If this sounds like you, it’s probably time to ditch the pacifier and teach your little one to fall asleep at nighttime without it! No one is getting the consolidated sleep they need (including your baby).
HOW do you get rid of the pacifier if you fall into this category? I’ll be honest- for babies, taking it away cold turkey is really best. I’ve worked with lots of families where their baby’s paci addiction went out of control, and taking away the paci is usually not as bad as you think! This process will probably involve some sleep coaching as the baby needs to re-learn how to fall asleep, but remaining 100% consistent is essential if you want to be successful.