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.
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, haha!
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 with 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
Wait a few weeks
Don’t introduce a pacifier until breastfeeding has started to work if you plan to breastfeed. To suck on a pacifier and to breastfeed are two different techniques, so the baby can get confused.
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 have been interested in a pacifier until they were 2.5 months old.
Even 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 (link to Amazon for example), 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! :-)