Need advice about baby going to sleep. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 04-03-2014, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all. My baby boy is 4 months old. He's a really easy baby, but we're having some difficulty lately, and my husband and I aren't really sure what to do.
My baby took a pacifier within the first few weeks of life. He's used it since to soothe himself when he's a little hungry, and to put himself to sleep. Up until now, we would place him in his bassinet wide awake with him suckling his pacifier and within 5 to 10 minutes he would fall asleep on his own. Then after an hour or so he would drop the pacifier without waking up and sleep through the night without it.

Now... Well, if he wakes up and the pacifier isn't in his mouth, he would start complaining until one of us goes to him to put the pacifier in his mouth. After that, all good, except that he keeps waking up more and more often with this same scenario, having us wake up and get up taking turns to put that thing back in its place, all night long.

Needless to say that this is driving us crazy. We've been sleeping through the night since he was a month and a half, and we don't want to go back to those interrupted nights again!

What should we try? And why is this happening now? He's desperately suckling and biting his hands with his gums during the day, and producing a lot of saliva. Would this two things be related?

Should I try to wean him from the pacifier? I see it so difficult... I tried today but he would complain and complain until I gave him the pacifier, and after that he was immediately asleep. It really really helps him, but how do I keep the damn thing from falling from his mouth?

One thing I should clarify, the same scenario happens during naps. He's been sleeping on his side during naps and now he's preferring that position for nighttime too, when he was actually a good back sleeper. Also, we used to swaddle up until recently, because he is strong and he ended up with the blanket all over his face. We also use white noise, just during the night (not for naps). He sleeps in our room.

What do we do??
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#2 of 13 Old 04-03-2014, 10:33 PM
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My guess is he is hungry and needs to be fed when he wakes at night. I know it's so hard but it is perfectly natural for him to be waking at this time. My suggestion to you would be to bring him either into your bed or right next to your bed so that you can easily feed him when he wakes without disturbing too much of your sleep. This too shall pass! What he's doing is normal, and he's waking because he needs you. :-)

FYI- I love pacifiers. Both my kiddos have one. I think your little one is beginning to become more aware and so he realizes the paci isn't the real thing. Totally normal.

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#3 of 13 Old 04-04-2014, 12:02 AM
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He's possibly teething, and that's what is waking him up more than anything.  Another possibility is a growth spurt where he may be needing some extra calories at night.

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#4 of 13 Old 04-04-2014, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Dalia, it didn't occur to me that he may be hungry. The reason is because when he's hungry, there's no paci in the world that would soothe him, trust me, he can't be fooled, he knows very well the difference between his food and his paci. When he's hungry and eventually not fed, he goes back to being a little baby, with inconsolable high pitch crying. Food is the only reason he cries for. Sometimes he wakes up from naps screaming, like he hasn't eaten in days, it's so sweet.
He is, however, changing somehow. He's sleeping a lot more, so maybe a little nighttime feeding may soothe him.
We usually move him to our bed in the mornings, but in general he sleeps better on his own, because both me and my husband move a lot at night, waking him up, and we actually don't really rest because he's there between us and we're scared we might suffocate him.
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#5 of 13 Old 04-04-2014, 01:58 PM
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I found that my baby's sleeping patterns changed quite a bit at 4 months. It's like the transition from newborn to infant. We stopped swaddling at this point and moved to a sleep sack and we moved him to his crib. He has slept better since, not perfectly, but better. You will just need to observe and make changes as needed.

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#6 of 13 Old 04-13-2014, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I wanted to update that I did two things to help my baby sleep better: I feed him moments before going to sleep, even if he ate an hour ago. And I took his pacifier, and attached a towel to it (through the ring), to have the towel support the paci when he drops it. The towel is set in a way that doesn't interfere with his breathing, and at the same time, he hugs the towel and falls asleep easily (he sleeps on his side). When he wants to suck the paci at night, he can find it because it is right there, supported by the towel.

I got this idea from babycenter, there's a lot of mothers complaining from this same issue. There's even a company that manufactures stuffed animals with a paci attached to it.

Eventually my plan is to wean him from the paci, but right now it helps him with his suckling needs, and since it is recommended to help "prevent" SIDS, I'll let him have it for now.

He still wakes up in the morning, looking for his paci, when he moved it too far away, but not as often as before.

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#7 of 13 Old 04-15-2014, 04:13 PM
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My kids didn't sleep well at 4 months, so I'm probably not the right person to ask, but I have a couple suggestions that might make your life easier.


- If you don't want to put your baby in bed with you, because you move to much, it might make sense to use a co-sleeper or bassinet or something to keep him close enough to you that you don't have to physically get out of bed to give him the pacifier back.


