Today, our question comes from Crysta, and she writes, “Is it better to take the dummy (pacifier) away first, and then try to keep my son in his own bed? Or is it better to get him sleeping in his own bed, and then take the pacifier away?”
I love this question, Crysta. It’s one I get asked often, and it has to do with props. Many children have more than one sleep prop.
If you don’t know what I mean by a prop, I mean anything that your child thinks he needs in order for sleep to come. It could be your child’s dummy, a bottle, rocking, laying down with, you name it.
There’s a bunch, but most babies have more than one. The question I get asked a lot is, “Should I take them away all at once, or should I do one at a time?” Here is the very short and simple answer. Take them all away at once, and here’s my reason why.
Go “Cold turkey”
You’re trying to teach your child how to sleep well, independently. That means no props, no help from you, completely independent.
If you try to do it one at a time, you’ll spend a whole week in agony, and your child will be upset and stressed to get rid of one. That’ll be a week of struggle and then, you’ll move into the next prop. That’s another whole week of struggle, and so on and so on. For some babies, this could be a six week process of taking away props one at a time. It will be hard on you, and it will be really hard on your baby.
Nobody wants that. We don’t want to make this any harder than it has to be. By taking them away all at once, we only have to do one thing. The only thing we have to do is to teach this baby to sleep independently and prop free.
Think Long Term
Yes, there are many things that he has to say goodbye to. I understand that, and that’s not going to be easy because our habits around sleep die very hard, but in this strategy, there’s never anything else we have to take away.
I always tell parents, “Let’s start this program the way we want to see it end. If you want your child in his own room sleeping prop free, then we start in his own room, and we start prop free.”
Thanks a lot for that question. I think it’s a really important one that a lot of people struggle with, and I understand where it comes from, but again, all at once. It will be easier on both of you.