Ready to Sleep Better?
Podcast Episode Transcripts:
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Welcome to the kids sleep show, where we help tired parents from around the world to get their children to fall asleep independently, sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for life. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. Now let’s sleep together. Hello tired parents. It is Courtney Zentz here, and I am coming to you today with some tips on getting rid of the pacifier, when to do it, how to do it. And really what makes the most sense. So, when we talk about the pacifier, I know that there are some babies that just will never ever want it. Never look for it will spit it out. And for those children, a lot of times my clients will apologize. Well, I’m sorry, they don’t take a pacifier. That’s a beautiful thing. That means they’re going to find some other way to self settle the pacifier is not for everyone. And it’s not always a slam dunk. Like many people think around sleep, right, the foundation of sleep is that it’s a skill set. And you can learn many different ways to sleep and settle independently without that use of the pacifier. But chances are, if you’re listening to this particular episode, you have a little one who is using a pacifier. And you may think you know what, it’s now time to get rid of it. Because we’ve hit a certain age, we’ve created a certain habit, or, you know, they’re going off to kindergarten, and that thing is no longer a welcome piece of their daily ensemble, if you will. So let’s talk about the different ages, when you are ready to get rid of that pacifier, what its gonna look like based on the age that you’re in. So for newborns and infants that are under the age of one, I think a pacifier is beautiful. If they take it, there is no problem with pacifiers. I work with clients that, you know, we work together in the private coaching capacity, and I let them keep a pacifier in some sleep consultants do not they will say No thanks, it has to go. The one reason i say it has to go is if the parents are the prop to put it in, right, so I don’t have a problem with a pacifier. But if you’re going to continue to use it, it can’t be the mechanism that your child requires to go to sleep where you’re involved, right, you have to either teach your baby to get the pacifier on their own and put it in, suck on their fingers, or get rid of it, frankly. So if you are going into your kid’s room, 55 times a night just to put the pacifier back in, you’re the problem, you know, you’re enabling the problem as nicely as I can say that, because it’s a prop, it’s insert the word to sleep, right? It’s a mechanism to sleep that has to go because that’s where those bad habits start. So for the first year of life, you can keep a pacifier, you know, the first two years of life that you know, if it’s working for you, and they’re able to put it in themselves, and it finds them comfort, it’s not doing any harm. You know, sometimes parents do wish to get rid of it, because it is asleep prop. And so there’s kind of two ways in the fact that your child may be under the age of one. And you’re thinking like, okay, I’ve created a monster, I just need to get rid of the pacifier. How do I do that. And the first way is actually, by taking a pin and popping a pin hole into the top of the pacifier. So all of a sudden baby’s going to look at that and go, there isn’t, there isn’t something right about this, but it kind of looks the same. So they essentially, you know, lose interest in using it. And sometimes we’ll kind of gravitate toward using their fingers. The other way is to simply remove it from the equation. People are very scared to get rid of the pacifier because they think it’s going to be months and months and months of crying and tears and protests and upset. And I’m here to tell you that maybe at worst, it’s going to be a weekend, right? Like,
many of my clients are like, man, why didn’t I do this so long ago, I kind of kept this pacifier in thinking it was this like major crutch major prop that they would never sleep without it. And it really only took one night to get rid of it. And that’s frankly, how you do it, you just take it. And it does take, you know, kind of that initial bedtime for them to recognize one frankly, that they’re pissed off that they don’t have it, that they want it and that, you know, they’re gonna freak out until you bring it to them. But just like anything, once they recognize that there’s actually alternative ways that they can fall asleep and that they don’t actually need the pacifier, but that they want it. That’s when you know, the magic happens, where they go, Okay, I can just use my thumb. Or actually, I can just fall asleep by taking deep breaths, like I don’t need something in my mouth, right? So sometimes it’s more that your child actually doesn’t know they possess the capability to sleep without it until you show them and then after a night, I’ll even say maybe two nights, but typically it’s only one. They don’t ever remember they used a pacifier. So if you You’ve been holding on to that pacifier for dear life, because you’re afraid of the outcome, I can tell you stop waking 75 times a night, fix it over the course of the next couple days, and then just move on from it, because it’s going to hold you back more than it’s going to help you in that regard, especially for a little one. Now, as you grow in age, you’ve got a lot of children that go into it becoming a habit, meaning they wake up in the morning, and