The information and opinions on this blog come from parents, and the blog is not associated with Primary Children´s Medical Center or any other institution.


This site is specifically for parents of kids with clefts being treated at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, but I hope that there will be information that is helpful to all parents of kids with clefts. If you are just starting to learn about clefts, I would suggest starting with the "General Information" topic and going from there. To find information on a specific doctor or topic, click on one of the links on the right. You can also search the blog using the box below the topic list. If you have information or experiences to share, please leave comments or contact me to do a guest post at Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

How do I soothe my baby after surgery without a binky?

Here is a conversation from the Kids with Clefts group that is typical of one that pops up periodically:

My [baby] is going to have his first lip surgery in two weeks and they said no binkies after that. I'm wondering how people have dealt with this. It seems like such a traumatic time for a child, yet you can't comfort them like they were previously used to. Does anybody have any suggestions? All of my other children have always used binkies or thumbs so I'm at a loss.

Answers from Parents:

"My son wanted a binky after his first surgery so bad, but it hurt him when he even tried. We had a special blanket for him that he cuddles up with that soothes him now that worked the same - but really good luck! If you can get him started on a soft blankie or something else that would comfort him before the surgery, it won't be nearly so traumatic after to just take the binky away."

"We went through the same issue with our son at 4 months--the way he always went to sleep was with a binkie snuggled right into someone's chest. . obviously he couldn't do that after surgery. We started him getting used to a snuggly bear before surgery that we always gave him to help him calm down and started using the binkie less--trying to comfort with rocking, etc.. He couldn't chew or suck on the bear, but I think just having the comfort object helped him through.

"Now, we're 1 month out from the surgery and our little boy doesn't want the binkie now that he can have it. . .he loves that bear, though :)"

"My reply is similar to he others who replied to our post. We found something to try to replace the binki right before surgery. With [our baby] it was a special blankie (that I took with us to the hospital) and I would sing to him to soothe him. It was hard the first few days without the binki. I would let him have his Bottle in his mouth just to suck on someimes. But he really didn't want it much because of the pain in his mouth.

"Now, he is 2 months post-op and he can have a binki. At first he didn't want it, but now he loves it again and can even keep it in his mouth! (which he couldn't do before). I hope this helps. Good luck with the surgery!"

"It is really hard for a little while to get them to be able to relax and soothe themselves without something in their mouth. I just held [my baby] a lot, sang to her, and loved her. Obviously it is very hard on you too, and you won't get a lot of sleep but at the end of a month, it seems to get much better. The process is just hard, for both you and your baby, you just have to keep loving them and fight through with them. They are resilient and will figure something else out, it just takes time. Hang in there!!!"


  1. I just wanted to say thank you to the ladies who wrote their experience above. My daughter has her lip repair in 4 days. She is 2 months old. My first child wouldnt take a binkie but she loves it to sleep with only so ive terrified that im not going to be able to soothe her at all. I still am scared about the aftercare but atleast i dont feel like the only one having to go through it. i wish there was a special made binkie out there for cleft babies like there are bottles.

  2. 8hours after surgery (i am pumping so that is why i have time to write and look for soothing tips from others). It is TOUGH but just holding and gently rocking really helps. You have to keep up a big smile, lots of encouragement and talking. We have a few songs we sang at home presurgery so we just keep singing them over and over and over. It seems to help so far in addition to tylenol + codine mix. Eating is Very important. Luckily my baby is an eating machine so even though it hurts he wanted to eat (otherwise he could not get more codine). So keeping my fingers crossed for the first night, the rest should be less of a rollercoaster. Good luck to anyone out there! Ps: if you can skip going with your baby to the OR, skip it. I almost lost it when they put him under as he was really frightened.