How to get your baby to take a pacifier is one issue every mother has faced at a point or the other – and one awaiting to-be mothers.
To say mothers love their babies is, to say the least. We feel an attachment and responsibility to care for our babies as their creators and guardians. To achieve this, we need assistance from time to time to enable us create a balance that will profit both mother and child.
A pacifier is one of the little but essential tools nursing mothers and caregivers need to keep the baby engaged, to enable us to get the much-needed rest we need.
Although it is harmless and keeps the baby engaged, many newborns do not like this tool; so, a mother or caregiver has to make the baby accept and take a pacifier consciously.
In this article, we have highlighted all you need to know about a pacifier and how to get your baby to take a pacifier.
What is a Pacifier?
A pacifier is a rubber or silicone nipple-like substitute given to babies to suckle as a way of engaging them – to prevent them from crying. It also helps to wean them from breastfeeding to using a feeding bottle, as the pacifier looks like a detached feeding bottle tip.
Babies do not only want to suckle because they feel the need to suckle. Sometimes they just want to be engaged, so the pacifier comes in very handy.
It is often a common sight to see babies sleep with a pacifier in their mouth just the way they will do when suckling on their mother’s nipple. So, if your baby has been fed, you should give them a pacifier to suckle upon to prevent them from crying.
What are the Parts of a Pacifier?
A pacifier is basically like the detached tip of a feeding bottle and is shaped to look like a nipple. A pacifier has three parts – the elongated teat, the mouth shield, and the handle.
When to Introduce a Pacifier
According to the mother and children care experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), mothers and caregivers should introduce pacifiers to their newborns between the ages of 1-12 months.
However, it is not advisable to introduce the pacifiers earlier than after a month so that feeding is adequate and a feeding pattern is established.
When to Give Your Baby a Pacifier
Babies have an individual decision when it comes to pacifiers. There are some who will accept the pacifier from the first day it was introduced to them, while others will continuously refuse the pacifiers.
It is best to offer a baby a pacifier when the baby is relaxed.
We should introduce the pacifier after the baby has established a breastfeeding pattern and your nursing routine is well underway. This is why it is often advised to introduce the pacifier after a month.
How to Keep a Pacifier in Your Baby’s Mouth
Have you ever heard of the saying that human beings always want what they cannot have? Some Schools of Thought call this ‘Reverse Psychology.’
Well, it works too for babies and can be employed if you want to keep a pacifier in your baby’s mouth. Here is how it works.
Anytime your baby has the pacifier in their mouth, try to pull it away gently. This will make them suck harder on the pacifier because they think you want to deprive them of it. Interestingly, this always makes babies keep the pacifiers in their mouths and suck as long as they can.
Tricks to Get a Baby to Take a Pacifier
Sometimes babies act wiser than their age – and it can be surprising. You could purchase a dozen pacifiers, and they will reject each and everyone of them.
One way to trick your baby into taking a pacifier is to let them feel they can have what’s yours. To achieve this, before giving them the pacifier, put it in your mouth and suckle on it – pretending you are enjoying it, then pass it over to the baby.
The baby will accept the pacifier and suck hard on it as a way of keeping it from you.
Another method is to introduce the pacifier as a toy to the baby. So, do not let your baby see the pacifier as a substitute for your nipple, but instead, as something they can play with.
Naturally, babies will suck and chew on their toys, so once you can trick the baby into thinking that the pacifier is a toy, the baby will always accept it and always go in their mouth.
Pros and Cons on How to Get Your Baby to Take a Pacifier
Before you consider using anything or applying any technique to a baby, you should carefully consider the pros and cons.
These will guide you on how best to use the products or techniques and the measures to put in place to ensure safety.
Many babies have been victims of Sudden Infant Deaths (SIDs) because their mothers and caregivers did not consider the Pros and Cons of products and techniques they employed.
Below, we have carefully highlighted the Pros and Cons on how to get your baby to take a pacifier.
Pros on Why You Should Get Your Baby to Take a Pacifier
1. Experts recommend that babies are given pacifiers at naptime and bedtime to keep their minds alerts as they suckle in their sleep. This is believed to prevent SIDs in babies.
2. A pacifier satisfies the baby’s need for continuous non-nutritive sucking.
3. Pacifies provide soothing relief to babies. So, it helps babies to battle pain and discomfort.
4. The use of pacifiers help in the rapid development of premature babies and help to improve their sucking habits to promote feeding.
5. Pacifiers help to give mothers a break from continuous breastfeeding of the baby.
6. The use of pacifiers are handy for non-breastfeeding caregivers, as it helps soothe the babies in the absence of their mothers.
Cons on Why You Should Get Your Baby to Take a Pacifier
1. Introducing a pacifier too early can affect your baby’s feeding habit, leading to weight loss and malnutrition in the baby.
2. In addition, a pacifier can cause the mother complications such as; plugged milk ducts, sore nipples, mastitis, engorgement, etc.
3. The consistent use of pacifiers causes ear infections in babies; that is why mothers and caregivers are advised to discourage the use after six months.
4. Pacifiers expose the babies to germs and bacteria.
5. Many critics advise that mothers and caregivers should allow their babies to suckle on their fingers rather than on a pacifier.
6. The pacifier may prevent the baby from waking up when they are hungry, and this will affect their nutrition and development.
7. The use of a pacifier is addictive, and retrieving it from the baby at six months may prove difficult.
What to Consider When Buying a Pacifier for a baby
When shopping for a pacifier, you should consider the following:
1. Material: When shopping for a pacifier, it is best to consider buying those made of silicone or rubber, as against latex. This is because babies are often allergic to latex.
2. Size: You need to check out the size of the pacifier that fits your baby. If you buy a pacifier that is too big, it may cause bruises for the child. A small pacifier may cause a choking hazard as it may fit into the baby’s mouth and get swallowed.
3. Color: It is best to buy a pacifier that has an attractive color so as to arouse the curiosity of the child. Your baby is more likely to accept a pacifier if he/she is attracted by the color.
4. Cost: Pacifiers are naturally not expensive, so be careful not to be ripped off when buying a pacifier.
Safety Tips to Consider When Using a Pacifier
If you chose to use a pacifier, you must be careful and consider the safety tips, so that you use the tool to achieve the maximum results and not cause additional problems for you or the baby.
Below, we have highlighted a few safety tips to consider when using a pacifier.
1. Do not use a pacifier that is not a whole piece, i.e., avoid pacifiers that are made up of two or more items. This may cause choking hazards, which could lead to SIDs.
2. Always clean your baby’s pacifiers with soap and disinfectant to prevent bacterial infection.
3. Do not hang a pacifier around your baby’s neck; this could strangle your baby and cause SIDs.
5. The nipple from a baby’s feeding bottle is not a pacifier! Do not substitute it for one, as it could make your baby choke.
Final Words on How to Get Your Baby to Take a Pacifier
I hope you enjoyed this piece as much as I enjoyed writing it. Despite being a mother with two kids who have used pacifiers for so long, researching for this article opened my eyes to many new things.
Indeed, as mothers and caregivers, we must continue to learn and broaden our scope to enable us provide the utmost care, love, and support for our babies – without endangering their lives.