Hello tired parents!
I do not claim to have a magical solution that will work for everyone, but I seem to have accidentally stumbled upon a fix for my baby and I know this is a common problem.
My 2 month old loves his paci and even though he was "sleeping through the night" (i.e. no bottle needed), a few times a night he would grunt and whine when he found his paci had come out of his mouth. Between a weak suck and being 2 months old, he is not capable of returning the paci to his own mouth, so I would get up to replace it. At first, it only seemed to happen every hour or so from 2:30 to 5:30. Then, the frequency increased until I had two completely sleepless nights in a row, replacing paci every 10 minutes.
The next day, I decided we were getting rid of paci, cold turkey. The first day wasn't too bad. He cried for about 15-20 minutes as he tried falling asleep for naps. Naps were on the short side, as he would wake up (happy), as soon as a sleep cycle ended and he didn't have paci in his mouth to soothe him back to sleep. However, we both lived.
But, the next day he was inconsolable. He cried in the car, he cried during play time, he cried after meals. I couldn't even cuddle him without him crying.
I couldn't take it. I gave him back paci. I'm weak.
My husband and I discussed that maybe we would be sure to only give paci once other soothing methods had failed. We would do our whole bedtime routine and only put it in his mouth at the last minute if he didn't drift off. During playtime, we'll distract him and rock him if he gets cranky, but give him paci if he starts actually crying.
That night he slept from 8pm to 7am without waking up once.
The next night he slept from 7:45pm to 6am... without waking up once.
I think we somehow reset him. That day of no paci followed by modified paci usage adjusted his relationship with it. He doesn't require paci in his mouth constantly, though it's still his best soother, so he has figured out how to move between sleep cycles without it. I do see that the little wings on his swaddle (he uses the arms up love to dream) are wet in the morning, so he must be sticking them in his mouth for a quick soothe. As I type this, I'm watching him nap. Still asleep, he's just let out a little yell, placed his little fist in front of his mouth, and settled back down.
Again, I don't think this will work for everyone, but trying to reframe how your LO sees their pacifier might help. Maybe you don't have to go cold turkey first. Maybe you can just start holding it back a little at a time.
We've only had two wonderfully wake-up free nights and I am not quite naive enough to call this problem solved. I just wanted to share my experience, as I, too, spent many sleepless nights searching the forums for a solution. Good luck, Moms and Dads! I'm rooting for you!