Can you use a pacifier with Ferber method

There are a lot of sleep training methods parents can opt for but the Ferber method has gained significant popularity among parents who seek a structured pattern for sleep training their children.

Ferber method gradually teaches a child to self-soothe himself if he wakes up at night without the intervention of parental support. However, when the parents go through the journey of sleep training, many questions arise in their minds and one of them is “Can my child use the pacifier with the Ferber method”? 

In this blog, I am going to share some information related to the use of pacifiers during the Ferber method so that you can make an informed decision about pacifier use during the sleep training of your child using the Ferber method.

Can you use a pacifier with the Ferber method:

“The use of a pacifier during sleep training using the Ferber method totally depends on the child’s need and the parent’s preference. As there is no rule of thumb, some parents use the pacifier. But it’s better to wean it off before the sleep training as using it contradicts the sole purpose of the Ferber method i.e. self-soothing without any external support.”

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When is the best time to wean the pacifier if I have decided to sleep-train my child with the Ferber method: 

Since it is best to wean off the pacifier before the training, but other two options can also be considered.

1- Before starting the Ferber method:

If you read the Ferber method it says a child has to learn how to self-soothe himself without any external support. So the best option is that the parents should wean off the pacifier before the sleep training starts.

Children who wean off the pacifier before sleep training learn better to self-soothe themselves as “no pacifier use” eliminates any potential dependency during the sleep training.

2- After done with the sleep training:

If your child is comfortable with the pacifier and depends a lot on it then it is totally up to you. You can wean off the pacifier after finishing the sleep training.

Once he has been transitioned into one settlement, you can gradually take the dependency he has on the pacifier.

But keep in mind that you have trained your child along with the pacifier so it will take a lot more time and struggle to wean it off as your child might have associated self-soothing with it up till now.

3- Do the weaning simultaneously:

You can also wean the pacifier gradually while you are implementing the Ferber method. However, keep in mind that too many changes at once might increase stress and crankiness in the child.

However, I do not suggest following the simultaneous approach. The baby may become more cranky and fussy.

What if the pacifier falls out while using the Ferber method:

Generally from about 8 months of age, most babies learn how to put back the pacifier in their mouth if it falls out.

So if you are sleep training a child who is 8 months or above, chances are there that the child will put back the pacifier in his mouth if it comes out of his mouth during sleep. 

However, babies under this age cannot pick the pacifier back, so for them, there are some points that you need to follow when using the Ferber method.

1- Let the baby self-soothe himself if the pacifier falls out.

2- Wait and observe before storming into the room to put the pacifier in your mouth.

3- Strictly follow the Ferber method intervals no matter what. (except for when that baby is hungry or needs you immediately)

4- If the baby gets out of control and does not stop crying then after the prescribed minutes in that interval, go into the room and try to put him back to sleep. But if the child does not settle down without the pacifier then give it to the child. (if you don’t plan to wean off the pacifier during sleep training). 

Conclusion:

In my opinion, you should wean the child off the pacifier first and then sleep-train him. By doing this, the child would be able to self-soothe himself without any external assistance. 

Also, if your baby is under one year of age, the problem of the pacifier falling does not happen. There are chances that you need to sleep train the child again if you wean off the pacifier after the sleep training.

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