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My toddler keeps throwing her pacifier out of the crib at bedtime and then screaming for it. What should I do?

By BabySleepAdmin 10 months ago

Dr. Jodi Mindell

My toddler keeps throwing her pacifier out of the crib at bedtime and then screaming for it. What should I do?

Little ones quickly learn that their actions result in certain reactions from those around them. If they throw their pacifier out of the crib at bedtime or naptime and cry or yell for it, parents will typically go get it for them. It can quickly become a game, with parents constantly going in and out returning their child’s pacifier.

There are several ways to handle the situation. The easiest way is to simply put several pacifiers in one corner of your child’s crib. You can read more about that method here. This way there is always a spare pacifier nearby when one gets tossed or lost. Another choice is to wait until your child is asleep and then return the pacifier. Most parents though have a hard time with never going in and returning the pacifier to their child, as they know their toddler may have a very difficult time falling asleep without it. A better choice is to go with a middle-ground approach. Give your child the benefit of the doubt the first time, but also help her understand the consequences if she keeps doing the same thing. In other words, retrieve your child’s pacifier right away the first time that it gets tossed, but let her know if she throws it again, you won’t get it. If she does throw it again, return it to the crib once she is asleep. She will soon learn that if she throws her pacifier more than once at bedtime or naptime she will have to wait for it.

Note that if you decide to use a pacifier clip for your toddler, be sure that the string attachment or tether part is short enough to ensure that there is no risk of strangulation.

About Dr. Jodi Mindell

  Sleep Environment, Sleep Problems, Sleep Training