- Based on my experience nursing my kids (who for awhile seemed to think then could only sleep when the boob was in their mouth), the best solution for me was to get them used to letting go. When my kids nurse, I wait until they are almost asleep, then say "time to let go" and remove the breast. If they complained when they were tiny, I put it back in their mouth and tried again in a few minutes. Eventually they're so tired, they seem to think, "okay, take it, whatever, just leave me alone." After awhile (months) they would just let go right away as soon as I asked. That was when they finally learned to stop fussing for it whenever they woke up. I think it might be worth trying something similar with a  pacifier.


- Personally I let my kids use a pacifier once in awhile and they never seriously sucked their thumbs, but I know mothers who specifically taught their kids how to suck their thumbs to avoid this problem.

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#8 of 13 Old 04-16-2014, 02:43 PM
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Sounds like he is asking you for comfort and to ease his hunger, as you have said.
Sometimes easy babys need to make a bigger fuss to get the attention they need, and it sounds like he has done just that.
I hope you have him sleeping somewhere close enough to you so that you both can keep communicating at night, as these changes in sleep and needs are a real and important constant in the life of baby and mama!
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#9 of 13 Old 04-18-2014, 12:04 AM
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The sleep pattern you describe sounds just like my firstborn (now going on 4)... slept through the night from about 6 weeks then waking frequently starting around 5 months. Except we didn't ever give a pacifier, and she only sucked her thumb for about a month around 3 months and then gave it up.... so what she wanted was, yes, the boob in her mouth, even though previously she had been put down awake and peacefully put herself to sleep.

I attributed it to the onset of teething in the end. And I nearly lost my mind from sleep deprivation along the way (don't despair anyone, I wasn't smart enough to ask other mothers for ideas!). We actually found that she would sometimes sleep better away from me - with my husband, in another room, she would get back to sleep without milk. But if I was nearby (smellable, perhaps!) nothing else would do.

4 months is still pretty little and your little person is still very needy. I know it's cliche but it's true - agonizing though it is in the moment, soon it will be over... good luck.
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#10 of 13 Old 04-20-2014, 03:43 PM
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You might like this, on infant sleep
Waking is normal, it's envelop mental an reduces SIDS. I read somewhere pacifiers do not help with SIDS, because it's triggering the sleep hormone and baby doesn't wake as often as they should, they stay in a deep sleep longer.
But, some families really like pacifiers. Baby will find fingers and thumbs, you could take the paci away now and prob not have as much a problem as you would later on.
Is baby close, like in your room, so you can address his needs quick, and everyone get back to sleep smile.gif
Also, the drooling, probably teething. They can start sucking fingers and fussing more way before they cut teeth. Nursing usually helps, if you're breastfeeding. It's a natural anagelisic.
This is a short phase, seems like it goes forever though.
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#11 of 13 Old 04-21-2014, 10:35 PM
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I remember our first son slept through the night early on but his sleep went to crap at 3.5-4 months - waking something like every 45 minutes, 90 minutes tops. AGH. This was when he was too strong for the best swaddle, too. The only thing that helped him was nursing just a tiny bit, that often, throughout the night, with him right next to me. With our second son (3 months now), we use a pacifier occasionally. I feel like I use intuition to tell whether he wants to suck or wants to eat. It can get confusing sometimes with an easy baby, who will put up with being forestalled when hungry, so I think it is worth it to try more real feedings. Co-sleeping saved me and it might help you, if you are up for it. Getting up and down so many times a night is so hard, and I know because I've tried it so many times. Our second is sleeping well now, but with me because I am anticipating the change.

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#12 of 13 Old 04-25-2014, 08:44 PM
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My baby went through a really fussy stage at four months. At first I thought he was teething but then I assumed it was just a growth spurt. I just nursed him constantly until we got passed it. He has never slept through the night though. We co-sleep and I nurse him while laying down if I just need to soothe him in the night.

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#13 of 13 Old 04-25-2014, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by KKsMomma View Post

I. It can get confusing sometimes with an easy baby, who will put up with being forestalled when hungry, so I think it is worth it to try more real feedings. Co-sleeping saved me and it might help you, if you are up for it. Getting up and down so many times a night is so hard, and I know because I've tried it so many times. Our second is sleeping well now, but with me because I am anticipating the change.

It can be so easy to miss cues with an easy baby.

Bed sharing and co sleeping has saved my sanity with all of ours. We're still bed sharing and during growth spurts or teething, it's so nice to be right there to offer breast, and baby settles right back to sleep, so do I smile.gif even when we had the bassinet next to the bed it was still easier than trucking down to another room, where baby was upset by then.
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