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How To Get Baby To Sleep Without Pacifier

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Getting your little one to go to sleep without a pacifier can be quite a challenge. Whether you’re trying to break your baby off their pacifier or have decided to not give your little one a pacifier at all, these tips will help you soothe your baby to sleep at night. 

Try Different Ideas Until You Find Something That Works

Every child is different, and it’s important to remember that. For example, the grandbaby likes to cuddle and will fall right back to sleep when you pat his back.

My youngest does best with a solid bedtime routine and has since she was a baby. Patting her back seems to keep her awake longer.

As you go through this list, remember that one thing, in particular, might not work for your little one. If it doesn’t help them fall asleep, try something else. 

Breaking Your Baby From Their Pacifier

If you’ve given your baby a pacifier until now, the first step is going to be to break the habit of the pacifier. This is going to help you eventually get them to go to sleep without their pacifier. 

Cold Turkey

Going cold turkey is an option, but it’s the hardest one. To do this, you throw away all the pacifiers and don’t look back.

If your little one is not one to suck on a pacifier except went they are going to sleep, this might be an option. If they are extremely attached to their pacifier, things are definitely going to be rough in the beginning.

You’re going to have plenty of sleepless nights and have to deal with quite a few temper tantrums. On the plus side, it’s a quicker process than weaning. Take some time to decide whether this is the right approach for your family. 

Weaning 

Weaning your little one away from their pacifier is a slower approach that involves slowly not giving your little one their pacifier. There are fewer temper tantrums, and it doesn’t instantly mean that you’re going to lose days of sleep.

The primary downside is that it does take longer. If you don’t have that patience or your little one needs to get rid of the binky yesterday, this might not be the best bet. Once again, decide what’s right for you and your little one. 

Sleeping baby with toy

How To Wean Your Baby Off Of A Pacifier

Weaning your little one from a pacifier is similar to weaning a baby off of the bottle. You simply take it away a little bit at a time.

If your baby insists on having their binky all hours of the day, you’re in for a fight. However, you can still make it at least a little bit manageable. 

You want to start simply putting their pacifier away. Don’t give it to them unless they cry for it. Put all of their pacifiers out of reach. The old saying out of sight out of mind is your friend during this battle. 

After that, you want to stop giving them a pacifier during the easiest parts of their day. If your baby is always happy during the morning, but cranky during the late afternoon, get rid of the morning binky first.

This will be easier. Then, slowly work towards the bedtime pacifier. After your little one has gotten to the point that nighttime is the only time they are using a pacifier, it’s time to toss them. 

Once you get rid of the pacifiers, your baby is not going to instantly begin to sleep without one. Instead, they’ll be rather upset.

You’ll need to use the following tips to help your baby fall asleep without a pacifier until they are adjusted. Most of these tips will help promote a restful night’s sleep well after they have adjusted to not using a pacifier. 

Promote Perfect Sleep With The Ideal Environment

Helping your baby fall asleep without a pacifier is going to be a lot easier if you already have the perfect sleep environment set up for them.

This means that your little ones will require less soothing, and they will cry less for a pacifier.

For example, if your baby is too hot, they might cry for a pacifier to soothe them because they are uncomfortable. However, if your baby is comfortable, they won’t need something to soothe them because they are uncomfortable. 

The Temperature Should Be Not Too Warm, And Not Too Cold

Cute little baby boy with pacifier

The perfect temperature for a baby to sleep at is approximately 67 degrees. Some little ones might prefer a few degrees cooler or warmer.

You’ll also need to keep in mind how your baby is dressed for bed. If they are wearing flannel footed pajamas, they might want it a few degrees cooler so that they don’t get too hot.

Watch your baby for cues that they are too hot or too cold to double-check if the temperature is right for them. 

Soft Lighting

Pick up a night light so that you can see in the nursery, but so that your baby can also fall asleep.

If you have a dimmer in the room, make sure that the lights are turned down low. If not, turn them off and pick up a night light. A lamp with a dimmer is another great option if you need soft lighting in your nursery. 

Make Sure They Like Their Bed

Although babies cannot communicate with us beyond crying, they do have preferences. If your little one doesn’t sleep well in their bassinet and you already have a crib, try putting them in their crib for a night or two.

The grandson slept wonderfully in his co-sleeper. He did not sleep and would not fall asleep in his bassinet. It was given away almost brand new. He never slept through the night in it. 

Implement A Bedtime Routine

Babies and children thrive when they have consistency and stability. One of the ways that we, as parents, give them this is by establishing routines. This helps children fall asleep better at night, too.

Getting a bedtime routine started is as easy as deciding on a time to start (usually an hour before bed), and then doing the same thing every night. Common things parents might include in a bedtime routine that you might want to consider include: 

  • Bath time
  • Story time
  • Cuddling
  • Singing
  • Rocking
  • A baby massage

Baby massage. Mother massaging infant belly, kid laughing

Anything that you and your baby find relaxing can, and probably should, be incorporated into your little one’s bedtime routine. This will help them be more relaxed at bedtime. Then, they will fall asleep easier. 

