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If you are wondering how to make your baby take the pacifier, you’re in good company! It is quite common that a baby refuses the pacifier.

Let’s go through 6 simple tricks that can help your baby accept the pacifier in no time!

how to make your baby take the pacifier

First, you desperately want them to accept the pacifier, and then 3 years later, you just as desperately want them to stop using it… Parenthood in a nutshell, LOL!

Well, before diving into how to make your baby take the pacifier, let’s take a look at the risks and benefits of pacifier usage.

Risks & Benefits of Pacifier Use

Maybe you’ve also heard that a child using a baby pacifier will get ugly teeth and have trouble learning to talk. (So now we feel both desperate and as bad parents at the same time…)

Well, studies show that these risks are way overstated.

Risks that DO exist are that the pacifier can interfere with the establishment of breastfeeding – if the pacifier is introduced too early, AND that the teeth can be affected if the pacifier is used by older children.

So, the recommendation is to wait at least a month before introducing the pacifier and wean your child from the pacifier at around 2 years of age.

While the risks of pacifier use seem limited, there are clear benefits of using a pacifier when babies are young, at least if used in a safe and hygienic way.

The most important benefit is that it seems to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). (Find a research reference here.)

Two other benefits are that mom doesn’t have to be the baby’s human pacifier and that it is easier to teach the baby to fall asleep on its own if he uses a dummy.

Last, as many babies suck on something anyway, a pacifier might be a good alternative because they can be thrown away. It might be much harder to help the baby (or toddler when the day comes) to break the habit of sucking his thumb.

Young babies need to suckle. Many babies have a strong urge to suckle, especially during their first four months. After these first months, the need slowly decreases.

So, easy decision, go ahead and buy one. Put it in the baby’s mouth, and… he spits it out?! Again and again..? Yes, many babies do refuse the pacifier!

Look below for a few tips on how to make your baby take the pacifier.

If you want to learn more about safe dummy usage (how to wash it, when to throw it away etc), you’ll find tips on using baby pacifiers here.

6 Tips on How to Make Your Baby Take the Pacifier

1. Wait a few weeks

Don’t introduce a pacifier until breastfeeding has started to work if you plan to breastfeed. Sucking on a pacifier and breastfeeding are two different techniques, so the baby can get confused if you start too early with the pacifier.

The general recommendation is to wait for a month after birth with introducing the pacifier if you plan to breastfeed. I did that with my first baby.

With my second baby, the breastfeeding went so well that I tried to introduce a dummy when my newborn was less than two weeks old. It didn’t work at all! Not that it interfered with breastfeeding, he just didn’t want to have anything to do with a pacifier.

Actually, none of my babies were interested in a pacifier until they were 2.5 months old.

So don’t give up!

2. Be patient

baby refuses the pacifierEven when the baby is old enough for a pacifier according to the recommendation, there is no guarantee that the baby is ready. It may work immediately, after some time, or never. All kids are different.

Try every other day or so and not when your baby is crying hysterically.

You are much more likely to have luck with the introduction if you go slowly and think of the pacifier as a toy at first, not as something to immediately soothe your baby.

As I mentioned, in my experience, it may also work a bit better once your baby is not an absolute newborn anymore.


3. Try when your baby is content

It is very tempting to try the pacifier in some desperate situation when your baby is crying at the top of their lungs.

Forget it!

No one, baby or adult, appreciates having an unknown object shoved into their mouth when upset. YOu can be sure that your baby will refuse the pacifier in such a situation!

Let your baby get used to the pacifier when he/she is a little bit tired or showing signs of wanting to suckle or even just as a fun interaction with you! But not when he or she is starving or too tired!

4. Tap it

Some parents notice that their baby immediately starts to suck on the pacifier if they put it in his mouth and then tap it lightly with a fingernail.

Another trick is to shake the pacifier a little bit inside the baby’s mouth.

Both these tricks trigger the baby’s instinct to suckle.

