11 answers

2 1/2 Year Old Sleep Issues After Taking Pacifiers Away

So here's my situation: my 2 1/2 yo daughter threw all of her pacifiers away last week, the last one being on monday, and now it's been a week and we are still having problems with her sleeping. It seems like she has replaced her paci with me, b/c now she cries for me when she can't sleep, cries after I lay her down and try to leave the room, and continues to cry until I go back up there and rock her, after which she falls asleep in a minute. It's so frustrating and I don't know what to do!

On one hand, we were out of town the weekend before she got rid of the final paci, so maybe she hadn't adjusted to being back home? Plus my sister is in from out of town and maybe she's excited from that and it's causing her to not sleep as well? Then she did run a fever in the middle of the week last week, so days 3 and 4 of the no paci week, so would that be a factor? How can I help her fall asleep on her own? How long does this last? (meaning, the difficulty falling asleep)...

I'm a little stressed too b/c my husband seems to think it's a good idea to give it back to her, which I totally disagree with. I think that would be confusing and hurtful. After all, during the day she acts very proud that she doesn't have her "ny-nee" anymore. He thinks that this change is unnecessary and that we should have waited until she was ready (but she is 2 1/2 and she did throw them away on her own). He also doesn't think we should replace her ny-nee with another form of security like a blanket. I just want to make sure she gets enough sleep at night as well as at naptime, and I don't know if rocking her to sleep everytime or rubbing her back is the right answer. I'm not the cry-it-out type either. BUT I am open to suggestions about it.

One more question is do I keep our rituals the same or change them up since we have just changed her life? I feel awful that I have taken away her security. Please tell me that it gets easier!!!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

After we took the pacifiers away from my daughter (she was almost 3), we replaced it with a teething ring. She chewed on it at night/nap time for a few days, and then was relaxed enough to sleep on her own without it. She has occasionally used it since then, but it is a better alternative than giving back the pacifier. Hope this helps!

More Answers

I can't be alot of help, but all I can say is do whatever you can to get her to sleep on her own, do not lay down with her or let her sleep with you. This was my downfall, we took the paci away at 2-1/2 also and that also stopped my sons sleeping, I made the mistake one day of being too tired and I layed down with him and ended up falling alseep, it has now been 6 months and I am unable to get him to sleep on his own, we have tried everything, including going into a specialist to get ideas, the only idea of hers we have not tired is the locking him in his bedroom and letting him cry and never going in their (even if he throws up, which he does if he cries to hard) until morning no matter what, that is not an option for me cause I beleive that is just cruel and he is too young to be subject to that kind of emotional torture. Nothing else she suggested has worked so far, so I have just resigned to the fact that I will have to put him to bed like that until the day comes when he decides he wants to sleep on his own - Give me strength LOL.

So my only advice I can give to you is DO NOT stay in her room until she falls asleep cause it may never end :(. I do LOVE the idea someone else gave about the backwards monitor, I had never thought of that, but you better beleive I will give that one a try.

Good luck to you and your daughter.

I agree that now that you've gotten rid of the paci, you can't give it back. Where I disagree, is the part about you helping her to sleep being a bad thing. IMO we are SUPPOSED to be our babies/toddlers security item, not objects. She wont need you to help her sleep forever and given the transition she just made, why not comfort her to sleep? At her age, I'm guess it wouldn't last long.

I still nurse my 26 month old to sleep for bedtimes and nap and we also co-sleep. She still has the occasional night feed but for the most part night weaned herself about a month ago. She has never used a paci, and doesn't sleep with a special blanket or toy. That was unintentional, as I tried using a couple of stuffed animals, but she doesn't need them when she has me. I think this has really helped keep us close and bedtimes are almost never an issue. I too am anti-CIO and think that they will outgrow their need when they are ready (the need for help going to sleep).

I would keep doing what you are doing for now, maybe lay with her until she falls asleep rather than rocking her (easier for you). Like I said, it wont last forever!


After we took the pacifiers away from my daughter (she was almost 3), we replaced it with a teething ring. She chewed on it at night/nap time for a few days, and then was relaxed enough to sleep on her own without it. She has occasionally used it since then, but it is a better alternative than giving back the pacifier. Hope this helps!

I would say let her have a special blanket of stuffed animal to sleep with what is that harm . The nuk was hurting her teeth the blanket or animal will not hurt any thing . We gave our daughter a stuffed cow and she was fine with out her nuk after a few nights . It is just some thing that will help her if she wakes in the night it is a comfort item like the nuk .

