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Breastfeeding 6-week-old wants to suck all the time - pacifier?

Dec 2002

Hi there, our little girl is 6 weeks now and although breastfeeding after the cesarian wasn't a problem, after nursing she just wants to keep barely sucking (it seems just to sooth her, because it isn't ''nutritive'' sucking). I wonder if the use of a pacifier would cause ''nipple confusion'' or otherwise create problems with breast feeding in the future? If anyone could share their experience or offer suggestions I'd appreciate it. Thank you and Happy Holidays


It took us a few weeks to get the hang of breastfeeding our son after a cesarian, and he too exhibited the sucking desire you describe. After hearing of friends who offered pacifiers from almost day 1, we offered him a pacifier at 5 weeks. If he is still hungry, he'll thrust it out (our indication to offer the breast again), otherwise, he happily comforts himself with it. We have never seen any signs of nipple confusion. Hope this helps! N
We gave our daughter a pacifier starting at about 8 weeks. We had had nursing troubles before then, so we waited a bit. We never had any trouble with the pacifier causing problems with breastfeeding. There is something else you might want to consider though - we spent at least 2 years having to always chase the pacifier down, and find it in the middle of the night when she was too little to do that for herself. We didn't give our second child a pacifier - we decided to let him soothe himself! anon
I have a 10 week old baby and she started using a pacifier at around 6 weeks of age. She didn't want the pacifier before then. The pacifier has absolutely been a lifesaver for us. She uses it to soothe herself to sleep and when she is cranky. It has not resulted at all in nipple confusion. She has no trouble nursing and is gaining weight at the appropriate rate. If we didn't have the pacifier, I think I would go crazy trying to calm her down. There are many times when NOTHING else works but the pacifier. anon
Xenia, Congratulations on the birth of your baby! It is wonderful that nursing is going well, and it is very normal that your baby wants to suck for non-nutritive purposes. Babies simply have a need to suck. For my sons, sucking on a pacifier served that purpose at times as did sucking on our fingers or on corners of burp cloths. None of these things in any way led to nipple confusion. In fact, even those most concerned about the concept of nipple confusion seem to say it's not an issue after 3 weeks of age. Also,if you want your child to learn to take a bottle 3- 6 weeks of age seems to be the best time to introduce it so that they have not developed such a strong preference for the breast that they refuse the bottle. anon
All kids are different, but our breast-fed daughter did not has any problems switching between nipple , pacifier , and bottle. She never exhibited any signs of ''nipple confusion''. I don't know how I would have made it through her first year without a pacificier! And incidently, she pretty much lost interest in a pacifier after about 14 months (although she still loved to nurse!). Good luck! another mom
Hi! I have three kids and one is using a pacifier so let me tell you what I think. If she does not cry, let her figure out a way to sooth herself. She might suck her thumb (2 of my kids did for a little while) or figure out something else. Since she is just about at the age when she may start colics... keep the pacifier for that more difficult time if she (or you!) needs it. I don't believe in ''nipple confusion'' only in ''parent confusion''! mc
I had a similar baby, he was a big sucker!!! He took to the pacifier around a month without interruption with the breastfeeding, I highly recommend it. I too had a c-section, so I know those issues! My doctor said once breastfeeding is well established, at about a month, it is a good time to introduce the bottle and pacifier. Good luck. Sally
Yes, those newborns really love to suck for comfort, don't they!! My daughter would sometimes ''comfort-suck'' for up to 40 minutes after finishing a feed! Needless to say, I frequently felt trapped to the couch and boppy pillow. We introduced a pacifier around 11 weeks and she didn't have any problems with continued breastfeeding. Actually I felt it took her some time to learn to hold the pacifier in her mouth (we almost had to ''teach'' her) and she definitely continued to prefer the breast for comfort sucking. I only gave her the pacifier at times I was certain she wasn't hungry. In particular, we found the pacifier helpful in the car (my daughter hated the carseat) and at naptime/bedtime once her sleep schedule became more patterned (this helped my husband and I to share sleeptime responsibilites). I think that once breastfeeding is well established, nipple confusion is less of a risk. I have heard of more babies refusing to take a bottle or pacifier than refusing the breast once they have mastered breastfeeding. binky baby's mom
Both of my children went back and forth between breast and pacifier. With my oldest the pacifier was given to him in the hospital nursery while I was in the recovery room after my c- section. He learned to nurse without problems although over the 19 mos he nursed we did have a few bouts of nipple confusion... usually a weekend with frequent breastfeeding cured the problem... it was usually worse during teething IIRC. I was more cautious with my second (basically I educated my husband about the risk of nipple confusion... something he had never heard of when we had our first, since I was the one reading all the baby books) and we waited until he was 3 or 4 weeks old to introduce the pacifier. He has gone back and forth without any problems since. My advice is to give it a try, my kids are/were pretty high sucking need babies and since I wasn't going to be available 24/7 to meet that need the pacifier was the best alternative option. The LC's I know recommend that you wait (as you have) to introduce pacifiers so that you can establish a good nursing relationship first, it sounds like you have done that too. Good luck; you may find that your baby won't like pacifiers too. Rose
At 6 weeks, with breastfeeding well-established, there is very little chance that introducing a pacifier would cause any problems. (And even if it does, you can always stop using it!) So go ahead and try it. If your baby likes it, just be sure you don't fall into the lazy habit of ''plugging'' her every time she makes a peep. If she refuses it, no harm done -- try letting her suck on your finger (nail side down) or helping her find her own thumb instead. Or try a different shape of paci.

My son used a pacifier from his second day (on the hospital nurses' possibly faulty advice) and is still nursing at 23 months. He gave up the pacifiers completely on his own initiative at about 7 months, so we didn't have to worry about weaning him off of them, either. So I think you'll be fine! Holly


How to get 9-week-old to take pacifier?

Nov 2008

My 9 wk old baby has trouble calming down and resting during the day. When she takes a binky, she totally calms down. But then she spits it out in seconds and works herself up again. I went to Babies R Us and bought one of every type of binky and she spits them all out but one...but that one she rarely takes anyway. Is there a trick to getting her to take one? She would be so much happier with one!! (My first was a happy binky sucker and slept like the dead and was so calm. And she gave it up really easily too. How strange how different they are!) binky-lover


we had a similar situation although nine weeks is still pretty early and with any binky they might spit it out. We tried the Playtex Binky Most Like Mom ones...got em on Amazon (couldn't find them anywhere else). They're straight like a- well, like a real nipple. Our daughter took to them immediately after rejecting all others. dp
Try giving your baby a small bottle filled with water. It sounds as if your baby spits out her pacifier as soon as she realizes it is not emitting any liquid. Thirsty
Dip the pacifier in ''Gripe Water'' - available from Longs or similar. It's used to ease gas & stomach discomfort in infants, but has a good flavor. My 6 week old loves it & calms down immediately! Good luck Happy Mom! Calm Baby!

