5 Sleep Issues After Taking Pacifier Away 

5 sleep issues after taking pacifier away

5 Sleep Issues After Taking Pacifier Away 

Pacifiers can be as much of a comfort for our children as they are for us as parents. We learn to rely on pacifiers to help ease our sweet infants and wild toddlers into sleep. For some older toddlers, a pacifier is an item they have grown to love. The thought of getting rid of it is heartbreaking for both the child and the parent. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reducing pacifier use and thumb sucking by 18 months and weaning pacifiers between ages 2 and 4. The milestone of ditching the pacifier is important for multiple reasons: oral development, verbal development, to name a few, but ultimately, removing the pacifier can cause sleep issues to arise in your child.

Cold turkey and a slower weaning process are the main ways that families drop a pacifier. The cold turkey approach is less confusing than other methods and avoids discomfort/frustration that your child may go through. You simply stop offering the pacifier for bedtime. You’ll want to pick a sleep training method that you feel comfortable with and apply that if they are having difficulty falling asleep. 

Although this isn’t my favorite approach, some families are more comfortable with another option that involves offering the pacifier initially, and then one more time if it falls out. But after that, you should not replace it. This will help your child learn to sleep with or without the pacifier. To learn more about weaning your infant or older toddler off a pacifier, check out this blog: Weaning the Pacifier: The Best Tips for a Smooth Transition


Create a paci box for your older baby or toddler to put their pacifiers in to say goodbye. Make it a special activity for them and encourage them by offering a small reward (a sweet treat, small toy, 1:1 time with a parent, etc.) every time they put the paci in their box and leave it there. 

5 Sleep Issues After Taking Pacifier Away 

5 Sleep Issues After Taking Pacifier Away 

Whether you are starting the process of getting rid of the pacifier or in the middle of the processing, it can be difficult and it can impact sleep. Some children adjust and transition quicker than others, taking a pacifier weaning can affect children at any age in the following ways: 

Difficulty Staying Asleep:

Removing the pacifier can disrupt the soothing routine that babies know and love which can lead to some difficulties throughout the night. The adjustment period your infant or toddler goes through when taking away a pacifier is common and it is frustrating for both the parent and child. During this transition, it is essential to continue following your nap and bedtime routines, which promote relaxation and comfort, without the pacifier. 

Frequent Night Feedings:

Without the pacifier to soothe them back to sleep, babies may wake up more frequently during the night seeking comfort. As parents, this can feel overwhelming and exhausting, especially when it happens 10 or more times a night. You may find yourself slipping into a habit of feeding your child to fulfill their need for comfort so you can get some rest as well. It’s crucial for you, as the parent, to be patient in these situations and offer reassurance without immediately resorting to feeding or replacing the pacifier. With time and consistency, these wakings will pass.

Shorter Sleep Cycles:

Removing a pacifier can disrupt sleep cycles which can temporarily lead to shorter overall sleep durations. As babies and children adjust to sleeping without the pacifier, they may experience more fragmented sleep patterns, and less restful sleep. It is essential for parents to be consistent in their sleep training approach or method to help their child gradually adapt to sleeping without a pacifier.

Increased Night Wakings:

Are you going back and forth from your room to your babies room to replace a pacifier all day and all night? This can be so exhausting! Babies who are accustomed to using the pacifier to self-soothe may wake up more frequently throughout the night after its removal. This can be challenging for parents who are accustomed to putting the paci back in and going right back to sleep, BUT it can be short lived. With appropriate routines, wake windows, and sleep training methods, it can ease the transition for you and your child. If your child is at an appropriate age, you can also introduce a comfort item (lovely, stuffed animal, blanket). 

Resistance to Sleep:

Some babies and children may resist falling asleep after the pacifier is taken away. This can lead to naptime and bedtime resistance and struggles which can stem from the discomfort of losing a familiar sleep association. For infants, this may be increased crying. For toddlers, this may be prolonging and resisting naptime and bedtime. As a parent, you can support your child through this adjustment period by offering alternative comfort items (if they are at an appropriate age) and continue maintaining a consistent sleep schedule with appropriate awake times and sleep times. 

Sleep Shore Sleep Consulting

Is your little one having difficulty self-soothing (with or without the pacifier)? If your child is unable to fall asleep, stay asleep, or wake up at a normal time, it may be time to consider sleep training. Sleep Shore offers personalized solutions for each unique sleeping situation to get your little one on track- whether they’re a newborninfant, or toddler. Sleep training offers babies and children with the skills to fall asleep on their own so they can wake up feeling more well-rested- and in turn, you’ll feel more energized, too! See what this mama had to say about our sleep services below: 

“We started a program when our LO was 17 months. He was fed to sleep every night and up every 2-3 hours and sometimes took up to 2 hours to go back to sleep. I was completely exhausted and knew I needed help. I had seen a recommendation from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen on Instagram for Molly and decided it was time to pull the trigger.

Molly was very accommodating with our anticipated start time and provided plenty of information and support both before and during the “training” period. We ended up using a couple methods before finding the one that worked best. Being able to message Molly and keep in contact with her during the whole process gave us a lot of confidence in pressing on. Our little guy took to the program so well and we even traveled with him recently with great success! I would absolutely recommend Molly and am grateful every day that we made the decision to reach out to her.”


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