Wow. OK. First of all, if you aren't the cry it out type I suggest you get someone else to come in for a week and handle this one for you. Unfortunately, you have created in your small child the expectation that you will rush in and give her massages and love anytime she peeps. If all you had to do was shout to get a massage and love from someone, would you shout more often? I think so.
The pacifier is a separate issue. I always tell parents that as soon as it falls out of their mouth while they are sleeping it is time to take it. If you have already taken it away to give it back would be a huge step in the wrong direction.
With the sleeping issue, you have to resist going to your daughter everytime she fusses. If you have a baby monitor, put it in backwards. When you hear your dughter fussing, speak into the receiver and she will hear you in her rrom coming from the speaker. Tell her it is OK and it is time to go to sleep. Then let her fuss. No child ever died from crying. After a few terribly painful nights for you both, she will begin to understand that bedtime is when you sleep and that you will no longer be running in with massages and kisses every hour.
You cannot be a good mother without rest. If your duaghter doesn't get enough sleep she will have a lowered immune system and be more likely to get hurt because she is groggy and cannot focus. Think of this as parenting for the long term. Each time she wakes up, speak once into the monitor and tell her it is night time, and she needs to go to sleep. Then wait 2-3 minutes before talking again. Don't have long conversations, only 2 sentences. Don't talk to her more than 2-3 times before stopping all conversation for the night. If dad is better at saying no, then have him talk into the monitor and don't let her hear your voice at all.
I have 8 kids and have been raising kids for other people for 24 years now. Please understand I really do know this is hard, but how hard will it be to spend the next year doing what you are doing now? 2 weeks of holding out and you will have a sleeping child.

There is nothing wrong with replacing the binky with a security blanket. All kids at that age need something, whether it's a blanket or a favorite stuffed animal. My boys don't have binkys anymore, but they still have their blankets, and they are 2 and 3 years old. I would try finding something else for her to use for comfort. Make a special day of it, take her to a store and let her pick out a new blanket, or stuffed animal that she likes. My oldest is 8 and he still uses his blankets sometimes, especially when he's not feeling good.

When I stopped breastfeeding our son (at 18 months--which was HIS security thing) we gave him a teddy bear. When he would ask to nurse I would tell him to grab his teddy bear and give it a hug. He slept with that for about a month and then switched to toys. He sleeps with his tractor or skidloader or whatever his thing is at the time.

We also give BOTH our kids (Hannah 4 and Jack 2) WATER sippy cups to sleep with. This eliminates them getting up 3 times for a drink. Works really well. And our daughter has never had an accident! She (rarely but will) wake up at night if she has to go to the bathroom. We just make her go right before lights out.

Do NOT give the pacifier back.

My rule of thumb when I was doing daycare was 12 months the bottle had to go and 18 months the pacifier was gone. No exceptions. So we followed that with our kids too. Hannah was 18 months when we took it away and just gave her a water cup from then on. She adjusted pretty well after about 2 days. Jack never took a pacifier so we didn't have to battle that with him.

Good luck.

Hi C.,

You've gotten a lot of good advice! Seems like everyone has agreed for you not to give it back...great advice! You need to decide how you would like your child to go to sleep, and what you want to do the rest of her napping career. If you would like her to go to sleep on her own...then go for it. She is definitely going to fuss for awhile, but it won't take long, and you will wonder why you didn't do this sooner. Not only will you be happier, but so will she. She will have learned how to be content...and she will learn from this experience. I don't see a problem with giving her a stuffed animal to sleep with, but I'm not much for letting little ones take toys or cups to bed with them....just another habit you might see a need to break later. My motto is: Don't start something you won't want your children doing later....don't let them get by with it or do it just because they are little, and then decide to change it when they get bigger...they don't understand why. Good luck!


do not be afraid to replace the pacifier with another comfort object - blankie or stuffed animal or whatever. Comfort objects are extremely useful for children learning to self-soothe (which she is learning to do all over again, without the pacifier.) As long as you keep the same kinds of rules you would keep for a pacifier (only in bed, only for naps and nighttime sleep, except for very special occasions like illness) - what's the worry? She'll give up that comfort object whenever she's ready, which may be 8, or 13, or 19 . . . And I know you don't want to hear this, but it's going to take a couple of weeks. My son voluntarily gave up his pacifiers at 3-1/2, and it was two weeks before he was reliably falling asleep on his own. . . and probably a month before there were no more nighttime wakeups. Certainly the schedule disruptions you mentioned have made it more difficult, but hang in there. Set your boundaries wherever you're comfortable (if you're willing to commit to laying down with her, do that, just be clear what the ritual is - are you staying until she's asleep? Do you sing a certain three songs and then go? Do you stay until the clock says certain numbers? Just be really clear - and keep those boundaries at night when she wakes up - just repeat the ritual, whatever it is.) It's going to be a rough couple of weeks, but hang in there. Take a nap with her in the afternoons if you can. Good luck!

My first son gave up the nuk after a few rough nights at
2 1/2. My second son had a much more difficult time and I decided after several weeks of late getting to bed, wake ups and no more afternoon nap, that he wasn't ready. I gave it back, which I agree would not be the right decision in most cases. It was the right decision for my second son, however. He immediately began napping again and getting to sleep on time. He's just a bit over three years old right now and he still has it. I'm guessing that he will still turn out to be an OK kid with OK teeth and we're all much happier.

Hello C.,
All four of my children had a pacifier so I know how hard it is to wean them off it. Do not give it back to her....after all, she is the one who gave it up to begin with. One of our daughters still has her blanket and she is 16! Of course no one knows this outside the family!! We have no problem with it...she is very well adjusted, works, plays sports, etc. It's just something she likes and is special to her and no harm is done by having it. So it may really help your family to replace her pacifier with something like a teddy or blankie. Sleep for everyone is so important!

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.