Worried about 9-week-old's pacifier Use

May 2000

When my daughter was about 3 weeks old we began using a pacifier at the suggestion of her pediatrician. I was nursing every hour or so and the pacifier worked like a charm to calm her, satisfy her need to suck and lengthen her feeding times to every 2 - 3 hours. She is now 9 weeks old and LOVES her pacifier. When she is very fussy, it is the only thing that can calm her. I recently read that she should be weaned from the pacifier by the time she is 3 months old unless we want her to be a toddler who runs around with a pacifier in her mouth (and we DO NOT). Parenting is so hard. Just when you think you found the solution it turns out to be another problem! Any suggestions? Lisa


I can only tell you my experience. My son used a pacifier when he was an infant, and gave it up by himself when he was about a year. It was no problem at all. I think 3 mos. is an extremely early age to deny the pacifier when the sucking need is so strong in infants. C
to the person who wants to wean their baby from a pacifier. my daughter (19 mos.) still uses a pacfier and she's not running around with it all day. she uses it when she needs it (tired, upset or teething) as a comfort measure. If it wasn't the pacifier, it'd by my breast or her thumb or something else. So I guess my advice would be to re-examine your assumption that if you don't wean her now, she'll have one in all the time, or that a pacifier is necessarily bad (which is the feeling I got from your posting). Granted, there were times early on when sometimes it seemed likes my daughter used it "all day". But she was clearly a "non-nutritive sucker", and I wasn't about to deny her what she needed at the time. And now she doesn't use it much at all, by her choice.
To the mom with the 9-week old - You sound very anxious - which is a pretty standard way to feel when you're a first time parent. But take it from a seasoned Mom - there are issues and there are "Issues." Pacifier use is one of the "Issues" I think modern middle class parents have blown out of proportion.. If your daughter takes calm from the pacifier now, where's the harm? Everybody's happy when baby's happy, right? Nobody, no doctor, no parent, no "expert," nobody, can say whether your daughter will give it up when she's a few months older, or when she's a toddler. She'll decide when she's ready to give it up. This is not something you should waste time worrying about. You'll find that you'll have to choose your battles in parenthood (especially later on when she's a toddler) if you're gonna remain sane. Talk to parents with autistic children, or children with leukemia, or kids who've been hurt or abducted and they'll tell you what's really worth worrying about. The pacifier, the potty training, the sleeping/feeding/walking "Issues" tend to pale in comparison to real problems. Yes, parenting is hard work. But if you approach it with calm, good humor and lots and lots of common sense, it's not so very hard at all. My best advice is to surround yourselves with other moms. That way you can learn from their tips and horror stories, and have a support system at the same time.

Good luck to you! (and full disclosure: my daughter lost interest in her binky by 9 months...but she's 3 and refuses to be potty trained! Did I say pick your battles?!) Julie


My daughter loooved her pacifier as an infant and I was sure she would be running around with one (not the same one hopefully) as a three year old. However, she pretty much rejected it at about a year old. Occassionally we'll find one (we had so many) and she'll pop it in her mouth and regress for a couple of minutes, but I think it just depends on the child. I think most children who love their binkies as babies often give them up on their own as the need to suck kind of wanes. Elizabeth
Well, I know that pacifier use is a minefield, but frankly, I don't see why you care if you do have a toddler who uses a pacifier. Not an issue worth worrying about, to my mind. My son (as you probably can guess) is one of those binky-loving toddlers, but I feel quite sure that he won't be going to junior high school (or even kindergarten) with one. In the meantime, the pacifier brings him enormous comfort and has provided me with significant numbers of more peaceful moments. Peaceful moments are rare enough that a little binky usage is a reasonable price to pay. Wendy
This is just to say it is possible to have your baby use a pacifier and limit its use to sleep times as they get older. My daughter is 2 in a couple of weeks and she's been using a pacifier since day one. We only give it to her when she's sleeping or very upset. She doesn't run around with it in her mouth all day. For example, we never leave the house with it unless we're planning a nap in the car. (I have to say one problem we've had in the past is her losing it at night and having to wake up and find it for her--so limited use still has its drawbacks.)
My son also was also very comforted by his pacifier during his early months-- and it was a real life saver b/c it avoided all kinds of unnecessary crying and crankiness. He threw it away on his own when he was around 9 months old. So it is definitely not the case that just because a child uses a pacifier beyond 3 months of age that they will necessarily use it as a toddler. Karen

9-week-old won't take Pacifier

Oct 2001

My nine week old baby won't take a pacifier. She has a strong need to suck and tends to over-eat (nursing), spit up, and feel uncomfortable. How can I get her to use a pacifier? I've tried just holding it there and sometimes she'll suck a little while, but usually she rejects it and always spits it out if a let go. Thank you, karlyn


Some babies just don't need pacifiers. Mine didn't, but then I don't believe in them. They both had some because well meaning people kept giving them to me, but both babies really didn't stick with them. My daughter had more experience with one as she was born almost eight weeks early (before her sucking relex kicked in) and the nurses in NICU kept trying to stimulate the reflex by propping a nipple in her mouth, but she just didn't like it. They were both breastfed and bottlefed (I expressed milk while at work) and they seemed to prefer their little hands or the satin edge of their blankets. Plus I always tucked mynightgown in with them so they had a familar smell to comfort them. If you feel your child absolutely needs a pacifier, try a Nuk. They are shaped more like a mothers breast when it's being suckled and may feel more familar to your child's mouth. Marianne
My baby had a strong sucking need and a dislike for the pacifier. It seems like some babies like 'em, some babies don't. My understanding is that nursing babies don't overeat. Your baby's spitting up probably is caused by something else... a reaction to something that you're eating, possibly gastric reflux. I would check in with your pediatrician about that issue. Ilana
My daughter was very oral as well, and it took me until she was about 2 mos. old to get her to take a pacifier. Everyone kept saying not to give up, and then one day, magically, she took it from my mother. It made my life so much better, as she too wanted to nurse all the time. Of course, she was quite the binky-head, and now at 3, I have her down to only using it a tiny bit. So that's the price you pay. But for me it was worth it. My advice is to not give up. Try different types. Have someone else besides you offer it. Good luck. Hilary
That's fine! I think pacifiers are overused. I think it's much better for a baby to learn to learn how to self regulate without one. Babies are good suckers because that's how they need to survive - sucking means nourishment and eating. At nine weeks most babies will spit up. They may not yet know how much food they can hold in before taking a break from eating. As their digestives systems mature, spitting up and gastro problems will begin to go away. Be glad that your baby is happy without a pacifier and move on to more important issues - like reading his/her signals and meeting his/her needs with your attention, cleverness, and love not a pacifier. Dori
My baby (7 mos) didn't care for the pacifier at all until he started teething at 4 months. I tried it off and on and then one day he decided he liked it. The kind he likes is the Mam with the hard silicon nipple. He likes chewing on it. It's really handy for calming him down at naptimes and bedtime. Ginger
If you can stand one more message on this topic ... I had always thought I would never use a pacifier, but as luck would have it, our daughter was a little sucking machine from day one. Problem was, she didn't like the pacifier as a newborn and would only calm when nursing or sucking on a finger (ours, not hers). We were persistent, though, and at three months or so she finally decided to accept the pacifier. Then, at about seven months, she started spitting it out again. I decided not to push the issue, hoping that I would escape the trauma of pacifier separation three years down the road if I just let her make the decision then. And it seems to have worked: she's now almost three and not a particularly oral kid, nor is she particularly anxiety-prone either.

