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Do you love or hate soothers?

Updated: Dec 5, 2022



Can we talk about soothers for a moment?


I have a love/hate relationship with them!


There are times when a soother is a lifesaver and times when it's the problem "It's me, Hi, I'm the problem it's me" {You've heard the new Taylor Swift song, right?}


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Here’s my take on using a pacifier for the following ages:



Great for newborns!


  • Soothers can really help a newborn calm down and sleep.

  • It can help extend their short nap or nighttime sleep.

  • It can help reduce screaming in the car (Does anyone else have PTSD from a newborn crying on a road trip?)

  • Awesome for plane rides.

  • And great for when someone else is needing to help settle the baby.


Love soothers for newborns!



Can be okay for 4-6 month-olds if they're sleeping okay!


Hmm, if their sleep is okay, and they use a soother, then don't fix what's not broken.


BUT.


If their sleep sucks, and you're having to replace a soother multiple times a night, then it's what I call 'a band-aid'.


It stops the crying at the moment, but the flip side is if you're having to get up multiple times.



6-12-month-olds- same as the previous age group!


The same thing as the previous age group, if they're sleeping okay, as in sleeping for 11-12 hours at night, and maybe only having one night feed, and bedtime is smooth, then I'd say just leave it.


But, if bedtime is difficult, they're up all night long, and you're playing hide-n-go seek with soothers, then it's time to pull it!



Toddler- if teeth/palate/speech or there are behaviour issues, it's time to pull it!


Dentists start to worry about soother usage after age 2 but there are a few other considerations!


1) Is your child's palate being deformed due to soother usage?

2) Is their speech being impaired due to walking around with a soother in their mouth?

3) Are their teeth coming in at an odd angle?


P.s. My mom is a dentist so growing up we had extensive dinner-time discussions about all sorts of dental-type topics!


4) It is becoming a point of contention and you feel like you're being held hostage because of the soother?



If you have a toddler who has a soother, and you're worried about getting rid of it, try this strategy!


  • Collect ALL the soother! Check the car, crib, toy box, etc.

  • Cut one of the soothers and show it to your child and say 'it's broken!'

  • Then take photos/videos of them putting it in the garbage (to show them later on as a reminder!)

  • Replace with another comfort item such as a special teddy bear etc.


"Okay, Melody, so it seems as though, based on what you're saying, I need to pull the soother, but how??"


Great question;)


If you're willing to commit to 3 days of this, you'll very likely see great improvement in your baby's sleep and will want to keep going.


But if you're not willing yet to commit to 3 days, then wait til you're ready.


So here's what you do:


Bedtime routine goes like this: Bath, diaper, feed, PJs, books, sleepsack, and to bed awake!


Choose to either stay in the room with them and offer verbal reassurance and/or touch comfort, or you can leave the room and do brief check-ins every 10 mins or so.


Hold on tight!


Wait for your baby to fall asleep, believe in them!


Repeat the same strategy at night when you know it's not time for a feed.



Phew. Can you do it?



Give it a go and let me know what happens!




Here for you,


Melody Patton


























P.s. I'm going to be hosting a virtual sleep talk in the next couple of weeks for ages 4-18 months! Watch for more details and make sure to tell a friend! The cost will be under $50!


Can't wait to see you there!


Related blog posts:

20 Minutes of Crying Before Bedtime

Late Nap or Early Bedtime?

What Toddler Parents want to Know

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