If I had a penny for every time a mom said, “My baby sleeps through the night, but wakes for the pacifier every night/early am/multiple times a night,” I would have a lot of pennies! When will this horrible pacifier cycle stop? The answer IS…when you stop going in putting the pacifier in baby’s mouth, baby will then stop waking up for the pacifier. Easier said then done, right?!
Isn’t the pacifier meant to help soothe your baby?! I thought the pacifier is meant to help your baby sleep better, right?! Instead, this pacifier is driving me nuts and we are both waking up multiple times a night, or waking up way too early before the sun gets up. As part of our bedtime and nap time routine, we give our baby a pacifier to help go to sleep, as a sleep prop/routine. But as we all sit on edge, guessing and waiting in anticipation what time we will wake up to that darn paci falling out. This pacifier is becoming a thorn in my side, but I want her to go back to sleep and I know the pacifier will do just that. But I know, it is going to fall out again!
Sound familiar?! Well, hopefully this gives you insight. Babies sleep in 45 minute sleep cycles, so when your baby hits the 45 min sleep transition mark (we all know this dreadful 45 min intruder at nap time), your baby is in a light sleep, about to transition into the next sleep cycle. Instead of allowing your baby to transition on its own into the next sleep cycle, you rush in and pop that pacifier back in its mouth in fear of not going back to sleep. At that 45 min intruder mark, you baby has not learned to soothe back to sleep on its own yet. Because of this, your baby is depending on that pacifier to go back in during this light sleep state, almost an awake transition zone. So you ask, when will he stop this, the answer is, he won’t until you stop.
This vicious pacifier cycle happens between 2-4 months, give or take until they can find their own pacifier by themselves around 6-9 months, or until you stop going in. So the next question is, how do I stop?
For one, you need to stop going in and saving the awful pacifier spitting out cycle. Just leave your baby to let cry back to sleep and he will figure it out in 3-5 days to go back to sleep. If this is not your cup of tea of crying back to sleep, then you need to wait till the 6-9 month period when baby can figure out how to pop the paci back in its mouth on own (maybe throw 5 paci’s in the crib, for multiple chances), and keep popping it in for your baby till he learns this skill.
Do what is comfortable for you and your family. So either just biting down and suffering 3-5 days of crying back to sleep, or be ok with a few more months of going in and popping the paci back in your baby’s mouth, with no solid sleep and consistent short catnaps.
When you are ready, your goal is for the baby to sleep by itself and not dependent on you to sleep. If anymore questions, please reach out to Eat Play Sleep