One key may have been that we did not give her the pacifier to suck on indiscriminately (we didn't just pop it in whenever her mouth was empty). It was always available when she wanted it, but we actually offered it to her only when she was agitated and needed comforting -- and even then, we didn't put it in her mouth, only presented it to her so that she could take it if she wanted; sometimes she did, and sometimes she didn't. I don't know how much that played into it -- I suspect our "success" was due more to her personality than to any genius we may have displayed as parents -- but I offer the information for what it's worth. Lauren


Propping 3.5-month-old with binky so she'll sleep

Sept 2003

I've taken to propping the pacifier in my daughter's mouth during naps and bedtime. Otherwise, I think she would never get more than 10 minutes of consistent sleep, thanks to digestive issues. I'd like to hear from former or current closet binky-proppers. Is this (lame) strategy going to bite us on the rump? I should mention her morning nap is taken in the Bjorn, often with the pacifier, so that it is long enough to give her some actual rest. But she is gaining weigh and my neck and back are getting sore. I should mention she is nursed regularly from experienced nursies. Signed, Binky-proppers anonymous


My son is only a few months older, so I'm no expert, but we were binky proppers. For those first few months, he would only sleep in his swing with the binky firmly in place. So, we did what we felt necessary for him to get his needed sleep and us to get a few minutes to do other things. As is my opinion on many issues, I think they will let you know when they are ready to be done with the binky and you should do what works for you and your family. He rarely uses his binky anymore, occasionally a few sucks to fall asleep, but then it falls out and he is not bothered by that. Perhaps we may regret its use in the future, but from what I'm seeing now, there have been no problems from our binky propping habit.
I've never seen how a binky can be propped, but don't you think it could be a suffocation hazard? Babies have the ability to gag and spit things out of their mouths for a reason, but if the binky is attached, what heppens if she needs it out to breath? I am ssuming you've tried other digestive reliefs like fennel tea, propping the head of the mattress, car seat or bouncy for sleep, or how about nursing until she is deep asleep (when her arm drops like a rag doll when its lifted). Food allergies may be an issue too. Jen
Egads...if the pacifier helps her sleep, then use it. I was soooooo excited when my husband finally got our baby to use a pacifier at 7 weeks. It helped calm her and gave my boobies a break (she had to be sucking to fall asleep). She has figured out how to suck her thumb now, so the pacifier is toast. If she is still addicted to the thumb in a few years, then we'll deal with the issue then. It isn't hurting anyone and makes her happy.

Don't stress about what other parents think of you. Everyone probably agrees that pacifiers are ugly, but they serve a purpose (as the very name suggests). You are the only one who knows what is best for your own baby and it sounds like you are doing the right thing by her by helping her sleep. anon


At your daughter's age, she needs to suck and she needs a pacifier (I imagine she's not yet nimble enough to be able to suck her thumb). In a few more weeks, though, her sucking need will go away and she may even start rejecting the pacifier on her own.
Your baby is only 3.5 months old! If the binky helps her sleep then so be it. She will spit it out or get rid of it when she is ready. My son in 10 months old and he loves his binky! I too worried about it at first... but then realized, that if it makes him happy then he can have it! When he does not want it he promptly spits it out. Now he begins his naps and nighttime sleep with one... and sometime during his sleep spits it out and continues the rest of his sleep just fine without it. If your child were 3.5 years old I would worry... but at her young age... she needs to self pacify, better the binky then your breast for an entire nap! Michelle
We used a pacifier somewhat regularly when my son was that age, with no problems. When he was about 7 months old, he rather suddenly stopped taking them. Which was sort of nice, since I knew we wouldn't have to deal with a plug-dependent toddler, but sort of annoying, because one of the tricks in our bag for getting him to sleep no longer worked!

So my advice is, don't borrow trouble. Your daughter may give up the binky on her own in a few months -- and if she doesn't, there's no reason to make her until she's about 2 years old. (At which point, dentists, I believe, advise getting a child off of bottles and pacifiers so that the sucking does not adversely affect the development of their teeth and jaw.) Plenty of time to not worry about it. :-) Holly


Weaning 4-month-old from Pacifier

July 2005

My husband and I would love advice about how to get our daughter to give up her pacifier. Although she is only 4 months old and we don't have an issue with her using a pacifier in general, it has become a huge problem at night. She wakes *at least* every twenty minutes and wants us to replace it if it's fallen out of her mouth. She just can't go to sleep (or get herself back to sleep during the night) if she doesn't have it. The same is true for naps during the day. We've been trying Elizabeth Pantley's method for the past few days but haven't had too much success (and it is extemely difficult to be consistent). Although she has started to suck her fingers a lot, she doesn't use them for self-soothing the way she does the pacifier. We're not inclined to let her ''cry it out'' and our few attempts in that direction were horrible. Is that the only way? We haven't done any kind of sleep training with her but she has been a relatively good sleeper until these past few weeks. Although she has used the pacifier since birth, she used to have no problem going back to sleep without it. Anyways, any advice would be much appreciated! Also, if anyone can recommend a consultant who deals with these kinds of issues, that would be helpful as well. Thanks so much.... Deb


We had the exact same issue with our daughter who is now 5 months old. She to has slept with her pacifier since birth. Seh is soothed by the sucking, which didn't bother us. What did bother us was that we had become slaves to the pacifier and her sleeping only on her side.

We had already made the decision to follow the Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby book philosophy, but wanted to wait until she was at least 4 months old. We finally ended up going for it out of complete exhaustion after getting out of bed every 15 to 30 minutes to turn her back on her side and give her the pacifier. I prefer to think of what we have done not as letting her ''cry it out'', but rather as helping her gain some independance and become a better sleeper. With that intention in mind, two weeks ago we began putting our daughter to bed and telling her that we would not be coming back in to put the pacifier back in...that she would need to find a way to soothe herself back to sleep if she needed to. She would fall asleep fine, but then wake up crying for it. The first two nights were the hardest as she kept waking up all evening and through the night, falling back to sleep for a little while and then waking up again. But after the third night, she has been sleeping from 7 or 8 p.m. until 6 or 7 a.m. with only one feeding in between (anywhere between 1:30 and 3:30 a.m.). She is waking up happier, is more content during her awake time and is falling nicely into the 9:00 a.m. and 1-2:00 p.m. nap routine that the book describes. And I have to admit that I am thrilled and feel extremely proud of her every time I go into her room and see her sleeping in a variety of positions, without her pacifier (sometimes with her thumb in her mouth). I won't say it was easy listening to her cry. And even now, two weeks into it, she still struggles in the evening. Usually falling asleep no problem and then waking up 30-45 minutes later and crying...sometimes for an hour. But after that she is down for the night and sleeping so soundly. I actually think the evening crying is due to her falling asleep with the pacifier and then still waking up and wanting it in the early evening before she's in the really deep sleep. We are considering doing away with the pacifier all together since she doesn't sleep with it throughout the night after it's come out.

