2 Year Old Sleep Problems After Taking Away Pacifier

Updated on January 21, 2013
J.T. asks from Birmingham, AL
7 answers

My 2 year old has always been the best sleeeper, until a few weeks ago. We took away her pacifier because it was causing major dental probelms. Since then, she will not sleep by herself. She never asks for the pacifier...she just screams for me. We have been using the same nighttime routine since she was 6 months old. She is still in a crib, so she just stands in the crib screaming once I lay her down. If she happens to fall asleep while I rock her, I can lay her in her crib, but she wakes up 2 hours later screaming. I've tried CIO (she'll cry for 3-4 hours, then vomit), Ferber (she just gets more and more mad each time I go in the room and leave), and the Supernanny method (she screams and reaches for me the whole time I'm sitting there). If her daddy tries to console her instead of me, she literally screams like her limbs are being torn off her body. I was thinking seperation anxiety, but she's fine when I drop her off at daycare. PLEASE HELP!

As far as the pacifier goes, she only had it at naps and bedtime for over a year. She has napped fine without it for several months at daycare. The pacifier was causing a horrible open bite- her pediatrician and dentist have both been saying for months that we needed to get rid of it. And since the 4 weeks she's been without it, her teeth have already started improving.

I have given her blankets and stuffed animals to soothe her. She won't stick with anything for more than a couple days. I even bought a Dream Lite after a few friends suggested it. No comfort objects seem to work.

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answers from Tampa on

Wow rough times! One more reason I'm glad my kids never had pacis! I wouldn't give it back, she is old enough not to have it. It's hard but just keep doing what your doing.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Does she have a Lovey to sleep with?
Stuffed animals in her crib?
If not, let her have one, or one that she chooses.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

We went thru the same hell but it was over w/in about a week or two! And trust me, there were nights we were ready to just give in. Although we had given her the orthodontic safe nuks as well, her teeth seemed to have caved in so we really needed to nix it & figured that at some point we'd have to go thru the whole crying it out thing, so we opted not to let her have it at naps or bedtime. It was a hard, dragged out thing (we have a daughter almost 6 yrs older so this was hard for her sleep-wise as well, but we made it!) Just try to hang in there, it's well worth it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I would question the dentist who tells you a modern pacifier designed for a baby's mouth is *causing* problems. Most will not....especially if they are using it for naps and nighttime. You better HOPE she doesn't find her thumb.... because you can't take that away. And your daughter CLEARLY has a need to suck as a form of self-soothe.

Here's the deal..... you can't take away your child's source of self-soothe and not provide an alternate swap out. This is why alcoholics have AA.... when they want to drink they go to a meeting.

You MUST change your daughter's nighttime routine to include some behavior that you manufacture that "teaches" her to soothe. This is why blankets are popular..... it makes them feel comfortable, but still soothes. Or a specific toy. Whatever you decide is appropriate for her to have. But she's got to have something. Or she'll suck on her thumb, her feet, her clothing. ALL of those will cause many more issues than a paci.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Syracuse on

I've also heard that the pacifier doesn't really cause dental problems, unless they're 4 or 5 and still using it. We just took my son's away at age 3, it was two sleepless nights and he was over it, guess we were lucky. HOWEVER, when we took away his pacifier, he also gave up his nap...the pacifier during the day put him right to sleep. She's too young to lose her nap though.

What about giving her a sippy cup with water or milk in it? She can at least put that in her mouth to sooth and calm herself down, but it won't be as "addicting" as the pacifier. I did that with my son's and it settled them down.



answers from Dallas on

Honestly, I would give her back the paci just at bedtime. I can't imagine it would cause serious dental problems if only given when she's going to sleep. My 2 year old never took a paci, and her teeth are crazy crooked. Sometimes it's genetic. She got my mouth, unfortunately. My five year old had a paci, and her teeth are very straight. My 6 week old looks like she's going to be a paci girl, and I'll let her as long as she needs it. Get rid of it when she's old enough to understand and it's her decision, or when she starts biting it off and it becomes a choking hazard.


answers from Dallas on

Honestly? My answer may not be popular but if it were me, I'd give her her paci back. You say major dental problems, what do you mean? Can it not wait until she's 3?

When my oldest daughter was 2, we took her paci away, and although her reaction wasn't as extreme as you are describing, it's still something that I regret. She cried every night for over a week. She was too little to understand why something that had been her comfort for her whole life was all of the sudden not ok for her to have.

When my younger daughter was 2, I said hell no. I let her have it, and decided to wait until she was 3. The transition was so much smoother. She was older and able to reason.

My new son (he's 7 weeks old) seems to like his paci. I already know that I will let him have it until his third birthday, because IMO, 2 is just too little.

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