they pop it in themselves. And they walk downstairs and say, Good morning, right? When you get to that particular age, with the use of a pacifier, it’s sort of become the security blanket for a toddler, right? It’s something that they can go to and use as a coping mechanism. It’s a habit that they’ve built, it’s a comfort, frankly, just like a lovey, or a head rub at bedtime, right? It’s just something that they prefer, as the mechanism to kind of chill to go to sleep. And so you know, when you’re talking about getting rid of it, at this age, it’s more of a behavior based adjustment, frankly, than, quote, sleep training, or, you know, habit breaking, it’s a behavior that you have to shift or adjust, right. So you first have to set the expectation that it’s about to go away, right, I don’t think kids like to be thrown into, you know, something unexpected, they very much like consistency, which is why I talk a lot about the bedtime routine and making sure that your sleep schedule, and your routine is clear and consistent. Because kids don’t like the unknown, right, they like to know that the bath is coming, which then means my pajamas are coming, which then means the book is coming, which then means sleep is coming right. The pacifier is kind of a part of that routine lay down, put pacifier and go to bed, whether you’re you know, 10 months old, or, you know, six years old, like that’s the process that you’re going to go through right now. When you have the pacifier as a part of that, it is obviously that habit that you have to break but through behavior based adjustment, so letting your little one know, because they can cognitively understand that even as early as two years of age, like tonight is the last night you’re going to use the pacifier, and then it’s gonna go with the Binky fairy, it’s gonna go away. Like I’ve had parents mail it to other kids who need pacifiers, you know, and there’s a couple kind of ways I do it, which I’ll explain where I see good success. I mean, I think first and foremost is that when they wake up in the morning, it’s gone. Right? The pacifier has gone from every place that it’s hiding every orifice, etc. There’s no pacifier. Right? So getting it out of the visual, because if they find one, you know, a couple weeks later in the car, they’re going to pop that thing in their mouth. So just making sure that you get rid of it from the visual, and then you let them know look, enjoy your pacifier. Tonight. Tomorrow, the Binky fairy is coming, right? So you’re giving them a heads up that tonight’s the last night. And maybe they don’t fully internalize that at this point, what’s going to happen is the next night, you have to set the boundary. But then you have to stick to the boundary. For some reason with our toddlers, parents have a hard time setting a boundary and sticking to it. And then consequently, that particular reaction, right. So with the pacifier, you’re going to set that boundary and then you’re going to have the expectation. What I do have some clients do is try the pinhole, frankly, because then a toddler, they’re going to be able to notice that it looks exactly the same. But frankly, the result is going to be different. They’re going to suck air. And your responses, honey, I don’t know. It looks exactly the same. I’m not sure maybe you’re growing out of it. Right, like, so you sort of brush it off as though like I didn’t do anything to it. I’m not quite sure. I think maybe you’re just a little too big for it. Now, why don’t we try something else? Like here’s your lovey, or you can sleep with your bear. Right? Try your thumb if you’re really into sucking on something. Okay. The next is, you know, sometimes I’ve had clients that have a better success through rewards, right? And so I’ll tell a client, I’m like, just go to the local store and grab a small treat, but that’s something that they’ll like, right? So if they’re into Matchbox cars, you can go buy one for $1 you know if they’re into, like, my son right now is into Pokemon cards. So it’s like go buy one pack of Pokemon cards for five bucks, put them in a little box, right? And you wrap the gift, and then you put a note on it that says here is a present from the Binky fairy. If you give up your Binky, you get the present right now they don’t get both. The present is basically in their room, whether they’re in a crib or toddler bed or what have you. And it’s under the sheets right so that they can’t see it. They get ready for bed. You go through the normal routine. And when you put them in the bed, there’s a little act of surprise. Oh, you got something from the Binky fairy? What does it say? right and then you go through and read the card, and then you let the child choose right. This is about empowerment. Honey, would you prefer your pacifier? Do you want the present? You know, some kids frankly initially will say no, I want the pacifier. And when you take that present out and you start to walk out of the room, they Very quickly changed their tune. Now what you have to do as a parent is go, Okay, so when I give them the present, I take the pacifier, shove that pacifier down your pants so fast that it is hidden from the world. Because what you have to make happen is basically that they chose the present, the pacifier is gone, and it’s gone. You can’t waver with sometimes it works beautifully. Like they get the president they’re a big kid, because it is a habit right? Like this, they don’t need it, they just want it right. So sometimes that present is enough where they don’t