So, my advice to you is to look at this from a big picture perspective and not from just what your needs are now (more sleep). What do you want for your baby? How can you help her/him become an independant sleeper who doesn't need you or a thing to fall asleep and sleep soundly? Your baby cries when she/he gets shots, but you still give him the shots because it's for a greater good...a bigger purpose. I believe that a few nights of crying is for the greater good and a bigger purpose of helping my daughter become a healthier and happier child by getting better sleep.

Feel free to email me directly if you want to discuss any further. Good luck!! However you go about doing it...just trust yourself...you know your child better than anyone. Nicola


4-month-old can't sleep without pacifier

Sept 2000

I'm wondering if I should get rid of the pacifier, and if so how. My daughter is four months old now and since birth we have been giving her the pacifier to fall asleep. THe problem is that she wakes up and needs it to fall asleep again. She takes four hour naps during the day but wakes up about every half hour and cries until i replace the pacifier. At night she wakes up also but not on a regular basis. For the last three nights it seems like she is having gas pains and so I replace the pacifier several time during the night, but other nights she sleeps thru the night. Jackie


I went through the same thing with my first son. I didn't get rid of the pacifier because it gave him so much comfort. At about 5 or 6 months, he was able to find it by himself at night and I didn't have to retrieve it for him. I read all of those books about getting rid of his Nuk at different ages and chose to ignore them. After a while, he only used it in bed. After about age 3, he didn't suck on it any more, he just rubbed it on his and my cheek for comfort. Just a little after he turned 4, he gave it up on his own. When he turned 5, he gave up his bottle. I never thought he would, but he did both on his own. He is a content, well adjusted boy and his teeth are in perfect shape. Linda
Our daughter did the exact same thing. At first, the pacifier was a blessing--once I figured out that she would go to sleep easier and a little longer. Eventually though, she would cry when it fell out, and we had to wake up more & more frequently to give it to her so she could get back to sleep. After much reading on sleep issues, we pulled the plug! We took the binky away cold turkey, and lo and behold--our baby got used to it in a day or so--and learned other ways to comfort herself back to sleep. In the end, I'm glad we took it away when we did, cause if we had waited any longer, she would have just grabbed it herself and who knows how many years she'd still be sucking on her pacifier. It's different for everyone of course, but I recommend just doin' it. Good luck. Hileslie
Our son loved his pacifier from Day 1. Our pediatrician suggested we get a pacifier "leash" so it wouldn't be too far from him and he could find it in his sleep. At every well-baby appointment our pediatrician discouraged us from trying to force our son to give up his pacifier, saying that no child ever used a pacifier in high school. Our son finally gave it up at around age 3.5 after we refused to replace those he was pulling apart himself. He never had any ill effects from the pacifier, and it gave him a lot of comfort. He did use it to help him fall asleep, but after he gave it up he was able to train himself to fall asleep. Fran

4.5-month-old needs pacifier to go to sleep

April 2004

We have been doing very well with our 4 1/2 month old daugther getting her to sleep in her crib on her own BUT our only prop is the pacifier. We can put her in her crib fully awake but she needs her pacifier to fall asleep. For naps this is fine because she may lose it and we will replace it one or two times and she is off to dream land. For the nightime though it is a different story. Some nights are better than others but most of the time she will sleep from 8pm to 3am without needing the pacifier replaced. At 3 am she needs it replaced every hour or so. We love the fact that we can put her down fully awake but I am feeling like I am becoming the slave to the pacifier. I am in much need of a full nights sleep. Any recommendations would be so great. Thanks. Needing a full nights sleep


we had the same problem - we transitioned slowly to a blankie (the lighter kind of receiving blanket) on which he ''grazes''. they are bigger than a pacifier so that when he wakes up in the middle of the night (or nap) he can easlily find it again and put himself back to sleep. blankie lover
We had the same experience with our son and the only way out (after trying the ''no-cry sleep solution'' and similar techniques) was to let him cry at night when he woke up and wanted his pacifier. Another technique I've heard about (but didn't work for us) is to leave a whole lot of pacifiers in the crib. Our son still uses the pacifier for his naps, but it only took 3 days for him to learn to fall back asleep byhimself - though it wasn't easy hearing him cry! EP
I am sure you'll get lots of people recommending ''the no cry sleep solution'' from Elizabeth Pantley. It contains lots of advice and explains a technique to gently teach your baby to not require sucking to fall back asleep. Do you know that your baby is already sleeping through the night though? from 8 pm to 3 am it's 7 hrs straight and technically sleeping through the night is sleeping for 5 hours straight. You are a lucky mum!!

Our 4 and 1/2 mo loves to suck her pacifier to sleep and we use it only for that. Once asleep (she too falls asleep on her own) often she loses it or we take it out and she's no bothered by it. She then wakes up at 3 am too and yes, I could continue to stick the thing in her mouth and that would make her fall asleep again, but she would continue to wake up every hour because after 7-8 hours SHE IS HUNGRY and this is perfectly normal at this age! Once I feed her she happily continues to sleep until 7 am. It's a lot less work to feed her that replacing the bloody thing. If however, you know that your child is not hungry then you could try the Pantley method, but the fact that your baby sleeps soundly for 7 hrs and then wants to suck suggests she'd rather have some milk. good luck! sleeping-through-the-night-mum


Using the Ferber Method for pacifier loving 5-mo-old

December 2004

I'm considering using the Ferber method on my baby to establish a regular bedtime and an easier going to sleep routine (she already sleeps well through the night most nights). She is almost 5 months old. Does anyone have experience doing this with a baby who is very reliant on a pacifier to go to sleep? Mom Ready for Regular Bedtime


We had a paci addicted baby who had me running paci patrol all night for the first 4 months. I did a cry it out at 17 weeks-- put her paci in went she went to sleep but didn't put it back when it fell out, just let her cry it out. It was awful, but it did work. She forgot all about the paci and started sucking her thumb- and after the first night the crying was minimal.

That being said, I wouldn't do it the same way again. I would put her to bed without the paci, and pat her and soothe her for as long as she cried. This is how I did sleep training the second time round, as I couldn't handle cry it out. I followed advice from 'the sleep lady' (do a google search) -actually, I hired her to help me. She has a booklet on sleep training and I liked her technique better than any other, Sears, Ferber, etc- -her method I found to be kinder and gentler yet it worked really well.

