Baby Won’t Take Pacifier: The Whys and Hows
It’s amazing how those nifty soft baby accessories called pacifiers can make any new mom’s life easier and more comfortable. They can help calm the baby, especially when he or she is fussy. Some can even fall asleep because of them!
Perhaps the biggest benefit of a baby pacifier is decreasing the risk of sudden infant syndrome (SIDS). According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, in 2015, more than 3,500 children below 1 year old died unexpectedly. Of the three common causes – SIDS, unknown cause, and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed – the first one caused the most number of deaths at 43 percent.
Research published in British Medical Journal cited how babies who slept on their tummies are at 2.5 times at risk of dying from SIDS. Meanwhile, the danger disappeared if they sucked on pacifiers. (Note: Pediatricians strongly recommend not letting your baby sleep on their stomach.)
It’s natural, therefore, for moms to panic if they couldn’t find a pacifier and if the baby won’t take pacifier. If this is your case, fear not. Some possible causes also have a lot of remedies.
Why a Baby Won’t Take Pacifier
There are plenty of reasons why a baby won’t take pacifier. First on the list is simple: he or she just doesn’t want it. Perhaps the infant finds it annoying. Some may be comfortable with sucking fingers and even hands but not something synthetic. There are also others that prefer the feel of the mother’s nipple.
A lot of babies may be confused between the nipples and the pacifier. They may expect milk to gush from the latter. Since it won’t, they end up feeling frustrated. Others may find the pacifier a bit big for their mouths.
What to Do When Baby Won’t Take Pacifier
Fact: Teaching a baby who doesn’t want a pacifier to like it is frustrating. In fact, you’ll feel desperate and think there are no solutions available. Don’t give up! You may want to try the following:
1. Introduce the pacifier later.
There are two reasons for doing this. One, you want the baby to feel more comfortable with sucking something such as your nipples for some time. Second, the child should learn to suck during breastfeeding first. Otherwise, he or she may end up preferring the pacifier over your nipple.
But how long should you wait? Give it at least a month before you start giving a pacifier. Of course, your pediatrician can tell you the best time.
2. Don’t force it.
If only your baby could talk, he or she would probably tell you that pacifiers won’t work – at least your child doesn’t want it. Well, don’t force it. The last thing you want to do is to upset your baby over something you desperately want to happen.
Besides, babies cry for a reason. They may be sleepy, hungry, annoyed at the environment, or ill. Perhaps it’s time to address the cause of the discomfort first before you consider giving this accessory.
3. Make it attractive.
As your baby grows, you’ll find him or her picking up objects and putting them into their mouths – not good. But it will tell you that they do get attracted to particular items, especially when they’re colorful or moving.
When your baby won’t take pacifier, you may want to buy something that has some bright colors. Then before you put it in the mouth, wiggle it like a rattle in front of him or her. You can also make sounds like cooing just to catch the baby’s attention.
4. Find a pacifier that fits.
Pacifiers are available in different sizes, and manufacturers can have their sizing options. Before you buy, always check the size chart or ask. Usually, though, the smallest one is ideal for babies between 0 and 6 months old. The biggest, which is size 3, is advisable for toddlers.
5. Pick the pacifier that the baby wants.
This one is going to be tricky and costly as it entails buying different varieties such as angled and cherry nipple. The price, however, doesn’t matter if you have a happy baby.
Few Guidelines – Don’t Forget!
- Because pacifiers can increase the risk of teeth misalignments later, know when to stop giving them. Usually, babies will outgrow them, but if they continue, be proactive and stop handing the pacifiers. Work closely with your pediatrician and pediatric dentist.
- Clean your pacifiers! If your baby is 6 months old and below, you can boil the pacifiers. After this age, soap and water will do.
- Make sure your pacifier has a barrier that should be at least an inch wide. It will prevent your baby from putting the entire pacifier in the mouth.
- Replace the pacifiers. Buy a new one every month or change it as soon as possible when it’s showing signs of damage or wear.