8 Month Old Is Addicted to Her Pacifier for Sleep

Updated on June 30, 2008
A.S. asks from Costa Mesa, CA
8 answers

I need to get rid of the pacifier. It is killing me. I have an 8 month old who knew how to self soothe herself at 4 months. She was sleeping through the night because when she woke she knew how to put herself back to sleep. Then at 5 months, I went back to work and the nanny used the pacifier alot to get her to sleep for naps during the day. I too started to let her have it at night to go to sleep - and I just discovered today how dependent on it she is to sleep. The past few weeks she started to wake more at night. I kept thinking it was because she was teething. Then last night she woke up like 5 times - and she wasn't really biting like it was her teeth. So it got me thinking. Tonight I tried to put her down without the pacifier and it was a nightmare. I held her while she cried for over an hour. She was hysterical. I finally gave in after an hour and half. When I gave her the pacifier all it took was 4 sucks and she was asleep. But I know that she's going to wake in the middle of the night and will not know how to get herself back to sleep. HELP! She was seriously hysterical. Can I take it away cold turkey. Should I have held out longer with the crying? Will she be able to re-learn how to self-soothe herself? Any advice is truly appreciated. Thanks.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I was antipacifier until I had a strong willed, unsoothable baby. When I broke down, he found his finger. It was cute, but now he is 8 years old! You can take a pacifier away at the appropriate time, but I cannot take my son's finger. Let it be

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answers from Honolulu on

Kids/babies go through ALL kinds of "phases." They and their behaviors are NOT static.

Your daughter IS self-soothing... using a pacifier/thumb sucking are all considered manners in which a baby self-soothes. If you research the topic, you will see this.

Just as an example: My firstborn, my daughter.. was very difficult to put to sleep or nap. She never really got attached to anything nor did she self-soothe very well, unless she was breastfeeding. Needless to say, it was very tiring. My son on the other hand, very adeptly had "found" self-soothing ways in which to fall asleep... he likes to sleep on his side or tummy, he likes to sleep with his stuffed cow, and he likes his pacifier.

1) You can do what you are doing now- take away the pacifier cold turkey...and have her scream it out until she is so tired from screaming that she passes out and falls asleep this way. This will go on for a few days...not only at night.
2) you can let her have it... and realize that they DO grow out of it. Some well known doctors let THEIR own children have pacifiers until they self-wean from it.
3) you can decide for her and perhaps feel "self conscious" that your baby is using a pacifier. (for some reason...outsiders seem to look down at babies & Mothers who "let" their child use pacifiers).
4) Do research on pacifier use & thumb sucking... MANY respected Doctors/child specialists do NOT abhor pacifiers...in fact, it is a healthy part of "self-soothing" etc. Even in the womb a "baby" will suck on their thumb etc.
5) Decide "why" you want her to quit the pacifier...based on her habits when she was only 4 months old.
6) See if it IS the pacifier that is causing "problems" for your baby.... OR if it is perhaps just a part of "developmental" changes and phases which they naturally go through biologically and physically and cognitively etc.
7) Maybe, it just so happens that in tandem with the timing of her pacifier use... she COULD also be teething.
8) All babies go through changes. My son is the easiest baby... he could self soothe from early on, takes 2 naps a day, sleeps well at night, is independent & good natured... but from about 6 months of age he got attached to a pacifier even though we did not push it on him. It was just laying around and he grabbed it and stuck it in his mouth. It doesn't bother me at all nor my Hubby. Yes, it helps him to sleep. No big deal, to us. We know, that he will wean himself from it as he gets older. It is not forever. Myself... I had a ratty-ol blanket and sucked my thumb until I was in Preschool age... my parents never pressured me about it. BUT through my own maturity I knew not to do it in public, and I didn't. My Parents never ridiculed me or made me feel "wrong" for it. Then one day I just stopped.
9) If you do want her to stop using a pacifier... try cutting the tip very slightly or make a little hole in the tip...it will change the "suction" of the pacifier making it less attractive or useful to the child and not as "fun."
10) YES A CHILD CAN "RE-LEARN' HOW TO SELF-SOOTHE. No worries, really. She's 8 months old now... and nothing they do is engraved in stone at this age...from week to week or month to month they are constantly changing and developing. More "phases" WILL come up.

11) It's really up to you as to when & how you want to handle the pacifier "problem." There are MANY different approaches and attitudes toward pacifier use. For me obviously... I have no problem with it, and I refuse to let other people "stare" at me and my son and make us feel uncomfortable about it. He is just a child... and they grow up so quickly... and I certainly will not make him feel "weird" about it. It will not be forever. I know that one day the pacifier will be gone. In some cultures it's not so looked down upon. In our culture, it is.

Well, sorry for rambling. Really, do what you think is best for your baby... and for you. Do you want to wake up 5 times a night? At 8 months old, sure the pacifier will drop out of their mouth as they sleep, but she can get it back in her mouth if need be and find it. Self-soothing can be a fickle thing too... don't worry that your girl "lost" the ability to do that. Babies are very resilient.