Feel free to contact me if you want more info about what we did and when. Good luck! Laurie


Hi Mother of Pacifier Loving Baby!! I want to tell you that if you are interested in weaning your baby from a pacifier, 5-7 months is a great age. Their memories are short and it takes only a matter of days before you can eliminate it. First start off my reducing/eliminating during the day then slowly work on night time. If you can begin introducing another sort of transitional object or consistent routine, it may be easier to begin the weaning process. You don't want to change too many things in your babies' world at once, so you may want to start with the pacifier then move on to the Ferber training (or vice versa). The bottom line is you can utilize the Ferber method w/pacifier because once they start sleeping well, they won't wake for the paci. I know a lot about helping babies develop good sleep habits because I have a consulting service that helps parents with sleep issues. I own a business called DoubleTalk which offers workshops for new mothers of twins, but I also offer DoubleTalk- To-Go which is my sleep consultation service. I have guided many families with helping their babies sleep well(usually two at a time!) You can ready more about my services at http://doubletalkfortwins.com/togo.html and some testimonials on my 'what people are saying page' My twins were sleeping through the night at 12 weeks (Ferberized), and no pacifiers at 5 months. Good luck! karen www.doubletalkfortwins.com Karen
Wow! 5 months old and already sleeping through the night... do you know how lucky you are? My 12 month old only started sleeping through the night about a week ago. Before that, he was up at least 2-3 times a night for nursing, soothing, etc. He also is using a pacifier and has a lovey, but I am pleased that he can use these to help sleep through the night without us. Infants have a true need to suck, and 5 months seems young to wean her away from it. From what I have read, pacifiers don't do any more dental harm than thumbs, but may be a little easier to wean from vs. a thumb when the baby is older. Enjoy your sleep! Grateful for the binky
Get rid of the pacifier. Now is the perfect time -- between 4 and 5 months babies start spitting them out, and you're having to pop it back in all the time. My son LOVED his pacifier as a baby, but I got rid of it at 4.5 months on the advice of Good Old Dr. Spock. I couldn't believe how easy it was, and it will make life so much easier for you in the long run. Getting rid of it was such a big help for sleep, because he was sucking himself to sleep and then waking up whenever the pacifier slipped out of his mouth. Obviously you don't want to do both (sleep training and pacifier weaning) at the same time -- that's a lot of stress for a baby. Get rid of the pacifier first, and let your daughter come up with some new comfort habits -- you can help. Then, in a few weeks when she's adjusted, do Ferber. If you need it. (And, BTW, I think sleep training is great.) nelly
Our baby uses the pacifier to fall asleep. For the longest time she was waking up crying 2 times everynight and only norsing would calm her down. At 10 months after 2 months of night wakings we did a little crying. This way she learned to fall asleep by herself and now knows that she doesn't need the pacifier however she still uses it (she sucks until asleep, then loses it but doesn't cry because of this). There are no rules on how to do this. Just let your baby cry for a few minutes or longer depending on how much you can stand it. When you go in the room, comfort the baby as long as you want, speak softly and rock a bit. Always put the baby down awake and leave the room. Our baby cried 20-30 minutes the first 2 days then 1 minute and now she just goes to bed without a peep. Once your baby can fall asleep by herself in the evening, you can go to her and do whatever you always do to make her sleep now (giving paci back, nursing, rocking) when/if she wakes up at night. This is because she is already learning it and it's less hard on everybody to avoid lots of night crying. I felt that our baby was tired to to have to call us to be put back to sleep everynight and that she was much happier once she learned to sleep by herself. We put 4-5 pacifiers in the bed for her to find easily and a bottle with cool water (we find it almost empty in the morning so she must be drinking it at night)

I read that it is not adviced to let them cry before 8 months. At that age their sleep pattern changes and is more similar to adults'. We used the same method for naps and now she sleeps anywhere. Hope it'll work


We used Weissbluth (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child) for sleep training starting at 4 months, and our son still used a pacifier to fall asleep for night and naps until 2yrs. He sleeps from 7:30pm to 7am! It was also MUCH easier to get rid of the pacifier than I had feared, so I wouldn't worry too much about it at this point. Good luck.

6 month addicted to pacifier, won't take bottle

Feb 2008

Hello, my six month old has an aversion to the bottle that started when he had acid reflux. He has since grown out of the reflux, but still has the aversion. He is exclusively bottle fed and eats a small amount of solids (never has been a big eater). Before, we would give him the pacifier, then take it out and replace with the bottle. That worked for a while but now, when we take out the pacifier, he crys and will not take the bottle. Finally, he will take it after about half an hour to an hour of trying. Feedings are becoming a nightmare! I tried taking the pacifier away completely but he just cries and won't eat! Help! Desperate mom


Just a thought, have you checked for signs of teething. When my son was teething, he really ''needed'' his pacy for long durations of time...especially when I couldn't provide face time/play time. I try to limit his pacifier use (i.e he uses it to fall asleep during naps/bedtime but I remove it after he's been asleep for about a half hour.) If your 6-monther is used to having his pacy all day long, maybe you can wean him of it when he's actively engaged and alert and maybe not use one 1/2 hour before his feedings. Good luck. fan of a pacifer

6-month-old cries, wakes us up, when pacifier falls out

April 2007

please give me your advice...i'm at the end of another rope. my little peanut is now 6 months old and i'm ready for her to sleep through the night. i've night weened her already and now the problem lies with her pacifier. i've attached it to a rope thing, so that we can find it easily. i've tried to teach her to suck her thumb, like her sister, but she won't have it. in the middle of the night, she will always cry for me to pop the little nuk in her mouth and i'm TIRED! this is my second angel, and i know that life with little ones is basically lived in a sleep deprived state, but i really would like to hear other stories about how parents have survived this battle. in need of sleep


My child also uses a pacifier and while I sometimes wish she didn't in some ways it is better than a thumb as when want her to stop you can take that away. My advice is to just let her cry it out a bit. She will eventually figure it out and either find it in her crib or learn to sleep without it. For a while I also would go back in and give it to her but that was helping no one. I wasn't getting sleep and she wasn't learning the valuable lesson of self-soothing. I know letting children cry is a controversial issue but it didn't take long for my child to figure it out and people always comment on how happy she is so I don't think there is any longterm damage. She started sleeping in 8 hour stretches by 5-6 months even while still nursing. Good luck! Emily
It won't be long 'til your baby can find them on his/her own. I know that putting a string of any kind on them is a no-no as far as strangulation issues and the like. We just loaded up the crib with paci's, got up frequently to replace them (maybe for 1-2 months?) and then at about 8 months our son could find his own and replace it. We still keep a bowl of them near our bed (up high where he can't sneak them during the day) so they are there for us to grab when he loses them out of the crib (maybe once a week?) He's two and still happily sucking and happily sleeping. Paci suckers have fewer teeth issues than thumb suckers. And, I've never heard of a baby switching to the thumb or vice versa once they're hooked. In any case, sucking is instinctual, so please let him/her keep the paci longer than this. -Paci Mama (and Papa)
One trick is to scatter a bunch of pacifiers around the crib so she can find one easily. I strongly caution you against attaching the paci to a ''rope'' or anything that can get around your daughter's neck and restrict her airway. Paci mom
I didn't read the original post, but after reading a few replies, I had to chime in. We ended up with a toy stuffed pelican to hold pacifiers in the crib. It's some sort of a crib toy as it has a tie at the top, but it has an opening along the bottom - supposedly to hold ocean type toys - that perfectly holds 2-3 pacifiers. We start the night with them all in there, that way when our son wakes up throughout the night, he knows exactly where to go to find another pacifier. heather

6-month-old baby dependent on pacifier to sleep

April 2007

Our 6-month-old son is sleeping pretty well (wakes up about 3 times a night) but seems unable to go back to sleep without a pacifier. We can now take it out a few minutes after he falls asleep, but we'd like him to go back to sleep without our having to get up and stick it in. We're trying to remove it a little earlier each time, but if we take it before he's really asleep (as in Elizabeth Pantley's Gentle Removal Plan), even if he's very close to sleep, he gets re-aroused and cries. Any advice about how to break the habit?


