Yep (even when baby can put it back in on his own)
Many parents, even those who are well-Googled on the issue of sleep props, express to me that they feel a pacifier (or “soother”) is not a sleep prop. Why? Because their baby is old enough to have mastered replacing the soother when he wakes and notices it’s fallen out.
So, why do I still consider a pacifier a sleep prop, even when baby can pop it back in on his own? Because a soother still keeps your little one from learning how to fall asleep independently. And, very commonly, I see parents run into problems with soothers at some point, even when the soother has “worked” for quite some time.
The scenario: It’s 2 a.m., and baby wakes. You sleepily glance at the video monitor and notice him looking around for his pacifier, but are not concerned as he always finds it and heads back to dreamland within a minute or two. But then, a few minutes pass. Baby is getting frustrated and upset. Finally the pacifier is found but… wait… why isn’t he putting it back in? Why is he now standing up and yelling? This is not what 2 a.m. looks like in our house!
Often, at some point, the pacifier is not enough. Whether your little one is thrown off by a new sleep environment, teething, or going through a certain milestone, there is usually a point at which a lack of independent sleep skills will cause a big sticking point in your soother-dependent baby’s ability to sleep well through the night. In these situations, a baby who knows how to go both to sleep and back to sleep on his own will generally do so with ease.
Help your baby master independent sleep skills by removing sleep props. Yes, this is easier said than done. But the result is a baby who – even through teething, milestones, and overnight stays at Grandma’s – can go to sleep and back to sleep on his own, without even thinking twice about the pacifier.