Q&A: Binky down!

Cheryl writes:

"My 11 month old is usually a pretty good sleeper. Two naps a day andsleeps through the night ok. If she woke up during the night, we could often get her back to sleep by just popping her favorite binky back into her mouth. Unfortunately, it seems Gerber has discontinued that particular kind of binky and we were never able to find one just like it to replace it, and no other kind, no matter how similar, was acceptable to her. Well, a week ago her last binky tore and we had to throw it away. We've kind of been in sleep hell every since.

She now goes to sleep alright, but wakes up screaming after about an hour. We can't seem to soothe her in her crib by patting her or anything, so we bring her downstairs and rock her back to sleep. That's all well and good, but when we try and put her back in her crib she cries. So it takes us forever to get her to sleep and stay down for the night. Last night it was 2 AM before she finally was in sleep deep enough to go back in her crib without crying.

Her naps are ok, but at night it seems to me like she really misses her binky. I feel like she's not ready to give it up, but we don't really have much choice since we can't find a replacement and she won't take any other kind.

Any ideas?"

The worst thing is that there's probably someone out there with an unused pack of those pacifiers languishing in the back of a closet...

I think there are a couple of options here. The first, and what you may end up defaulting to if the others don't work, is just to suck it up (you, not her, poor little thing) and do your best to comfort her and tough it out. As she's 11 months, there could be any number of confounding factors that are making this a tough time for her--some kids seem to take a loooooong time to recover from that 9-month sleep regression, plus it could be teething, movement (learning to crawl or walk or pull up), or any number of random factors that make babies whack out.

Another thing you could try is getting her attached to a different kind of lovey. You know how some kids won't take a bottle because it's too close to the breast and they feel like they're being tricked somehow? Lots of times those babies will take a Nuby cup or regular cup orr straw cup, because it's so different from the breast that they don't get that same "Why are you trying to trick me?" reaction.

So while she won't take a different kind of pacifier, she might like some other kind of lovey. A stuffed animal, blanket (with satin binding...), hair extension, etc. especially if you could make it smell nice, like wearing it under your shirt for awhile, or rubbing it in blueberry muffins or Carolina Herrera for Men.

The other thing I can think of is to play some music in her room so that when she wakes up there's stimulation there for her. It's not oral stimulation the way the pacifier was, but it's still sensory stimulation, so it might be enough of a bridge to let her get herself back to sleep.

Does anyone else have any ideas? Has anyone lost a lovey (and was kicking yourself for not buying three at the same time) and had to deal with the fallout? Especially at a tricky time like 11 months?