Utilize Soothing Techniques As Necessary

Your baby will not instantly be able to soothe themselves to sleep the first night without a pacifier. In fact, it might take quite some time. Even if you implement a bedtime routine, your baby might need some extra help falling asleep in the beginning. 

Instead of letting your baby cry it out, soothe them as necessary. Rock them or sing to them until they are almost asleep. Then, lay them back down again.

Remember, you should lay your baby down when they are awake but drowsy to encourage them to fall asleep on their own. Some ideas to try with your baby include: 

  • Rocking
  • Singing
  • Cuddling
  • Patting them on the back
  • Rubbing their back
  • A baby massage
  • Rubbing their head
  • Playing with their hair

Anything that your baby finds soothing will help them relax. However, it’s important to note that you don’t want to rub their back until they fall asleep.

If you keep doing this, your baby will simply replace the pacifier with you rubbing their back. Then, you’ll have to break them of it all over again. Instead, soothe them. Then, lay them back down again. 

Extra Tips To Help Your Baby Sleep At Night

Most babies will adjust to sleeping without a pacifier eventually. However, if your little one is taking a bit longer, using some of these tips can help your baby fall asleep. 

Give Them A Comfort Object

Some little ones sleep better when they have something else. Some babies will enjoy cuddling with a blanket. Others might like a stuffed animal.

A teething toy will give them something to chew on, which can give your baby something else to suck and chew on while they fall asleep. 

White Noise

White noise is a great way to help babies fall asleep. They do sell white noise machines on Amazon that are quiet, yet provide just enough noise to promote sleep.

If you don’t want to buy one, you can put a fan in your baby’s nursery too. Just make sure they don’t get too cold!

Make Sure They’re Cozy

We can’t sleep when we’re uncomfortable, and babies are the same way. Double-check to make sure that they are wearing comfortable pajamas.

Swaddle younger babies to make them feel secure. Give older babies a blanket if they are old enough that it is safe. 

Put Your Baby To Bed At The Same Time Every Night

When your little one is on a schedule, they’ll know what time they should be asleep. This means that they will know it is time for them to sleep when you lay them down at night.

It won’t instantly make them adjust to going to bed without a pacifier, but it will help. Over time, you’ll notice that you don’t hear a peep out of them when you lay them down at night. 

Things To Avoid When Trying To Get Your Little One To Sleep

While there are plenty of great ideas to help babies fall asleep without their binky, there are quite a few things that you’ll need to avoid.

Some of them are going to haunt you later when you have to break your baby of them. Others can be downright dangerous. Watch what you do, and don’t do, when trying to help your little one and yourself enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep. 

Herbal Tea

There are a lot of great herbal teas on the market that can help your little one relax. Sleepytime tea has become a bit famous for helping little ones drift off to sleep.

However, it’s not recommended that you use herbal tea for a child under the age of five years old. 

Essential Oils

Essential oils, even when placed in a diffuser, are not safe for a baby. These can cause too much of an effect in babies. It’s hard to know how much is too much, so it’s best to avoid them while your child is young. Instead, follow the same five years old rule. 

Giving Them Back Their Pacifier

It can be tempting to give them back their pacifier. You might justify it by thinking that they can suck on it to fall asleep, but you’ll take it after they are sound asleep.

However, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and you need to stick to your guns. Don’t give them back their pacifier. 

Bottles Or Cups

Giving your little one a bottle or cup of milk is going to help them sleep. There’s no doubt about that. The sucking motion is similar to that of a pacifier, so your little one won’t mind it not being there.

However, this is starting another habit you will have to break them off. In addition to that, if your little one goes to sleep with a bottle or cup it can lead to baby bottle tooth decay. Avoid the situation altogether by never starting this habit. 

In Conclusion

Getting rid of the pacifier was easy with my oldest daughter, but only because she replaced it with her thumb. The middle child never seemed to care for one, though.

The littlest one was the worst because she had it the longest. I tried all of these methods with her until I found what worked. I used a bedtime routine for a week straight before moving on to something else if that didn’t work.

It was a lot of work, but now, five years later, we’re still using the same routine and she uses the same methods to go to sleep. Bedtime is never a problem and hasn’t been for years. That alone makes it well worth the extra work in the beginning. 

My name is Amber Dixon. I am a mother to three wonderful children, and recently welcomed a beautiful grandson into the world as well as into my home. I've learned a great deal about raising children through my own experiences as a mother, but also from several other places. While working at a daycare full time, I learned about childhood development, teaching children, and more. Through earning degrees in Social Work, I was educated about human development, including a great deal about children and childhood development. My education and experience combined have taught me a lot about children of every stage and age, and I hope that I can help you on your journey to becoming the best parent that you can be!