When toddlers reach a certain age, you wean them off of pacifiers to help teeth come in correctly and encourage new types of coping mechanisms. However, pacifiers can provide substantial benefits to newborn babies. Therefore, you need to introduce your baby to the pacifier and encourage them to use it during early development. Here is how to get a baby to take a pacifier.
Why Should You Introduce A Pacifier?
Babies learn to suck as an instinct that encourages feeding. They feel a need to suck, giving babies comfort when they have something to suck on, such as a pacifier. Sucking on a pacifier will teach the baby to self-soothe during moments of high anxiety, decreasing the number of tears at those times. It can also help the baby sleep through the night and prevent crying spurts in babies. This can make it tempting to rely on the pacifier as a soothing technique at every tantrum, but save the pacifier for between meals.
Another benefit of pacifiers for babies is that babies who suck on pacifiers reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by up to 50%. While rare, SIDS forces parents to suffer from the unthinkable, and many parents will do anything to reduce the possibility of it happening to their child. While difficult to prove causation, the correlation is enough to convince many new parents to rely on the device.
Finally, pacifiers can prevent the baby from sucking on their fingers, leading to even worse dental problems than sucking on the pacifier. Therefore, when the baby eventually stops using the pacifier, you will need to carefully watch your child to ensure they don’t substitute a pacifier for sucking on digits.
Related Link: How to Get a Baby to Sleep Through the Night
When to Introduce a Pacifier?
A baby must reach certain milestones to properly use a pacifier, and babies tend to reach those milestones at a certain age. Here are some ways to learn when to introduce a pacifier to your baby.
Do not introduce your baby to a pacifier until you have established a clear feeding pattern. A clear pattern will prevent the baby from mistaking the pacifier for food and getting disappointed. This will cause the baby to cry instead of soothing them.
You also do not want to introduce a pacifier to the baby before they learn to latch to a nipple properly. Babies may continue to struggle to latch if you introduce the pacifier too early. It may also lead to painful latching for you.
Finally, your baby needs to grow to an age where they have developed their motor skills to keep the pacifier in their mouth and grab it if it falls out. The pacifier won’t help if it falls out and lies next to them.
You can safely assume your baby can receive a pacifier at about one month of age, but all babies develop differently. You need to ensure your baby reaches both aforementioned milestones before moving forward. It can get more difficult to introduce a baby to a pacifier after 6 months old, so make a decision about if you want to use a pacifier early.
How long until a baby should not use a pacifier anymore? Well, the pacifier should usually go away by age 3, but some parents remove it as early as six months. Luckily, most children learn to stop relying on the pacifier independently as they get older.
Related Link: Why Does My Baby Cry So Much?
How to Keep the Pacifier in Your Baby’s Mouth?
Most babies take to a pacifier quickly, while others don’t seem to find the appeal at first. If your baby prefers sucking on their fingers, they may drop the pacifier from their mouth regularly. Luckily, you can learn some tips to help keep the pacifier in your baby’s mouth, but you need to identify the problem if possible.
Babies may reject a pacifier for a number of reasons, including hunger, weak sucking skills, wrong pacifier, and poor motor skills. If a baby wants food, a pacifier just won’t do. Some babies struggle to suck or keep the pacifier in their mouth if they haven’t grown strong enough yet. Sometimes, the pacifier isn’t the right size for your baby.
The right pacifier size and shape will help keep the pacifier in the baby’s mouth. Pacifier sizes come in small (0-6 months), medium (6-18 months), and large (18+ months). They also come in different shapes:
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Sneaky Way to Get Your Baby to Take a Pacifier
First, you want to offer the baby the pacifier without any tricks since most babies will take it naturally without any trouble since they naturally want to suck on something. Some babies won’t take a pacifier in their mouth at all or immediately spit it out. If this happens and you need to soothe the baby to get some sleep, you need to find a sneaky way to get your baby to take a pacifier.
Bait and Switch
Babies associate nipples with the breast and food. After feeding, try quickly replacing the breast with the pacifier nipple. Your satisfied baby will hopefully enjoy the soothing without the milk and continue without a problem, finding the nipple of the binky a suitable substitute for the mom’s nipple.
If the baby didn’t fall for the bait and switch you tried to pull, then you need to add another step to the process. After you switch out the breast for the pacifier, pull on the handle gently as if to take it away. This action will activate the baby’s natural instinct to keep the item in his mouth, causing them to suck on the item. It’s a type of reverse psychology that can stop the baby from rejecting the pacifier after feeding.
Related Link: How To Get a Toddler to Sleep
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