“What do I do? Baby has been crying off and on because she keeps losing her pacifier. I have to keep going in her room to give it to her and the process can last hours into the night…I am so exhausted I can hardly see straight and I am beyond frustrated!”
I see this question get thrown around on facebook quite a bit and I always hesitate to answer because a quick quip is not nearly enough to quell a mother’s real fears.
Here’s what Momma is really saying…
“I know this baby needs to sleep, but I need her to stop crying. I keep thinking the pacifier is going to soothe her, quiet her, and help her sleep but after all I have done, she still hasn’t slept more than an hour straight in the last few days and therefore neither have I. God help me!”
How do I know that is what she is really saying? Because I have been there. Many times.
The truth is, there is nothing wrong with using a pacifier. Some of my babies have loved them, many have never taken to them. Usually by their first birthday I get rid of the binky. Two of mine used their fingers, and those…are a little more tricky to get rid of.
Where things go wrong is when a mom thinks she can stop every cry. Or worse, if Mom thinks that being a good mom means her baby will never cry. Man, that’s just not realistic.
Let me let you in on a little secret.
You can’t stop every cry.
Babies need exercise. They eat, they stare, they poop, they suck on a binky, breast or bottle…and they cry. If baby has been fed, burped, changed, is warm, and it’s naptime (naptime implies you have a routine going…also very important)…then going in and giving her back her binky 57 times is just delaying the inevitable. She is going to cry. If you keep going back in there, she is going to cry, have a terrible nap delayed by you continuing to try and “help” her, and you won’t get any time off your feet either! Stop the insanity!
I know it is hard to think things through when you are emotional, hormonal, and sleep deprived. Add to it the pressure of getting this job “right” and you have a perfect storm brewing. So let me be clear…
Nothing wrong with using a binky, binkies are great. Where it goes wrong is when you find yourself continuously going in and replugging baby’s crying pie-hole (said with all the love a mommy can muster. I know how frustrated you are!). Baby has to learn to self soothe or fall asleep on her own. And yes, you can start this as early as a few weeks old. First few weeks are a blur anyhow. Best thing you can do as a momma at this point is get a routine, teach baby when and how to sleep by sticking to the routine and not continuously restarting her process of learning how to self soothe by giving her back the binky every two minutes.
And realize that babies…just…cry.
You can’t stop every cry, momma. Not at six weeks, six months, six years, or sixteen. I oughta know.