32 answers

4 Month Old Continues to Lose Pacifier, Wakes up Crying

My 4 month old (breastfed baby) was sleeping pretty good at night in her own crib. Now for the past 2 weeks, she has been spitting out her paci, then whinning until I re-insert it. This happens on and off throughout the night (about 10 times on average). I have resorted to sleeping on the floor in her room to that I can get to her more easily, yet keep her in own room. I am considering the CIO method and weaning her off of the paci all together but not sure how it will go. Anyone out there been through this??? HELP! :)

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you very much to all those who gave me input. Over the past couple weeks I really observed my daughter and realized that she only needs the paci to fall asleep, not during the night or day. So I just wait until she falls asleep and then remove it myself so that it doesn't get stuck behind her neck. She is still experiencing sleep problems and I now think the paci is the least of my concern. Beginning tonight, I am going to start letting her "cry it out", I think that this will help her learn to soothe herself and become less dependent on the paci. Thanks again to all of you!!!


Featured Answers

My 5 year old had a similar relationship with her pacifier (binky for us). I too spent time on the bedroom floor: it was easier than getting up over & over.

Eventually I got too tired & let her cry.
She cried a lot that night, but the next night, we didn't give her the binky. She cried at first, and woke up a few times crying, but much less severely than the first night. It got better in just a few days, and then like magic the binky was gone:)

E. - I had twins that loved their pacifiers and I was desparate. We used the clips (from MAMM) to clip an extra binki on to their pjs at night. The strings are TOO short to strangle them and we all got a good nights sleep!

My youngest daughter is 4 months old and breastfed as well. When she does that a few times it usually means she's hungry. Good luck!

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Hi E.,

I would highly recommend co-sleeping with your baby. I tried to keep my oldest in her own room and we both were in misery. My youngest hasn't left my bed at 20 months and I have had very few mornings where I woke up feeling like I haven't had enough sleep. Your baby needs you. If you train her to sleep without you, you are letting her know that you are unavailable at night. And for some kids (most I think) this is the scariest part of the day. You are already kind of co-sleeping by sleeping on her floor. Why not make you both comfortable in your bed? There are great resources and statistics out there if you are interested. Mothering.com is a great place to start. Best of luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E.,
We ran into the same problem with our twins. They would lose/throw it on the floor or just lose it in the crib and then cry for us to get it. A big game to them. It lasted about a week with us going in about 2x/night and then they got colds and couldn't really even use them b/c they couldn't breath through their noses so we took the opportunity and went cold turkey one day. They fussed a bit for 2-3 naps/nighttimes, but it wasn't bad AT ALL. It was fine. You just need to stay firm once youtake it away it is gone. I had to get rid of the extra ones we had too b/c it was too tempting for me to use at different times (though we only would let them use them in the crib, except occ on long road trips for our sanity..with 2 and all!)
hope that helps. I would just throw it away and let her cry. she will adjust quickly, you will be suprised. she will sleep better w/o it and she needs/deserves a better night sleep, as do you!

Hello E. \''/

I think it is important to allow your little one to keep using the pacifier and not to wien her off of it. All babies need the pacifier. May I make a suggestion? Light naps for you while she is napping (or just lying down). I know you must be exhausted at times. So, it's important to make time for yourself to get a little bit of rest, even if it's for 15 minutes. When she lies down, you should lie down at the same time.

Oh! Also, I strongly suggest a good walk in the park where it's nice and clean, where she is getting exposed to fresh air. The fresh air is so good for little one's. It knock's them right out (usually). I would go to a park (or somewhere very open and safe) and enjoy the non polluted air.

I know and understand how tiresome it can be to keep on putting the pacifier into babies mouth. And what about just eliminating her paci at night only. She could do her little routine during the day.

Crying it out is hard, but it does work; you'd get more sleep, too (in your own bed!). You know why she's crying, so you know it's not emergent and that she's okay. It's good for them to learn to self-soothe without "stuff" to help them. Thumbs are always nice, too!