5. Make it tasty

Another trick is to dip the dummy in breast milk or formula. This way, the pacifier will taste good at first and possibly make your baby at least accept keeping it in the mouth for a few seconds – may be enough to associate the dummy with a good feeling.

6. Try different kinds

So, which is the best pacifier? Well, the answer is that the best pacifier is the one that the baby likes!

There are all sorts of different pacifier styles and materials that you can offer your baby. He or she might not like the first one you choose.

All my children have preferred pacifiers made of latex or natural rubber rather than silicone. I don’t know why, but maybe it is because they are slightly softer.

But there are really no baby pacifiers that are harmful to your baby’s teeth today. Just pick and choose the style you (and your baby) like.

So these were my tips on how to make your baby take the pacifier. Do you have any additional tips to share on what worked and not! Leave a comment and help a fellow mom! :-)

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This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Em

    My baby is four months old and still won’t take it. It’s becoming a problem a she wants to suckle to an hour and a half at bedtime and during nighttime wakings. I’ve tried everything here and on other sites, I’m desperate. She clearly wants to suck but when the milk flows she sputters and arches away.

  2. Milley

    I tryied everything but it wont work I don’t know what to do.

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hi Milley,
      Yes, some babies will never want a pacifier. And for some, it just takes some time. How old is your child?

  3. Paula @easybabylife

    Just try it! I don’t think a particular age is too late. But some babies won’t ever want a pacifier. :-)

  4. Luz Yalj

    Yeah well, I tried it all. Nothing works. He doesn´t even want a bottle of my own milk.

  5. Roberta Beckert

    A pacifier just isn’t natural. Think about it: we humans have at least 300,000 years on this planet and evolved from more primitive hominids, none of whom used an artificial item for babies.

    1. Paula @easybabylife

      Totally true, Roberta! Just as with diapers or strollers. And we don’t have to use any of all these things if we don’t want to! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. Yessica T

    How about taking the bottle? 😪 I have to return to work in a few weeks and my little one does not want take the bottle

    1. Paula @easybabylife

      Hi, Yessica!
      I know exactly how that is! Will your baby thereby transfer to formula too or only to the bottle? I had huge problems with getting my daughter to take the bottle – only to finally realize that she hated the formula. (She used to be breastfed.) When I switched to another brand, she suddenly couldn’t have enough! :-D But even just the bottle can be difficult. I will add two links for you to two different posts I’ve written on exactly this topic. See if they help with ideas on what to do and please come back either to say it helps or to let me help you with more ideas! Here are the posts:

      Good luck!

      1. Yessica T

        Hello thank you so much for replying. I am breastfeeding ( I pump ) I am open to feed some formula as well. My baby is two months old.

        1. Paula @easybabylife

          Hi, I think it is great that you will continue breastfeeding as much as possible, since a lot of reaseach seems to point to great benefits of that, especially for the first four months.
          Does your daughter use a pacifier? If she does, you can try to find a bottle nipple that is as similar as possible to the shape of her dummy. Also let her try the bottle often when she is not hungry – just for something to suck on. + the tips in two posts.
          If you need to introduce formula, and she doesn’t like it, try mixing breast milk and formula in different combinations – first with just a little bit of formula. (But of course, she needs to accept the bottle first. )

          Go very slowly if you can with the formula – a lot of breastfed babies get very constipated if you introduce formula as full meals too quickly.

          1. Yessica T

            Hello Paula
            My daughter does not like the pacifiers but I Will keep insisting to see if she takes it. We got the baby bottle bare air free and she drinks from it but I only get her to drink from it once a day..very true what you said babies sense the stress so I try to be calm and happy. It seems to work.

  7. Elle

    Omg tapping it. Who would have thought! She refused bottles and pacifiers but I am tapping it now and she is taking it!! My nipples and husband (who will now have a way to south her) thank you!!!

    1. Paula Dennholt

      That’s great to hear! I can totally relate to the happy nipples. :-)