Take care, all the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I am certainly no expert, but my daughter is 2 and I was concerned that she still used her pacifier to fall asleep at night. My pediatrician said using a pacifier to sleep is no big deal. Put it away during the day and just take it out for naps and bedtime. I asked her when to take it away and she said around 3 is a good time. At that point they can communicate and participate in the process of letting it go. If you really want it gone, and your child is only 8 months, take it away and sooth like you did when you were sleep training. They will adapt, and will cry, because of the change in routine, but if it is what you feel is best for your child, then stick it out and just do it! According to "The Baby Whisperer" by T. Hogg, change takes about 2 weeks, so be ready for a bit of a haul. Whatever you decide, stay consistent. Don't give in, just stick to it and it will happen!



answers from Los Angeles on

I think you need to calm down a little about this one. Using a pacifier was actually recommended by my doctor because my daughter was a thumb sucker. I don't know your reasons for not wanting to use one, but I think it an excellent way for babies to calm down. According to my doctor it doesn't effect their teeth until like age 5 and by then almost all children are not using them. My daughter gave her's up on her own at age 2.



answers from Los Angeles on

Seriously, you're going to hate me for saying this, but I think at this point you're better off sticking with the pacifier. I know, it sucks - no pun intended - but if you take it away she'll use her thumb. I've got four kids and each of them did exactly that. I can tell you from experience that it's possible to wean a child off a pacifier when they're older, but it's a logistical nightmare trying to hide a kid's thumb! lol

(I actually ended up using the darn pacifier to wean one child off her thumb so that I could, then, begin the process of weaning her off sucking on anything at all. I should have just stuck with the pacifier, it would have shaved months off the process. But when it was finally over, it was over -- no relapses.)

The key benefit of small, easy to sterilize pacifiers is that they are SOFTer than a thumb. I know kids who (even at 7 and 8) still suck their thumbs (see: logistical nightmare) and they have lovely buck teeth, caved in lower teeth and regular bouts with thumb fungi to show for it. When a kid sucks or bites on a pacifier, it gives, it can even collapse. Thumbs-- not so much. That extra resistance seems to make a highly visible difference.

There are some tried and true strategies for getting rid of the pacifier once your daughter is old enough to grasp the ideas used. But at 8 mos, she's too mobile to simply wear mittens and 'get over it.' She'll likely have her thumb in her mouth shortly after the pacifier disappears. I definitely think the pacifier is the lesser of the 'evils.'

Good luck!




answers from San Diego on

Hi A., I would take it cold turkey, if you give it to her some times and with hold it other times, it will be very confussing to her, I try and tell young moms not use pacifires beyond 6 weeks unless they are premies, because they seem so hard for parents to break them off of them, becasue parents have allowed the pacifire to be a source of security, and that is not what they are for. I know a lot of people don;t believe in this but I rocked my babies to sleep every night and for nap time as well that put them to sleep feeling very loved and very secure, I didn't have a problem with any of my kids waking up crying, (well when they were baby babies) but that's it, unless they weren't feeling well, I personally never liked pacifires, so I didn't use them, I also didn't believe in the blankie, I always alternated my babies blankets so at 2 years old they werent dragging one through the house, I wanted my babies/kids to get their secuity from home and famliy not objects, and it worked so well for us, my youngest is now 19. So Sorry if that was more advice than you wanted, but I hope it helped. J.



answers from Los Angeles on

'experts' have said that around 9 months, babies don't have as strong a suck reflex, and that is a good time to take away the pacifier and replace it with a blankie...
The other thing you could do, if you don't mind the pacifier, is to 'seed' her bed with them. put 3 or 4 in the bed with her so she can always find one. I always had to seed the bed after my daughter went to sleep, cause otherwise she would try to gather them all up and she would get over stimulated...
Just some suggestions.
good luck



answers from Los Angeles on

I never wanted a pacifier in the house. But the first night in the hospital after giving birth was crazy and we gave in. From day one my daughter was a "sucker" and needed to suck. It was either have her attached to me 24/7 (I breast fed till two weeks ago) or let her have the pacifier. She used it to suck! I wanted to take it away at 2 months (I know how mean) but we waited until she was 6 months old. We took it away cold turkey! The first night was tough..she cried on and off for about 1 hour and 1/2. Then slowed fell asleep. At that time she still woke up in the middle of the night to feed. So after the next feeding she cried for about 30-45 mins and finally fell asleep. The rest of the night was about the same. The next day for naps...perfect! No fighting it at all. She is now one - pacifier and thumb/finger free. We thought she might've picked up thumb sucking but she was only teething. My daughter did great with the cold turkey approach. If you want to do the cold turkey method, you can't give in. You 8 month old is very smart! Every time you give in, she'll learn to cry a little longer the next time. Be strong and consistent. Cold turkey is not for every child or parents for that matter. But know that it has worked wonders with my daughter. Good Luck and hope this helps and know there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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