Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pacifier use and sleep

Hi, I have a 6 week old that has gotten very attached to the pacifier already. During the day, she can very rarely go without her pacifier. The pacifier wouldn't be so bad if it actually helped her sleep, but the problem is as soon as the pacifier falls out of her mouth, she wakes up again and never actually sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time if that. Not to mention I am constantly picking up the pacifier for her and reinserting it. The strange thing is she actually sleeps fine without the pacifier at night. It is only during the day that it's a problem. How do I get my baby to nap properly during the day with or without the pacifier?

Dear Bonny:

It is interesting she only wants the pacifier during the day. Is she feeling anxious? I often advise parents to look at their daily routines. Children have NO concept of time until they are about 8 years of age, so they base their sense of the world upon their daily routines. They need consistent structure so they no what to expect and when to expect it. Check to see if your daily routine varies.

Next, let's deal with the nap time issue. Maybe you could implement a daily routine which nurtures her and relaxes her so nap time could be more pleasant for both of you. Have you tried a nap time routine? Read a story, play quietly, then give her a full body massage. Who doesn't sleep well without their pacifier when they have been massaged into sleep?

Best Wishes!
M Kay Keller
Follow Up:

Thanks for the prompt response! I've been trying to follow the concepts from the book On Becoming Babywise. So, I try to implement the feedtime/waketime/naptime routine, but admittedly I've had a hard time with the routine. The baby generally tends to fall asleep after a feed, when she wakes up again, I try to give her the waketime activity and then trying to put her down again for a nap. This doesn't work very often. I also go out with the baby a few times a week. Perhaps that interferes with her routine? Would you recommend not going out so often? One other question: Could the feedings be a problem? In other words, is it possible she's not getting enough milk from me? (I'm breastfeeding). I ask this because for the first time, the baby actually took a 4 hour continuous nap in the afternoon. I'm not sure what made the difference, but I did give her some additional milk right before she fell asleep, and there was essentially no waketime activity between the feeding and naptime. Anyway, sorry for the long follow-up and thanks again for the helpful response!

Dear Bonny:

I have to tell you I don't put much faith into all the latest baby "book suggestions."

If you are breastfeeding on demand there is no way your baby will not get enough. Realize that many of those suggestions are about schedules rather than routines. Feeding routines need to be, in my opinion, about the baby's needs.

I am not pro-pacifier either. I think their thumb is just fine however, you said she was already attached to it. If she is not getting enough this could be why she is more attached during they day. Babies also suck for longer lengths of time than they are actually getting breastmilk. They use mommy for their pacifier. Maybe she needs to be on the breast longer so she can self soothe and spend the time she needs with you. Remember every child is different (why I don't prescribe to those books).

Have you contact LaLeche League? They are such a great source of support and information about breastfed babies and babies in general.

Please feel free to call me if you would like to discuss in person or anonymously.

M Kay Keller
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks very much for your responses. I'm going to try implementing a more consistent routine over the next few days and see if things improve. I may contact you again next week for some follow-up help if necessary. Thanks again for your hep. Much appreciated!
 You are very welcome. Kay
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Comment: Ms. Keller was extremely helpful and responsive. I was comfortable asking her for help even though I wasn't completely sure what I wanted to ask. She was able to come up with helpful suggestions that I can implement.

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