backtrack at all right? You’re gonna have some kids that are frankly, like, I got the present. Now give me the pacifier Dude, you know, and as a parent, you can’t, you have to set the boundary, you can’t like fluctuate in, you know, giving it back to them, because then it just shows that the boundaries bendable, right, so I’ve had a lot of success with clients approaching it in that capacity, because you’re empowering the child to make the choice to get rid of the pacifier. And in doing so they get the reward, but then the pacifier is gone. Right. So they made the choice not you dictating, I’m taking it, it’s more that they chose to take it and if they don’t take it the first night you try again the next night, right? Eventually, that President is going to cause enough question as to like, what’s in that box, and again, make it something that’s kind of, you know, I don’t wanna say like, important to them, but like, if your kid does not like Matchbox cars, and you put a matchbox car in there, they’re gonna be like, thanks, I guess, right, like, so. It’s, it’s one of those were, you know, my daughter likes Barbies. Okay, I’ll wrap up, uh, you know, get a little Barbie, right? Like, you have to use what your kids are into. To make it obviously something that is going to be an easy transition, when they open it, sometimes it’s the replacement with like a new lovey, right, it gives them something new that still safe after the age of one to have in the sleep space. And that they can enjoy, you know, as a new attachment, if you will, versus the pacifier, which had likely become just an attachment thing, versus obviously a need to suck at that point. Right. So those are a few ways in which the pacifier and the removal of the pacifier can be done. Again, like pacifiers are totally fine. If they’re not a mechanism that is requiring you to intervene, right. And at the age where they’re starting to cause dental damage, it’s probably the age that you need to get rid of it. Right? Like, I don’t want to see anybody getting off the school bus with a pacifier going into kindergarten. So you know, there’s kind of that balance, like, there’s no right or wrong time. In my experience, I have older kids that work with me younger kids that work with me. And sometimes I just have to tell the clients to like grin and bear it and we’re getting rid of it. Because, you know, again, you go in and 100 times a night isn’t good for you or them, right. Everything I do and working with children working with families to build healthy sleep habits is around consolidated restorative independent sleep, because you know what, the science shows that it is important 90% of a child’s neurons are fused before the age of five, right? So if their sleeps terrible for a couple of years, like that has a longer term impacts than like two nights of them pissed off, you got rid of the pacifier. Right. So especially if they’re still requiring you to go in 100 times and put it in. So with the pacifier. I have also heard, you know, and seeing different blogs and posts about cutting the top off and stuff, frankly, that would piss me off as a kid. Because you’re sucking
on something that’s visibly, like distorted, right, like so again, I know that the some kids that works for them, where you cut, you know, a shave of a millimeter or two off each night. For many kids, I find it just it leads to immediate escalation, whereas the pinhole does the same thing. But the kids can’t figure out what’s wrong with it, right? Because they don’t see it, but it doesn’t allow the suction. So I find that that’s a better approach. I mean, everybody’s going to have the way that works best for them and their family. But I just wanted to come on today and chat with you a little bit more about it. Because pacifiers can be such an issue as you’re trying to build those healthy sleep habits in any age child and I wanted to do know, there’s options, there’s a bunch of different ways that you can do it. And ultimately, once you make the decision to move forward without that pacifier, just stick to it. Give it a couple days and I promise you’ll be in great shape. And if not, if you’re still struggling know that every single week out in my private Facebook group, I host weekly trainings weekly Q and A’s I’m live you know really trying to uniquely answer your questions in real time. So be sure to join us out there as well. And the name of that group is slumber Made Simple. So you can join us join me and my team and we are out there just creating loads of good info in a way that no one else’s. So I would welcome you to join on that particular journey but I hope everyone has a beautiful rest of the day. Stay healthy. Stay well, until next week. Hold on one more thing before you go. Value listener of the kids sleep show. I want to help you build a great sleeper not just in the times you’re listening to the show, but all day every day. Every week of the year. I have a new Facebook group called slumber Made Simple. It’s a place to gather with other parents looking for sleep support, laughs and the latest in sleep research, to build a family that is rested and at their best day in and day out. If you want to be part of the community where you can get free sleep support, weekly training sessions, unbelievable content and so much more. Head on over to tiny transitions.com forward slash community that’s tiny transitions.com forward slash community or head over to Facebook and search slumber Made Simple. drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.