How to wean a baby gently from a pacifier- tips for getting your LO to sleep through the night again

One of the top questions I get as a sleep coach is about pacifier and how to wean a baby from one.  My rule surrounding pacifiers is "for soothing, not for sleeping"- pacifiers can be a great source of alternative soothing (aside from bottle/breast) or calming before going down at night or for naps, however if you're currently giving it to your child for sleeping and find yourself getting up 1-20 times a night to replace it or they simply can't sleep without one, it's literally time to pull the plug.  

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A pacifier is then referred to in the sleep world as a "crutch"- something your child physically needs to fall asleep (or back asleep in the middle of the night.) Here are some questions you may have:

"My infant is currently using a binky for sleep and in the carseat.  What is the best age to begin weaning her off of it?" 

"HELP! My 12 month old is up every 3 hours at night and immediately stops crying once I give him the pacifier back, how can I get rid of the pacifier all together??"

Around 6 months of age is a great time to begin phasing out the binky (if you're ready!) by limiting it to naps & nighttime sleep only (or limiting to the crib, even better), then reduce it to naps only, and so.  Another GREAT tool for younger babies is the term coined by Elizabeth Pantley (No-Cry Sleep Solutions) called the "Pantley Pull off".  The Pantley pull off essentially refers to gently releasing your breast (or pacifier in this situation) from your child's mouth right when you notice them becoming increasing drowsy as you soothe them before sleep.  Repeat this process until they no longer are searching for it and lay them down in their crib.  For older babies, try not to immediately offer the pacifier but offering additional ways of soothing such as a quiet song, shushing, rubbing their backs, etc, and brace yourself for 2-3 long nights where you can catch a quick nap the following day if necessary.

 I hope you found this post helpful if you're fallen into the pacifier trap.  If you have a really willful babe, contact me and we can discuss a multitude of other methods for pacifier & night weaning!

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