My husband and I co-slept with both of our daughters and it greatly increased our sleeping time. I'm an extremely light sleeper and very very grumpy if I am woken up at night or early in the morning. This way, when my 8 month old wakes at night (she's teething currently - she was sleeping through the night next to me until that first tooth starting working its way up) all I have to do is pull up my shirt and pop her on. I don't have to wake up completely or get out of bed so my sleep remains constant and restful!

So that's what I would do (along with losing the pacifier). There are many great studies about the safety of co-sleeping and several point to it being safer than having the baby in a crib in the other room. A wonderful book to read about co-sleeping is called "Three in a Bed" by Deborah Jackson. It has the studies and tons of other information about the ins and outs of co-sleeping!

It can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Three-Bed-Benefits-Sharing-Your/dp/...

Best wishes!

I put the baby on her side holding a folded receiving blanket in a hugging fashion. the top portion of the blanket I used to keep the paci in place without worrying about breathing issues.

E. - I had twins that loved their pacifiers and I was desparate. We used the clips (from MAMM) to clip an extra binki on to their pjs at night. The strings are TOO short to strangle them and we all got a good nights sleep!

I don't think she should be sleeping with a pacifier. I don't know what your pediatrician told you, but I was told right from the start that the pacifier came out as soon as my son went to sleep. We were lucky and he didn't need it to fall asleep, but I think you should just wean her off of it. I know that's easier said than done, especially with a four-month old, but the sooner the better is what I've always heard about the pacifier anyway. It may be a pain for a week or two, but imagine all the wonderful sleep you'll get afterwards. Good luck.

My little girl did the same thing. I don't recall exactly how old she was, but she was an infant still. Keep in mind that she could be teething - even though no teeth may show up for a while, apparently they can feel them under the gums. With that in mind, here is what we did to help her learn self-soothing skills: I made sure she had her favorite stuffed animals nearby to cuddle and I scattered 3-4 pacifiers in the crib where she could reach around for one. Then I let her cry. It turns out she wouldn't cry for more than 3-5 minutes anyhow (that was the majority of time). And if it started to escalate to a point I was not comfortable with it, I would go in, not speak at all or cuddle or kiss (that was hard!) and rather than place the pacifier in her mouth I would place it next to her hand or in her hand. Consistently doing those things for a few nights seemed to do the trick. By the way, if you think she is teething at night and uncomfortable, double check with your pediatrician because you may wish to give her a bit of infant tylenol before bedtime.

When it comes to loosing the pacifier, I tried to do so before she turned 1 and saw her starting to put her thumb in her mouth. That was more of a concern to me and I realized she needs to have a way to soothe herself. So I let her keep the pacifier but limited when and where it was used. She eventually lost interest in the pacifier, but then became reinterested at 2.5 yrs old (she is three now). So, we let her have it at night but still limit when and where it can be used. She will eventually get rid of it, I am not too concerned. I would be much more concerned with thumb-sucking since it can really impact jaw/mouth/teeth formation, plus let's face it, hands are germ carriers and I can control the pacifier! :) Hope those thoughts help.

It sounds like you are using the paci as a sleep prop and your little one is ready to be done with it! i strongly urge you NOT to use the CIO method! if you are up for reading a great book that will help your baby learn to fall asleep on her own in a loving and supported manner i highly recommend the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg. We were is the same exact spot at about 4 months old and i realized that i was forcing something on him that he didn't want. we used Tracy's pick-up/put down method detailed in the book and he was sleeping 11 hrs straight within 3 nights. it was hard work, but i never had to feel like i was breaking trust with him. good luck! more sleep feels so good!

When this happened with my daughter, my pediatrician suggested throwing several (3-4) pacifiers in the crib. It worked like a charm for us, although we did need to teach her to feel around for one when she needed one. My daughter learned quickly. Someone earlier suggested this method, but it bears repeating. Right now, sleep is the most precious commodity for both you and your baby. Worry about weaning her off of it when she gets a bit older. Good luck!

I have raised 7 children. I had one at 4 1/2 months that was doing the same thing as your little one. I simply put her bassinet out in the hall for a couple of days, made sure all her other needs were met and let her cry it out... Voila, she slept through the night and we were all happier... Things can be quiet simple if we listen to our instincts...