What's your hurry to get the pacifier out of your 6 month's mouth? Babies have an intense need to suck, and the pacifier fulfills it. There is nothing wrong with it! You talk about ''breaking the habit'' like your baby is an alcoholic or something. It soothes them and they feel better, and sleep longer, what's not to love? At some point, your baby won't want it anymore. Why hurry the process? Mom of six month old, too!
babies have sucking needs that are very strong. evolutionarily they are designed to suck a lot more than modern life allows, and sucking at night is associated with lessened SIDS due to better brain arousal patterns. you may want to just let it go. 6mos is still very young. anon

6-month-old waking at night when pacifier falls out

Jan 2005

I have a 6 month old daughter who is used to falling asleep with her pacifier at night and during naps. When she wakes up at night and discovers that her pacifier is not in her mouth, she cries for it. I end up having to run in her room to give it to her about 5-7 times a night. How do I wean her of this habit? I'm thinking about letting her cry it out, but I don't want to be cruel since she's just starting care with a nanny in another person's home and is going through a lot of change. I also don't know if I get her off of it at night, does that mean she can't have it for naps either? If anyone was in a similar situation, do you have any advice to offer? Help, neither of us are getting good sleep! MB


We had that problem and didn't want our son to cry it out either. We ended up getting a pacifier holder at the store. It has a clip that attaches to the shirt and then a ribbon that you attach the pacifier (about 5 inches long). We attached it during the day and he quickly realized that he could have his binky any time he felt like it. It worked during the night after about 2 nights and we haven't had the problem since. DiAnn
Put 5-6 pacifiers in the crib, she soon will master the ability to find them at night. If this doesn't work, try a gentle crying approach like the one described in the book Sleeping through the night by Dr Jodi something (I didn't agree on some of the things she talks about, but I swear by this book). It worked wonders for us, however our baby was ready for it because with few minutes crying for a couple of days she started sleeping through. In fact we know she wakes up at night because we find the pacifiers moved around and her night water bottle is empty, she just has learned that is perfectly OK to be alone awake in her bed and there's no need to wake up mamma.
I feel for you there! The pacifier helped us through many dark hours with our newborn, but once he was 4 months old or so, he started to act like an addict, jonesing for it and crying simply in anticipation of it. He started waking up more and more often, until at 6 months he was waking every hour. I have heard of three options for dealing with this problem:

1. You can stick it out until the baby is able to retrieve a pacifier herself, then put several of them in the crib at all times.

2. You can try the Elizabeth Pantley method (_The No-Cry Sleep Solution_), where you gently remove the pacifier after the baby has sucked for a few moments and gotten some comfort. If she cries, you replace it and try again. This is supposed to train the baby gradually to fall asleep without props, so that when she wakes up, she won't miss it. (Personally, I thought this was too difficult. It felt mean pulling the pacifier away over and over again . . . but different babies respond differently I'm sure.)

3. You can try the Ferber method (_Solving Your Child's Sleep Problems_), which is a gentle cry-it-out method. Basically, you would first try to reduce the amount of time the baby uses the pacifier during the day. Then you would start to go in and provide loving pats and whispers but no pacifier in the night. The baby may cry, but you continue reassuring her every 5, 10, or 15 minutes until she falls asleep. This is a really kind and effective way of teaching babies (over 4-6 months old) to sleep on their own by letting them try it. Frankly, I think it is a really sensible solution for most families; it doesn't deserve so much controversy! I encourage all tired moms to read this book before deciding against so-called ''cry-it-out'' methods. Of course, it is not for everyone, but it should not be traumatic!

I don't mean to make this into an advertisement for Ferber, but his book really saved our family. Now my baby gets a good night's sleep every night. I can't even count how many hours of crying this has spared him in the long run. And now he couldn't care less about those precious pacifiers! I wish you the best of luck. ekclowes


We had the same problem with our older child, but with our second we began attaching the pacifier to her clothes with a clip (short so that it just reaches her mouth if she turns her head, no possibility of strangulation) and she very quickly became adept at finding it and putting it back in her own mouth in the night. Of course that doesn't solve the problem of weaning her from the pacifier, but it does allow you to get some uninterupted sleep for now. mom of 2 ''lolly'' addicts
Please let your baby keep it's pacifier. I had the same problem, but I had to remember that she was just a baby & she needs some form of comfort. It's truly okay to still use the pacifier. I finally rid my daughter from hers at 18 months. To finally wean her off I would poke a small hole in it everyday without her knowing about it. The air will keep seeping in & eventually she didn't want it anymore because of it. So get some sleep & let your baby be a baby. If not, you will regret it later saying ''My baby grew up too fast'' Shelly
I had a very similar situation. My sister convinced me that I should get rid of my baby's pacifier at about 4 mos. because this exact scenario of middle-of-the-night-wakeups-without- pacifier might happen. Well, I didn't...and it did. The good news is that not too long after your baby's age, my son learned to put his ''binkie'' back in his mouth. I'm now in the habit of spreading a few around the crib. If he wants it, he'll find it. More often, he'll let it fall out until morning. I have emphasized to him (now 17 months) that binkie is *only* for the crib which he adjusted to very well. You'll get a lot of different advice, but I do think a pacifier is helpful for teething kids. They'll have a high sucking need for a while yet. If you decide to do without, the ''No Cry Sleep Solution'' has a method for weaning from pacifier. Good luck... locoups

6-month-old nighttime binky addict!

March 2004

i'm sure this is a common problem, but i haven't seen exactly our manifestation and am wondering what to do to get our household some sleep (including baby). our breastfed nearly 6-month-old was down to one or sometimes two feedings a night, with little or no fussing in between. this was at 3-4 months. the last few weeks, she has been a totally different, restless sleeper at night, waking as often as once every hour (!). she is not hungry -- or not particularly hungry -- and doesn't want to be held. all she wants is her pacifier put back. her naps have not changed -- she is a great little napper. she is displaying some teething symptoms, but no teeth showing as of yet. as you can imagine, we are all nuts. she's also thrashing a lot more (she sleeps half in her cradle, and halftime with us, in our room because we have no extra room for her). the funny thing is, if we let her fuss for a while, the crying only escalates a little bit. she does not become (that) hysterical. nor does she go back to sleep. what she does is become fully awake! obviously not great for anybody, including her. note: she is not binky addicted during the day, and rarely needs it for naps. (okay, sometimes, but not always by any means.) advice? comfort? suggestions? oy. kim


Been there, done that -- except that when he was teething, my son had no interest whatsoever in a binky, and he gave them up entirely at 7 months.

