Baby Waking and Wanting Pacifier (a.k.a. Dear God, I'm So Tired!)

Updated on December 06, 2011
E.K. asks from Kirkland, WA
16 answers

So, my baby (20 weeks old) is incredibly oral...has been since birth. Everyone, including her occupational therapist, noted that a pacifier is a must for her: she simply has a biological need to suck on something. Currently, she can go about 8 hours at night: she goes down between 7 and 8, wakes up between 10 and 11 for a feeding, and can sleep until about 7 am. BUT, around 1:30am/2, the nightly pacifier frustration starts. She wakes up almost hourly, wanting us to put the binky back in her mouth. I'm not sure that the missing pacifier is the whole problem, because if it falls out between 7 and 11, she sleeps right through it. I do wonder if she's getting gas from her late night feed (she's usually sound asleep by the end, so doesn't burp. I give her some Mylicon gas drops, and put her back to bed). When she struggles to get those farts out, she notices the missing pacifier and it all begins. I'm exhausted. She's exhausted. Husband is exhausted.

Any ideas of what I can do to help remedy this situation?

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answers from Minneapolis on

My sister in law has photos of her kids sleeping in bed with (literally) like 15 pacifiers all over the crib.

Her solution to having to get up and find it for baby was to put a ton in there with the kid, so when they wake, they can't help but roll over and put their hand on one.

Just an idea.


5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have a friend who put a shelf up behind her son's crib for additional pacis so in the middle of the night he could grab another one. It worked for her=) Good luck !

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Eugene on

You know that Madonna look in all the Old Master's paintings like Bottecelli and Da Vinci, it's the lack of sleep. Now she is at the teething stage so sleep is interrupted by pain.
I just rolled with it and learned to go back to sleep. I can still do it anytime. I get up at night and stay up a few minutes and get back in bed and fall asleep.
My kids are grown it is a skill they taught me.
This is part of raising healthy well bonded children. All the methods that I hear about for self soothing means the child is alone untended for 1/3 of every day. How is that for the psychological development of a child.
Having children is a very time intensive job. It's a whole job. In all natural societies there is room for a child. If you can't manage on the sleep you are getting then sleep when your baby naps. The house and chores can wait.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Hi! I am no expert, but will share a few thoughts. First I researched the Mylicon quite a bit, and the consensus I came to was that it doesn't hurt anything to use, but doctors do not believe it does much of anything either. Many sources led to that, but talk to your own pediatrician.

About the pacifier issue, I personally had LOTS of troubles getting my baby to sleep, having him wake all night, and was going bananas until I went to the Sleep Sense Program (online). From there I learned that babies have to learn to self-soothe, and until they do, you will be undone. Right now it sounds like your little gal is depending on you to get the binky for her, so she can suck herself back to sleep. She literally believes she needs you and the binky to sleep again. My guess is that advice from the group that helped me (no, saved my sanity!), would be along the lines of you may want to leave several binkys in her crib so she can perhaps find them herself, and just stop retrieving them for her. It will be hard for a few days!! But it is really the only way to communicate to her that you retrieving the binky at all hours is not workable, and that she can learn to sleep without it. You will feel bad when she cries, but at least for my family, it just took a few days. If you want someone to talk you through all the details and the "what do I do when she...?" questions you could try the Sleep Sense program, I think was around $40. They give you stuff to read, videos, and you can ask questions directly as well. I tell you, it made such a difference for us because waking up at all hours made me cranky all day, my baby tired, and generally was a recipe for disaster. (At one point he was waking me an average of 8 times per night!) Also my son learned to go to sleep easily, quickly, and sleep well all night to this day (now 28 mo). Well, good luck, and know you can do it if you know how! I clearly remember the desperation of no sleep, its hard!
I guess I would like to add that we certainly do not "ignore" the baby all night. When he was learning to self-soothe, he cried some the first few days. Of course! He still felt that he needed help to go to sleep, as a little person new to this world, he just didn't know how to go to sleep himself. During that time I was generally hovering over the baby monitor or outside his door peeking in until he got through it. He gradually learned to hug his stuffed dog, twirl his hair with a finger, and relax himself to sleep (this was at 8 months old when I did the program). Once we got through it I firmly believe that the improved sleep for both of us made for much more productive and happy days. As for nights, even now I jump up if he cries at night, but it is generally only for issues like being wet, storm scared him, or having a fever, etc, that just happen once in a while.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