Ideally, you should wean her off of needing her paci all night, but that is easier said than done. Also, studies have shown that using a pacifier to sleep reduces the risk of SIDS. My daughter was a paci junkie, and we tried everything, but nothing worked. She was the exact same way, waking up and crying for it all night long. She never did learn to grab it herself. I got a very firm stuffed animal and sewed the paci to the perfect spot on the top of it's head. This way, all she had to do was turn toward it or grab the large bear instead of searching for a small pacifier and then trying to get it into her mouth properly. Think newborn pup nursing. If she'll let you switch, a more contoured paci may stay in her mouth better.

A pacifier can weaken successful nursing. Four months isn't unusual for a baby to not sleep through the night. Perhaps baby is going through a growth spurt and may need a "midnight" feeding. Baby may need to learn to comfort her/himself, if he/she is full and still fussy. Also, try rocking for a few minutes. Best wishes!

Grandma in Redmond

I'm not sure how helpful this will be, but... My son is 7 months. He started spitting his pacifier out as he falls asleep a few months ago, and then would wake up and need it again to fall back asleep. He's getting better at going back to sleep on his own without the pacifier now, but still needs it to go to bed the first time.

Have you thought about the possibility that she is teething? I know that my son has a love hate relationship with the pacifier during his teething spells. He wants it, but then it bugs his mouth.... I've started using the homeopathic teething tablets with him- they work great! Also, my other finding from my son is that when the pacifier gets too old- when he's stretched it out too much- he spits it out. If I just replace it with a new one in the morning he's usually gotten used to it by the night and we run into fewer nighttime pacifier incidents.

Good Luck finding a solution!


Gee, I must be really out of it...Ferber, CGI...never heard of them.

When I had the first I nursed and attended every single whim that child had. She whimpered, I ran to her. When I finally got her weaned from the breast (I was expecting a 2nd) she refused to give up the bottle. Even when it was empty, she'd use it like a pacifier...even at 4 years old.

The 2nd child REFUSED to nurse. We bottle fed and she never had a pacifier. She slept through the night early on with few waking episodes. When she did wake, her older sister would wake and start in and I'd have to tend to her, usually putting her in the bed with husband and I so I could take care of the baby. She was 2 then.

Finally, when the 3rd came (4.5 years after the first) I was a single mom, having left the husband who refused to help me care for the children he helped create. Moved in with my parents and my mother MADE ME put my girls to bed at 8pm. 1 night of crying for the younger, 3 for the older, and they were sleeping soundly by 8:30pm.

I nursed the baby and put him in his crib after nursing. Never used a pacifier for him, either. I did the sausage thing...wrapped him up tight in a receiving blanket. He slept like a dream from birth. I also wrapped up my 2nd child. I think that had a lot to do with it.

I don't recommend going through a divorce while you're 8 months pregnant, but my mother making me be more assertive with my children when they were small made me a lot better parent. I could actually get some exercise and a good nights sleep, which is essential for being a good parent.

Later, when I started dating again, I could go out and enjoy myself for an evening knowing the kids were sleeping soundly while Grandma came to watch them.

If you're a young parent, TRUST ME, your marriage is very important. If your marriage doesn't suffer, your kids will be fine. My 2nd and forever husband and I met and married when my kids were still small, and we've never had problems with parenting our kids.

My oldest did that as well. Tip, get her off the pasi now!!!!!I say that because my daughter is 4 and she was such in a habit of waking me up for me to insert the pasi when she was too small to find it herself she still gets me up at night. She gets me up to do stupid stuff like wrap her toes, her back is cold. She relied on me to find it for her so she never wanted to do it and that has resulted in the behavior she has now. My only other suggestion is put a night light in her room and maybe she will find it herself when she gets old enough to find it.

Hi E., my daughter needed the binky to sleep, and I never got any sleep, so with my boys, I went at a different route so I could get some sleep. I wouldn't call it the CIO method, but same concept. I set the timer for 10 minutes during the nap time starting point, and let him cry that long, then go in and calm him down to the point where he would be very tired, then put him down for another 10 min to cry it out, that went on for 2 hours. I was going to go crazy during that time, so I did housework. Then the next day, I went to 15 min. Now, he's 3 months (we just started this a week ago) and he slept 10 hours the other night!! I read the book Secrets of the baby Whisperer as well, but I didn't want to pick him up and put him back down for 50 times, I new the crying would wear him out. Good luck, hope you get some sleep!

