Our 14 month old is sleeping pretty well these days (last night down at 8pm, woke at 7 for a drink, still in bed with mum when I left the house at 8am!)

However we do have a problem with him losing his pacifier overnight.

For a start we only use the pacifier as a cue when we feel that he needs to chill - so it forms part of the night time routine. Pacifier, cuddle, story, bed, sleep.

Works pretty well. Often he will not have the pacifier in his mouth when we check on him before we go to bed.

Trouble is, if he wakes in the middle of the night and the pacifier has gone out of immediate reach, then he will cry and wake us up. Returning it to him and he will generally fall straight back to sleep.

We feel that if we could stop using the pacifier then perhaps we would get better sleep.

(He will sleep in the car and being cuddled without one, just registers it as a cue to settle down when not completely exhausted)

4 Answers 4


At the age of your child we were sticking to Dubs' idea of dumping multiple pacifiers in the bed. While there were still times he would knock them all out of the way and we had to go help it did severely cut down on the number of times we had to get up.

By age 3 we were ready to cut them out altogether (it was only a night thing, like you). He expressed interest in some mid-priced toy ($15-20 USD, something like that) so we offered to buy his pacifiers from him for the price of the toy. Made it an impulse decision for him right there in the store. We got home and collected the pacifiers, he enjoyed his toy. At bedtime he asked for his pacifier but we reminded him of the deal he agreed to and the cool new toy he got - did the trick. Over the next few weeks he asked about pacifiers a few times, and we may have had one or two fits that he couldn't get them back, but it never impacted his sleep.

May not work for your child at the current age, but it may be a helpful idea later in life or for others who find this question.

Note -- I wouldn't encourage any sort of bribery as a regular part of parenting, but I think has a place in encouraging/rewarding major changes in a child's life.


I have three boys, with my youngest still using a pacifier.

What worked for me was cutting a triangle-shaped notch out of the end of the pacifier and then giving it to my toddler son. If done correctly, the notched pacifier will look like a forked tongue.

My son would immediately spit out the damaged pacifier with a confused look on his face. I'd say, "Uh-oh! It looks like it's broken! You'd better go throw it away!" I even had him place it in the trash himself.

The first night without it was pretty rough -- some crying throughout the night -- but other than that it was no problem at all.

Note: In the mean time a solution to the "lost pacifier" is to dump 4 or 5 pacifiers in your baby's crib at night. He's bound to find one of them.

Hope this helps!


We decided to enter our 2.5 year old's imaginative world to help him lose his dependency. The focus was on replacing it with something more appropriate for his age - a cuddly toy.

About a week before we wanted to throw out the pacifier, every night we'd reiterate the same thing:

  1. He's a growing big boy and soon he'll be too big for a pacifier;
  2. We will use magic to turn the pacifier into a special friend.

After a few night he starts showing excitement at the idea of a new special friend.

On the day we got a red box and explained to him what we needed to do and why, reiterating that he's too big for a pacifier.

  1. Put the pacifier in the magic box and close the lid;
  2. Go into the garden and perform the first magic (your partner can then replace the pacifier with the cuddly toy);
  3. Go into the house and perform the second magic on the box;
  4. Ask him to open the box to see if the magic worked.

When he opened the box his eyes lit up and he couldn't stop cuddling his new rabbit. He even went over to his three other favourite cuddly toys and introduced the rabbit to them.

Bear in mind that it's a difficult concept. It took a few nights for him to truly understand that the pacifier was gone forever. He would ask for the pacifier back, throwing the rabbit down. We just reiterated what happened and let him experience the emotion of loss by saying things like "It's sad isn't it that your pacifier is gone. Let's have a cuddle."

It's been over a month now and he doesn't ask for it anymore. He realises the rabbit is a replacement and he loves his rabbit. Some night he would re-tell the story to us, explaining why he didn't have a pacifier anymore.

He does, however, have trouble falling asleep because the pacifier was helping him calm down, so it will be a while before he's fully adjusted.

  • 1
    Downvotes should be accompanied by a comment. What don't you agree with?
    – Jon
    Jul 6, 2017 at 6:05

Two ideas, Number one let him cry it out in the middle of the night (if you are comfortable with this) Number two to get rid of the pacifier all together start cutting of a bit of it at a time to make it shorter and shorter until it is gone. This way your child will get used to not having it in a slow manner. (this worked for us!)

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