If the binky works for your baby, use it. You might even try putting a dozen of the things in her cradle and work on teaching her to find one and get it into her mouth on her own; at 6 months she may be able to do so. Even if she does end up being the type who's addicted to the thing through preschool, well, there are worse comfort objects and at least she only uses it to sleep.

The good news if the disruption is caused by teething is that teething is temporary. We always had really bad nights about two weeks before anything was visible in our baby's mouth, but teeth always followed the really bad nights. Each spell tended to last several days and then he'd be back to his former wake- once-per-night-go-right-back-down-nursing self.

We also found that letting my son fuss for a few minutes when he woke at night, as so many people advise, was counterproductive. If we responded *instantly* and began rubbing his back and 'shh'- ing before he actually woke fully, he'd settle back down quickly. If we waited it out at all, he'd be crying within minutes and then nothing would get him back to sleep except nursing.

Experiment. Do what works for you. And ignore all the well- meaning advice you'll get from people who don't know what is best for *your* baby and *your* family. Holly


I don't know if I can give you any advice, but I can commiserate. Our 6 month old is doing the same thing. She sleeps w/us and the past few nights have been very unsettled. She thrashes about with her eyes closed, wimpers, isn't hungry, is soothed by paci, but starts all over again even if the paci is still in her mouth! Sometimes it helps to take it out let her cry a bit and then put it back in. It is as though she is seeking to have some need met, and since we can't figure it out, we create a need we can satisfy. Poor thing. We are manipulating her so that we all can get some rest. One thing I have heard that may explain for both our experiences is that six months is a common growth spurt for infants and their bodies can be in overload. mcm
Both my son (now 9 months) and my 3-year old daughter got really restless in their sleep, and really ''chewy'' (wanting something in their mouths ALL THE TIME, as your daughter seems to be doing with her ''binky'') while they were awake just *before* cutting teeth. So even though no teeth were in evidence yet, they were working really hard on teething. The only thing that helped them sleep better at night was regular doses of baby Motrin. It helped them during the day, too, but we only dosed them with Motrin if their ''chewyness'' was also accompanied by total crankiness. :-) Have you tried giving pain meds? My kids seemed to be most bothered by their teeth before they actually showed up--once the teeth cut through the gums, they started sleeping better again. Good Luck Donna

6-month-old - all she wants is her pacifier put back

Jan 2004

i'm sure this is a common problem, but i haven't seen exactly our manifestation and am wondering what to do to get our household some sleep (including baby). our breastfed nearly 6-month-old was down to one or sometimes two feedings a night, with little or no fussing in between. this was at 3-4 months. the last few weeks, she has been a totally different, restless sleeper at night, waking as often as once every hour (!). she is not hungry -- or not particularly hungry -- and doesn't want to be held. all she wants is her pacifier put back. her naps have not changed -- she is a great little napper. she is displaying some teething symptoms, but no teeth showing as of yet. as you can imagine, we are all nuts. she's also thrashing a lot more (she sleeps half in her cradle, and halftime with us, in our room because we have no extra room for her). the funny thing is, if we let her fuss for a while, the crying only escalates a little bit. she does not become (that) hysterical. nor does she go back to sleep. what she does is become fully awake! obviously not great for anybody, including her. note: she is not binky addicted during the day, and rarely needs it for naps. (okay, sometimes, but not always by any means.) advice? comfort? suggestions? oy. kim


Been there, done that -- except that when he was teething, my son had no interest whatsoever in a binky, and he gave them up entirely at 7 months.

If the binky works for your baby, use it. You might even try putting a dozen of the things in her cradle and work on teaching her to find one and get it into her mouth on her own; at 6 months she may be able to do so. Even if she does end up being the type who's addicted to the thing through preschool, well, there are worse comfort objects and at least she only uses it to sleep.

The good news if the disruption is caused by teething is that teething is temporary. We always had really bad nights about two weeks before anything was visible in our baby's mouth, but teeth always followed the really bad nights. Each spell tended to last several days and then he'd be back to his former wake- once-per-night-go-right-back-down-nursing self.

We also found that letting my son fuss for a few minutes when he woke at night, as so many people advise, was counterproductive. If we responded *instantly* and began rubbing his back and 'shh'- ing before he actually woke fully, he'd settle back down quickly. If we waited it out at all, he'd be crying within minutes and then nothing would get him back to sleep except nursing.

Experiment. Do what works for you. And ignore all the well- meaning advice you'll get from people who don't know what is best for *your* baby and *your* family. Holly


I don't know if I can give you any advice, but I can commiserate. Our 6 month old is doing the same thing. She sleeps w/us and the past few nights have been very unsettled. She thrashes about with her eyes closed, wimpers, isn't hungry, is soothed by paci, but starts all over again even if the paci is still in her mouth! Sometimes it helps to take it out let her cry a bit and then put it back in. It is as though she is seeking to have some need met, and since we can't figure it out, we create a need we can satisfy. Poor thing. We are manipulating her so that we all can get some rest. One thing I have heard that may explain for both our experiences is that six months is a common growth spurt for infants and their bodies can be in overload. mc
Both my son (now 9 months) and my 3-year old daughter got really restless in their sleep, and really ''chewy'' (wanting something in their mouths ALL THE TIME, as your daughter seems to be doing with her ''binky'') while they were awake just *before* cutting teeth. So even though no teeth were in evidence yet, they were working really hard on teething. The only thing that helped them sleep better at night was regular doses of baby Motrin. It helped them during the day, too, but we only dosed them with Motrin if their ''chewyness'' was also accompanied by total crankiness. :-) Have you tried giving pain meds? My kids seemed to be most bothered by their teeth before they actually showed up--once the teeth cut through the gums, they started sleeping better again. Good Luck Donna L.

7-month-old wakes frequently wanting pacifier

Jan 2004

Help! For various reasons, our 7-month-old son wakes up VERY frequently throughout the night, and starting soon we'd like to begin some form of ''sleep training.'' (I plan to buy the Weissbluth book that others have recommended.) My question is: We have unfortunately let this kid develop some bad habits, and I'm wondering how they relate to sleep training. At night (but not during the day) he is hooked on his pacifier, and wakes up crying MANY times after bedtime simply wanting me to pop it back in his mouth. Once or twice during the night the pacifier won't work and he wants a bottle instead, which I've been giving him. And sometimes all it takes to get him to go back to sleep is to hold him, which I do. I can see letting the baby ''cry it out'' if ALL he wants is to come out of the crib and be held, but it seems awfully harsh to make him go cold turkey on pacifiers, nighttime feedings, AND being held at night, all at the same time. But if we continue to indulge any of these, does that sabotage the possibility of sleep training? Or if you've had experience weaning a baby of these habits one by one, in what order did you do it? I want to get my own sleep back, but don't want to torment my poor baby either. (Having him join us in bed, by the way, is not an option for us.) THANKS!! Anonymous