Hi E.

I'm a mother of 3 active boy's. Now there are growwen. And I remember very well the foofo, as we called it in our home. When our little guy Ryan spit it out during the night I also got up the the first bit, but then decided I had enough and just let him cry. With in a couple of days he was whened off the foofo. And he never wanted it back.
I also can remember when my parents were looking after my nephew, for a few weeks while there parents were away on holidays, and we forgot to pick up the diaper bag at cjircj (the days when clothe diapper were in style)! My dad refussed to go back and get the diapper bag, as the foofo was in the bag. We had a night or two with lots of crying, but then he too forgot about the foofo.

Lots of luck

I have never had this problem @ all, but do think I know how to solve it, since what I did would make it not neccessary.

Please know that I got a nice good full nights sleep most nights from the time both of my little girls were born....but not in the way most people would do it with letting baby cry it out and so on.

I just take baby to bed and let them nurse all night long while I sleep. If they stir alittle, I barely even wake, after alittle bit they can latch back on with out even waking me @ all, it just takes a little practice to nurse laying down. Once you try it you will never want to go back!

I have been well rested for the last 10 years as far as how much time I get to sleep while in bed with this method, the only thing waking me up @ night now is my 2 year old waking up from nursing to go potty.

This will also make it so that you do not need to nurse as much in the day time, giving you more time to get things done too. If you need time with your husband alone, just nurse her to sleep in a safe spot other than you bed and then bring her back to yours later.

A really good book with lots of night time solutions is Night Time Parenting. Also the Family Bed Book.

My second child had this issue. He was four monhths when I couldn't stand waking up to put the pacifier back in his mouth. I took it away. It was not a fun three days, but after that he was fine. Plus, he never did take to sucking a thumb or fingers, so I didn't have to try to stop that habit at an older age. It worked well to take it away cold-turkey, and after he got used to it, he slept better. Best wishes!

I know that a lot of mom's think that the Ferber way of sleep training is cruel. I have to disagree. I found that his book helped me to understand the psychology of sleep. Why kids need sleep, how to help them sleep, etc. In my opinion, the book is really worth reading. Both of my kids are, and always have been, awesome sleepers. I don't think I'm just lucky. It took effort, but it was good for all of us in the long run. They get the sleep their little brains need and I get to be a good mom because I do too! Ferber takes 3 days and you may have to revisit every once in awhile. Your daughter is at the perfect age to learn good sleep habits. The pacifier is not a way of self soothing. If you take it away, she may just figure out something she can do for herself instead. Mine started sucking her thumb at about 4 months and is still a good sleeper at almost 4 years. Good luck!

I have delt with this too
If she is spitting out her paci at night, then she really doesn't need it... now that she is older, try helper baby find her hand, fingers. You need a good nights sleep and not on the floor dear one.
Maybe you can get her to get to sleep without the paci too... there is a great book for that.. can't think of the name of it but I will look for it and write it here later

the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg

Hi-I have an 11 1/2 month old and she never used a pacifier, however, I was the pacifier (human pacifier--with my breasts). I am doing attachment parenting (I recommend Dr. Sears Baby Book, or askdrsears.com) which goes against letting a child "cry it out". The first several months are all about trust for the baby and if they are crying it out through the night, it will imbed lack of trust that may not show up until they are adults...anyway. I still have to get up in the middle of the night, but only a couple times (Regan does not sleep with us, but we have a large mattress in our room that she sleeps on that I go lay on with her to feed in the middle of the night). Sooooo....what we realized with our baby is that we needed to try other ways to help her initially fall asleep. If I breastfed her to sleep she would wake up a lot. If I breastfeed her for 10-20 minutes after her bath and then have my husband rock her to sleep in the sling and sing lullabyes, then she stays asleep. Maybe that is a consideration? Even though I am still awake a few times in the night, I cherish those moments.

