January 14, 2018
PACIFIERS - The Great Debate
By Nancy Hamm
It’s 2 a.m., and you have been up every thirty minutes for the last four hours. You expect to be up every thirty minutes for the rest of the night. You are exhausted. Life looks pretty dim, and your precious bundle of joy is only three weeks old. The baby will sleep fine when sucking on the pacifier but she does not have the control to keep it in her mouth so when it falls out, she wakes up and starts crying. Wait, you can take the baby to bed with you and hold the pacifier in her mouth. It will work, but you will not sleep well knowing she is right beside you. So what is the solution to this exhausting situation?
I am here to give you insight into the pros and cons of pacifiers. Do I use them in my work? Yes! They do a great job to stretch feeding time and soothe a fussy baby. Has a baby I cared for been pacifier dependent? No! Why not? It is a habit that can be easily broken and is not beneficial.
If you choose to offer your baby a pacifier, keep these tips in mind:
Use the pacifier with caution. The following advice is what we call insider’s information. It is so simple but takes a lot of consistency and fortitude.
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The team at NAPS helps you tackle the issue of early wakeups. *BONUS* NAPS is hosting a webinar on February 24th. Register here and use the extra-special code MAGICMERLIN and you can join the webinar FREE of charge!
The sound of cheery calls of “MAAAAMAAAAA” from the next room may be lovely at 7am. At 4am, or 5 am, not so much. Your baby may be up and ready to start the day, but you probably aren’t.
Answering the questions below may help you get there.
This might seem like an obvious question, but your baby’s sleep needs will change fast in the first few years of their lives. A quick look at the average nap number and duration might give you an idea:
Part of the reason you might be seeing earlier wakeups is that your baby has graduated from one nap cycle to the next.
We call this an “awake window,” and it can make a big difference. It might seem strange that your baby went to bed fine the night before, and you’re seeing a response to nap scheduling in the pre-dawn hours, but if your kiddo’s sleep is disrupted at night, it will impact the morning.
Black 0ut curtains can make a big difference here. Remember that our brains signal wakeup when the light changes. So if dawn is at 430am, and even a little bit of light comes into your baby’s room, their little brains will PING with wake up juice.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but a late bedtime can actually backfire on you. Overtired kids don’t sleep as well. If you made their bedtime later and it didn’t fix the problem, try an earlier bedtime and see if that helps. You might be surprised.
Try to make one change at a time; just one. Stick with that change for 3-5 days to see if it impacts things. (One night is usually not enough to see substantial change.) Be as consistent as you can with the change you made. For instance, if you decide to increase the space between bedtime and final nap wakeup, make sure to stick to the wakeup time you planned.
If your baby is waking up and chirping happily to themselves, feel free to leave them there for a little while. Let them get used to being alone in the crib. If you can, try to delay the start of the day by 5-10 minutes each day. This can make a big impact.
Everything else aside, remember that this is a short time in your kid’s life; as they get older, their sleep will become more regular, and so will yours. Don’t let yourself get too discouraged. Things are hard now, and you’re doing a great job.
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