Teach her to suck her thumb or fingers-- they NEVER get lost!!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I'm a fan of's a skill which provides peace of mind for all involved. Currently, in my daycare, I have a 4 month old who is completely pacifier-free. Not many children are able to achieve that so soon.....but it is well worth it!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I don't know what to tell you. I was up several times shoving the binky back in my 8 week old's mouth, so I feel your pain. You could start introducing her hand, that is something she can always get into her mouth, if you want to go that route. I remember throwing 20 binkies in the crib when my older two were babies, hoping that at least one of them wouldn't fall out of the crib by morning, but they were able to get it back in themselves at that age. I think her waking may be related to the stages of the sleep cycle, and that she isn't able to self soothe yet. You could always ignore her for a while and see if she falls asleep on her own. I think that is what my SIL did. I noticed that my daughter will wake up and fuss and when I finally give up and make the bottle a lot of times I will come back and find in that time she had fallen back asleep. BTW: at that age, you could also wean her off of that late night feed. She probably doesn't need it and is waking for comfort. Around that age, I started decreasing the amount I would give her until I gave him just water, and then after 2 nights it wasn't worth waking up for. Or just give her the binky at 11 and skip the feeding altogether. this would solve the gas problem in the night.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Hi E.---First, I think you should still be burping baby even though she is asleep. It'll still happen if it needs to. Secondly, if you think it is gas then you might want to watch what you are eating, if you are nursing. That would help there.

Otherwise, as others have said, you'll have to decide whether or not to let her learn to self-soothe or find the pacifer herself...or keep getting up to give it to her. I'd say if she's losing it and can't/won't find it, it's maybe time to get rid of it.

Is this your first baby? Take a deep breath. The whole situation is worse if you let it bother you so much, rather than just understanding it's part of the process with a baby. It'll be over soon. Good luck...and take a nap when the baby naps. D.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

You mention an occupational therapist, so I'm wondering why you have one for such a young baby? Does she have a condition that requires it?

My answer would be to get rid of the pacifier, as it seems to doing more harm than good. She needs to learn how to soothe herself at some point. Easier to get rid of it now, than later.

As far as not sleeping, that's par for the course for a parent. Babies/kids go through many stage, phases, and are constantly changing & evolving. She's only 5 months old, you could quite possible have a long time to go until you are well rested.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I'd just sleepwalk to her crib and stuff the paci back in. Or let her fuss a bit longer than you have been, sometimes they will just fall back asleep after a few minutes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I never had a baby or grand-baby that wasn't waking up every night at this age for a feeding. It is normal for the baby to wake up every night like this. It's part of being a mom or dad. You need to plan on this wake up, maybe take a bit of a nap during the time she goes down after 7pm.

What I have always found is that the later the child goes down the better they sleep during the night. If they are going to bed at 7pm they have their night of sleep by 11pm and are not going in to deep sleep. They are cat napping and sleeping much lighter, case and point here...she is not going back in a deep sleep because she has already had her bedtime and is not ready to sleep again.

So I suggest you alter her bedtime so that she stays up until sometime between 9pm and 11pm then do a feeding for her to fall asleep. I bet she does her deep sleep then and does not wake up after a few days of this new schedule until she is hungry in the morning.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I'm lucky that none of my kids ever really got that into a paci, but my sister's did. She also did the multiple pacis in the crib and that seemed to help quite a bit. If she's a bit young for putting it in her own mouth, I'd start trying to get her interested in grabbing it during the day time--give her practice at putting it in for herself.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Janesville-Beloit on

Have you tried the pacifiers that are attached to a very small stuffed animal? The brand we have is called wubbanub (they have them on amazon) and it is a small stuffed duck attached to a pacifier. Makes it much easier for them to grab it when they lose it. Also, I'm not sure if you are nursing or bottle feeding, but either way I'm wondering if you are certain that she's not hungry? It would be pretty normal for a 4 month old, especially one who is nursing, to want another nighttime feeding, especially during a growth spurt.
Good luck!



answers from Seattle on

Two words: Binky clip. My son was the same way. We clipped it to him and it didn't take him long to figure out that he could just run his hand down the ribbon, find the bink himself and pop it back in himself! Here's a link to a local operation that makes some really cute ones:
This is where I got mine!



answers from Cleveland on

dont let her fall asleep during her feeding, make sure she gets the gas out before going to bed OR you will have a miserable baby



answers from Phoenix on

This is about the time my youngest 2 boys started teething. Both had their first tooth by 5 months of age. I'm happy you have been getting great sleep up until this point. She will likely return to better sleeping patterns in a week or 2 regardless. Although most parenting books don't talk about it, there's a lot of babies who do not sleep through the night until they are toddlers or beyond (I'm one of those Moms that had 3 kids that didn't sleep through the night until age 2). Please just take care of her and don't be tempted to just let her cry. She needs you and crying/fussing is her only means of communication. Tending to her needs teaches her to trust you and develops security. It won't last forever....I promise. Keep giving her the late night feeding for she likely needs the nourishment due to the rapid development that occurs at this age. Wishing you and your husband a better night sleep. If you are desperate, you might (with your Dr's blessing) try a little Tylenol or Motrin and see if that helps. Skip the Hyland teething tabs everyone raves about because they are risky (please do your research if you are tempted to try them). Nurse Midwife Mom of 3

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