Sucking is not just a reflex in babies that prompts them to turn their faces towards their mother’s breast but it also helps to calm them.
Every baby likes to suck on something, some suck their thumbs, hands or fingers and hence, most of the babies stay happy with a pacifier.
Pacifiers are an important part of baby-parent life. But, every baby is different and sometimes parents find it very hard to make their babies take a pacifier.
How to Get Baby to Take a Pacifier? If you are one of those parents struggling to get your baby to take up a pacifier then this post is just for you. The trick is — introduce the pacifier when your baby is about to finish her feed or when she is asleep.
Try, try and try again– even if your baby spits it out every time you introduce one. Let’s discuss the different pacifier-related situations in detail.
How Can I Get My Newborn To Take A Pacifier?
If your baby is exclusively breastfed, then introducing your baby to pacifiers earlier than two to four weeks may lead to nipple confusion.
However, there is no such concern with formula-fed babies. Sucking is an important milestone for babies and on average, babies usually take around four weeks to master this skill. Hence, it is advisable not to start the use of pacifiers until at least one month.
- Wait for at least one month, allowing a consistent feeding pattern to establish before introducing a pacifier
- Be patient and consistent
- Try to give a pacifier towards the end of the feed, while the baby is content but still sucking
- Try to gently tap your baby’s nose or cheeks– tapping activates the sucking reflex and helps them to latch
- Try to give a pacifier when your baby is asleep as sucking soothes babies and help them to doze off
Try reverse psychology
when your baby takes the pacifier in her mouth then pull it a little. Then, allow your baby to suck in a little and after a few seconds and pull it back a little. Babies respond to this reverse psychology trick by sucking harder.
Try this technique three to four times a day for about a week. Practicing this technique just for 10 minutes every day will move your baby a little closer to her pacifier every time.
This reverse psychology trick works because babies think that whatever is in their mouth belongs to them. Hence, when you try to pull the pacifier away, they respond by resisting the pull. Soon, they start accepting the pacifier instead of pushing it out.
Wait for a proper breastfeeding routine to establish before introducing a pacifier to your newborn baby. Even when the baby is old enough, it is not necessary that your baby is ready yet for the pacifier.
Every baby is different, while some babies are sucking machines, others will reject the pacifiers every time you give them one. You have to be consistent and patient while introducing a pacifier to your baby.
Try every day or every other day but never when your baby is crying or is cranky.
It is best to try a pacifier when your baby is showing signs of sucking– licking their thumb, fingers or fist. These are signs that your child is in a fun mood and wants to play or interact with you.
But don’t give a pacifier when your baby is tired or hungry, these are not the time for introducing anything new to your baby.
Tapping your baby’s cheeks or nose triggers the baby’s sucking reflex. Most parents achieve success by using this trick. Whenever something touches babies cheeks their sucking reflex is initiated to help them latch. Alternatively, you can also shake the pacifier a little inside the baby’s mouth to make them suck it harder.
How To Get A Breastfed Baby To Take A Pacifier
Introducing pacifiers to breastfed babies can be a difficult task for parents. Breastfed babies are used to opening their mouths wide for sucking breastmilk and hence sometimes dummies won’t work that easily with them.
Mothers of newborns are often overwhelmed by their baby’s desire to feed. But, it is not always possible to provide your baby with the food and comfort of the breast.
However, pacifiers act as a substitute for sucking at breast and hence there is a risk of affecting your breastfeeding relationship with your child– especially if your child hasn’t mastered the skill of breastfeeding yet.
While suckling is a newborn reflex, latching isn’t. Latching is a learning curve, some babies know the mechanics of latching since the very beginning, others might take a couple of weeks or even longer to get good at nursing.
To get your breastfed baby to take a pacifier, try the following tricks:
- Wait until a consistent feeding pattern is established to avoid nipple confusion
- Try to offer a physiological design as breastfed babies are used to open their mouth wide for latching
- Try different kinds of pacifiers. Sometimes, latex pacifiers work with breastfed babies as they are softer than silicone pacifiers. You can try different designs of pacifiers and let your baby decide which one works best with her. There is a wide range of pacifiers at Amazon. You can try different models and materials for your baby.
- Try when your baby is content. Not when your baby is hungry, upset or crying hysterically.
- Tap the pacifier a little when in your baby’s mouth. Tapping your baby’s cheeks and nose also helps to trigger sucking reflex.
- Try to make the pacifier tasty by dipping it in breastmilk or formula. This trick brings your baby a step closer to liking their new dummy. Some babies might suck it for a few seconds till they can taste the bait, others might keep sucking it for comfort. Never dip pacifiers in honey or any other sugary syrup or flavors.
- Try offering a warm or a cold dummy. Dipping the dummy in warm water or putting it in the refrigerator might help your baby to accept it. You can try these temperature techniques to know which one works for you.
How To Soothe A Baby That Won’t Take A Pacifier
No matter how hard you try, some babies simply may not accept a pacifier. Also, whether to offer your baby a pacifier or not is a personal decision for parents are there are pros and cons attached to pacifier use.
Pacifiers provide non-nutritive sucking to babies and this helps them to calm down by:
- Relaxing the baby
- Releasing endorphins in their brain
- Providing sucking comfort and security
- Helping to encourage sleep.
However, if your baby has never accepted a pacifier then don’t worry, there are many other ways that you can try to soothe your baby:
- Newborns often love rocking and bouncing. You can try different gears that meet the CPSC standards of safe sleep like cribs, bassinets, play yards, and portable cribs.
- Use white noise to soothe your baby. White noise is an excellent tool to calm your baby–even when they cry hysterically. White noise imitates the womb sounds and helps your baby to feel secure and comfortable being around a familiar womb-like environment. A variety of white noise machines(My Favorite) are available on Amazon. Also, you can simply download the white noise apps on your mobile and try different sound options for your baby.
- Swaddling your baby creates a womb-like cozy and secure feeling. Many parents find swaddling extremely helpful to calm their fussy baby and to help them sleep for longer durations.
- Sing a song, your baby’s favorite lullaby or just a familiar tune to soothe your baby.
- Give a massage to your baby. Massage the soles of her tiny feet, her arms, legs, stomach, and back. A gentle massage relaxes the baby and also makes them sleep for longer durations.
- Take your baby for a walk, the visual stimulus and fresh air together might help to relax your little one.
- Avoid overfeeding your baby
- Check for the reasons why your baby is crying. Mostly, babies cry for reasons like hunger, sleep, wet or soiled diapers, overstimulation, when they are bored or tired, when sick, when they have a fever or when they aren’t dressed comfortably. Look for these signs and try to correct them to soothe your crying baby.
Is it normal for a baby to take a pacifier for a few weeks and then stop?
Absolutely, don’t be surprised if your baby suddenly gives up the habit of sucking a pacifier. You can try to re-introduce the habit by following the above tips and wait for a few weeks.
What are the best tips for pacifier use?
- Use one-piece pacifiers to avoid the risk of choking
- Always use pacifiers made from natural rubber or silicone
- Ensure proper cleaning and sterilization of pacifiers before the first use and after every use.
- Never dip or coat pacifiers in honey or sugary liquids
- Never try pacifiers around your baby’s arm or neck.