Regarding bottles, pacifiers and sleep -- we have an 8 month old, and about 6 weeks ago we finally called a ''sleep expert'' - Meg Zwieback - because we were having the same kinds of issues as you. The baby would be up 2-3 times a night, and was hooked on the pacifier. Needleess to say, Meg recommended that we eliminate the pacifier, which we did cold turkey. I was not a fan of ''cry it out'', but it only took 3 or 4 days (the first was the worst - maybe 1/2 hour of crying, then 10 minutes the next day, then 2 or 3 the next), and after that he started sleeping from 8 pm to 4 am or so, when I would nurse and then we'd go back to sleep for a few more hours. During the time we were weaning him from the pacifier I also slept in another room (we co-sleep) so that he wouldn't expect to nurse instead of getting the pacifier. It seems amazing, since we'd tried everything, but it worked. The theory is that whatever they depend on to get to sleep is what they'll need when they wake up in the middle of the night. So now we try to get him to sleep initially without pacifier, bottle, nursing, etc. Good luck.
I think you should just do what feels right week by week. Our first boy was similar to your child. High maintenance, needed to be rocked, nursed, and didn't learn to fall asleep alone until he was about 3. Even now at 3 1/2, he usually makes his way into our bed sometime during the night. Ferber didn't work for us. We didn't do the family bed either. I agonized at times over what was the right thing to do, especially after listening to how other moms did 'sleep training' and how great it worked for them. But now we have a baby girl who is 11 months and she is completely different with us doing the same things. She won't sleep in our bed even when we want her to! We can leave her awake in her crib and she'll cry for maybe 30 seconds and then fall asleep. I think it's genetic more than what we do or don't do. So my advice is to do what your heart tells you to. Some weeks you'll want to nurse and hold him until he falls asleep and other days it'll drive you nuts and you'll need to let him cry a bit. I think they're both ok. Just keep yourself sane.
Before you begin with any sleep training program, you should rule out medical causes for your son's nightwaking, as well as any other causes that can be removed, such as being underdressed, overdressed, teething, allergies to flame retardent sleepwear, overstimulation during the day, too much sugar, caffeine in your diet (if you breastfeed), etc. Check the book, ''The No Cry sleep Solution'' out of the library and try it before using the more harsh methods. Listen to your own instincts about what to eliminate (perhaps bottle, then pacifier, then rocking/holding). Good luck, you have my sympathies. Jennifer R
Missed the original posting, but i just want to echo the sentiment that you should just take it week by week. Our two girls have responded very differently to sleep training and are very different sleepers.

We gave the older one a 5am bottle until she was about 18 mos; we don't give the younger one any milk at night (she's only 14 mos). We took away the pacifier from the older one when she was 6 mos. The younger one still uses the pacifier at night.

I am still a big advocate of sleep training and feel it has helped both girls, but who knows what ''success'' means in this area - you'll just need to find a happy compromise between your needs for sleep and your child's natural habits. camille


9-month-old needs passy at night

Oct 2003

We give our 9month old daughter pacifier to help her to go to sleep at night and during nap time. I can feel that it really helps her and she gets comfort from sucking it. I am not eager to take it away from her. But the problem is that when she wakes up during night, she crys for it and one of us needs to find it and put it back into her month (she cosleep with us). After that, she usually fall back to sleep. Is there a way I can somehow train her or make it easier for her to get the pacifier herself? Yi Our 12-month-old still uses a pacifier for naps and nighttime sleep, and it wasn't until he was about 10 months that he could look for it and put it back in himself when he woke up. You may want to try a pacifier clip that you can get at Long's or other store that sells pacifiers. Then it can't get very far from her.


Keep several of them in the crib. My son had at least 5 in his crib at one point. good luck
We put several pacifiers in our son's reach to help him locate it at night. That might be a bit more difficult with co-sleeping, but if you can find a way to make that work it increases the chance your baby will be able to find it and put it back in her mouth. Anonymous
My daughter is now 14 month, and still uses her pacifier for naps and nite. We leave an extra pacifier at the corner of her crib when she was around 9 month old. When she loses her binky at night, she always know where to find another one. Unless she was too tired that she didn't bother to look for it, then we will get up and help her. So, may be you can start to find a place where she can reach to her pacifier easily in the middle of the night. mom happy with a binky baby
Our son is 2.5 and he still needs his pacifier at night, and even sometimes during the day, although only using it at night is his current ''big boy challenge'' [parent suggested, of course]. He slept with us for his first year, then nearby in his crib, soon into his own room, and now in his own room in a regular bed. We spent the better part of that time waking up at least once a night [a LOT more earlier on!] to find him his ''boppie''. We tried spreading them around his crib, but he still is like the tasmanian devil while asleep and there was no way anything else in bed with him wasn't going to get pushed out onto the floor within the first few hours of sleep. In fact, he frequently ends up on the floor, even with 2 walls and 2 barriers around his bed's perimeter. We ended up just keeping a few back-ups nearby where we could easily find one on the middle of the night. In the end, it's not so hard to get up once or twice when you know he'll go right back to sleep after it's popped back in. And since he has never latched onto any other special comfort item, if it's going to be his boppie that does it for him, I guess I'll support that little thing. -Jean

9-month-old waking at night - passy or nothing

March 2003

Help! We have a 9 month old boy who wakes up repeatedly throughout the night. The only thing that soothes him is a pacifier. So, we go to sleep, hear the cry, wait a few minutes (sometimes less if we are really startled, sometimes more if we have our wits about us) and half the time he goes back to sleep on his own. The other half...we have to toddle in to put the passy in his mouth. We've tried letting him cry it out, and after 20 minutes of sharp wails we can't take it any more. Picking him up doesn't work, patting doesn't either. It is the passy or nothing. When I've had a decent night of sleep I'm willing to just have him cry away, but my husband isn't there yet....he always gets up. Our baby doesn't use the pacifier any other time, other than to go to sleep, and during the night. Suggestions, or do we just have to wait this out? BTW, it's been months like this already, so I'm looking for some advice here. Other than these nocturnal stirrings he's a great sleep. Down at 7:00 pm, fed a bottle around 10:00 (which our pediatrician has encouraged us to keep doing) and wakes the next day at 7:30 pm. Suggestions? sleepless in rockridge


I had the same problem with my son from the age of 5 months to about 7 months. At that point I discovered that if I gave him a blanket, he'd snuggle up with it and that seemed to soothe him enough that he'd fall asleep without the pacifier. He also seemed to stay asleep better -- I think the difference is that, if he wakes up, the blanket is big enough for him to find and and snuggle up with again. He even naps better -- his naps went from 30-45 minutes to 1.5-3 hours in the space of a week or two! Who knows if it'll work for your son, but might be worth a try! -- no longer sleepless in Oakland
We had the same situation with our son. After trying a series of useless tricks, my husband and I gave in -- would just get up and pop the pacifier back into his mouth. We were both able to fall right back to sleep, so we figured brief awakenings were better than being up for longer periods of time while we tried other things. We did say, ''go back to sleep'' or ''it's time to sleep'' when we put it in his mouth, and eventually we got to the point where we could just call out, ''go back to sleep'' and he would without our having to get up (kind of a Pavlovian conditioned response thing.) Anyway, he grew out of it by about 18mos. Christine
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