My 5 year old had a similar relationship with her pacifier (binky for us). I too spent time on the bedroom floor: it was easier than getting up over & over.

Eventually I got too tired & let her cry.
She cried a lot that night, but the next night, we didn't give her the binky. She cried at first, and woke up a few times crying, but much less severely than the first night. It got better in just a few days, and then like magic the binky was gone:)

I'd urge you not to use the CIO meathod as well. If you want info on this you can go to www.askdrsears.com.

A good book on sleeping (from what I hear) is The No Cry Sleep Solution.

I went through this with my daughter too, at right around 4 months or so as well. And quite frankly, I needed the sleep too, so I could be a good mom. I finally did the cry it out thing. It worked like a charm. The first night was sooo hard for me (it was probably close to 40 minutes of crying - she just needed to sleep, she'd been fed, changed, etc.), each night was less crying, and by the 4th night she just cried for a minute or 2 (literally, that was it), and she slept great after that - with no crying before bed. I looked at it as a blessing in that I didn't have to wean her off the paci at an older, much more difficult-to-do, age. BTW, she was also breastfed. Good luck! :)

whatever you do- don't continue this cycle by sleeping on the floor and giving her her paci! she is old enough now to sleep through the night on her own and just needs to learn how to soothe herself back to sleep without a paci. i recommend the hard way- get a good bedtime routine going- getting her down at the same time every night, like 7:30, following a warm bath a couple of stories and nursing or a bottle, then don't put the paci. in or pick her up if she starts crying, just pat her on the back, tell her to go back to sleep and leave the room. leave the intervals between you going in there longer and longer each time. we did this and within a week my son was sleeping 11 hours through the night. some kids take up to 2 weeks to get adjusted, but it's worth it for them and for you! she'll be so much more well rested and happier. i also recommend the book "healthy sleep habits, happy child." it's a great resource to have up until they're older too.

Good Morning E....okay so my husband and I went through this EXACT same thing at the exact same time with our now 9 year old daughter. I just wanted to sleep so bad that I would dash down the hall and shove that thing back in her mouth before she could really wake up. I got to where I was doing this 5-6 times per night.

My pediatrician told me that I absolutely had to stop doing that. That it was time for her to learn to put herself back to sleep. He told me to let her cry it out and he promised it would only take 3 nights. Now I'm here to tell you that this will be the hardest 3 nights of your life but it is soooooooooooo worth it. The first night she cried for 3 HOURS!!!! I sat in the hallway bawling myself. The next night it was only 90 minutes. The 3rd night about 30 minutes and actually she fussed for about 15 minutes on the 4th night. It's been smooth sailing ever since. It wasn't too long afterward that she was able to find her own binky and put it in her mouth (I usually put like 4 binkies in there and figured she'd roll over onto one eventually...lol). So you've got tons of advice saying that crying it out doesn't address your child's trust needs or that you should co-sleep, etc. I'm not saying that is bad advice, I'm just someone who used cry it out and my children are older now and are they are totally well-adjusted independent affectionate and trusting.

Anyway, good luck! Like I said this won't be easy but I truly believe it is the best way to nip it in the bud before it turns into a situation that is harder to fix later.


P.S. I'm a happily married 38 y/o sahm mom to 9 and 5 year old girls. This method worked successfully with both kids although my 5 year old was a thumb sucker which made it way easier to find ;)

My youngest daughter is 4 months old and breastfed as well. When she does that a few times it usually means she's hungry. Good luck!

This happened to me! I got rid of the paci all together at this point. My sleep is too important to me! We went with the Ferber method. It only takes a few sleepless nights. In no time my guy was sleeping from 7pm to 7am! He still does at 9 months. Its the greatest!

Hi I am a mother of a 3 and 1 year old. I haven't been through this exact situation but I thought I would give you some advice from my own experiences. If your baby is not waking up to eat, but only because she keeps losing her paci it seems like it is time to wean her off of it. I think the best thing to do is to let her cry. I know it sounds harsh and you may want to wait another month or so to start, but that might be something you ought to try. You will probably have a few rough nights, but stay strong and she will eventually figure it out, and start sleeping better. I hope that helps! M. P

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