Please watch my baby sleep video on what to do if teething is waking your baby at night.
To ask a question about your child’s sleep, just leave it in the ‘Comments’ section below! I’ll choose one and create a new video answer each week!View the Video Transcript
Hi! I’m Dana Obleman, creator of The Sleep Sense Program. If you’d rather read than watch, I’ve transcribed the text of this video below.
This week, a very popular question, asked by Laura:
“My seven month old daughter Rose falls asleep in the evening pretty well after her bath and bottle, but each night she wakes up every 30 to 40 minutes crying for her pacifier. She calms down for a moment and goes back to sleep… but 20 minutes later she is awake again! She has a cold and a stuffy nose and one other thing that seems to have started is teething. Could that be the problem? What do you suggest for this baby who wakes up every half hour all night? Thank you.”
First of all, really take look at if you are making excuses. Teething will come and go. Teething comes and goes until a child is two so if you think the waking is always because of teething you could be waiting two years before you are finally getting a good night sleep. So, first try not to make excuses. During a cold, yes, a child is going to wakeup a little more often but I get the feeling that it is not just been since she has had a cold, that she has been waking up. Now the main thing is to look at is bedtime. It sounds like you have a nice routine; she has it bath, gets her bottle and then I am guessing she goes to sleep with the pacifier in her mouth.
What happens then if you think of sleep as a journey? Here, you are awake and then you are here, asleep and how do you get yourself to sleep each night? You do it the same way just about every night and if your baby still has sleep problems, you’re usually using a little tool that gets them to sleep. You put pacifier in her mouth and she sucks until she falls asleep and usually it falls out. Some people say it falls out the minute she is asleep but that does not make it any easier. It is still the “getting to sleep part” that is the problem. When she wakes (and 40 minutes is basically one sleep cycle for babies) it sounds to me like often she just does one cycle comes to a light part of her cycle which should just be a little flit. For most there is a tiny little flickering of the eyelids and then they go back into another cycle without becoming a full wake up. For babies who fall asleep with pacifiers, it’s “Where is my soother?” It’s not in her mouth so you come in and give her the pacifier to suck and back to sleep she goes until 40 minutes later.
Even if you get a few hours of sleep out of it, it is still not good. I have had clients who say “Well, she sleeps all night even with the soother.” My concern then is that what should just be a little flickering of the eyelids becomes a wakeup and even if she can reach around and find the pacifier herself and get it back into her mouth, it is still a wakeup. It’s still fragmenting her sleep. So really, it is not good for her in the long run anyway.
Starting at bedtime keep your routine the same and make sure she has a bath and she has a bottle every night. Don’t let her get too sleepy on the bottle because sucking on a bottle and sucking on a soother are very similar. Do not let her fall asleep at the bottle. Have a little story maybe, after bottle and then into the crib without the pacifier. It is going to take her time to get used to the idea sleeping without a pacifier. Once she has mastered the skill of getting herself to sleep and independently she will internalize that skill. Maybe it will involve cuddling her toy or sucking on her finger or just turning to a favorite position, but it will become her own strategy instead of relying on that little tool that she is using to get herself to sleep. She will become a great sleeper. She will be sleeping right through the night because there will be no reason to wake up and cry. All her skills will be on her own.
To everybody out there with a pacifier, I am sorry to say it but it really can cause a problem when a child is waking up often just to find the soother.
So thanks for question, Laura. Sleep well!
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