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Baby Won’t Take a Pacifier – 6 Reasons and Tips

Pacifiers can be super helpful to soothe babies. However, when it comes to using them, it’s either your baby loves it or hates it. If your baby isn’t taking the pacifier, it’s probably because he/she doesn’t like it, but not to worry, there are numerous tips you can try to win him/her over. 

There is more to a pacifier than just popping it in your baby’s mouth and expecting it to take the fussiness away. Many things matter, the timing, the baby’s mood, the pacifier sizes… so if you aren’t doing it the right way, your baby won’t take it.

Below Are Some Reasons Your Baby Isn’t Taking The Pacifier and Tips To Correct It:

Why Won’t My Baby Take a Pacifier? Common Reasons

1. Your Baby Is Too Young

A one-week-old baby has no business with a pacifier. The ideal time to offer a baby a pacifier is after you’ve established at least one month of feeding or when your baby has learned to feed correctly. When your baby gets the hang of breastfeeding or bottle-feeding and has a correct attachment, it will be easy to work with a pacifier.

Tip: Wait till you have a settled nursing routine (at least 3-4 weeks) before introducing the pacifier.

2. You Offer It Too Frequently 

According to pediatricians, your baby may refuse the pacifier if you offer it too frequently. Babies cry for different reasons; when they are hungry, uncomfortable, tired, too hot or cold, have a dirty diaper or fever, and so on. If you offer a child a pacifier while crying for being cold, the child may take a few sucks and drop it because it didn’t solve the cause of the discomfort. If you offer it too often without solving their needs, a baby may develop an aversion to pacifiers.

Tip: As a parent, communicating with a child may be tricky. However, you should be trying to read your child’s reasons for crying. The pacifier can’t replace the food or clean up a dirty diaper, so always ensure you give the pacifier at an appropriate time.

3. The Pacifier is Not The Right Size

Size and shape matter a lot when choosing a pacifier for your babies. Pacifiers are made in different sizes for different age groups, the small sizes for 6 months old and younger, Medium sizes for 6-18 months old, and Large for over 18 months. If you pick a large size for a 6-month-old, then it would be too big for her. It would be hard to suck on it, and it’s very likely she will refuse it. 

Tip: There are different types of pacifiers. If your baby isn’t accepting one or you think it’s too big or small, give another kind a try. You can try to buy different models and styles to see which one he likes most. 

4. Your Baby is in a Bad Mood

If you try to offer a baby a pacifier when he’s all fussy, and crying at the top of his lungs, there’s a high chance he will refuse the pacifier. 

No one, not even a baby wants an object shoved in their mouths when they are in discomfort or cranky. 

Tip: the key to using a pacifier is offering it at the right time and when your baby is in a good mood. Don’t use the pacifier when a child is starving or crying hard.

A good idea is to try using the pacifier after feeding your baby or when your baby is sleepy. Infact, sucking on something may help them doze off quicker.

5. Your Baby Doesn’t Like It

While some parents try once and have their babies using the pacifiers, there is no guarantee your baby will use it. This is because babies are different 

Tip: Be patient. Try the pacifier every other day, especially when your baby is in a good mood. You can also try getting pacifiers with toys attached to them.

Some babies also start sucking on a pacifier when you tap it lightly with a fingernail or shake the pacifier a little after putting it in their mouths. This triggers the baby to suckle. Also, parents teach babies to use a pacifier by dipping it with breast milk or formula to make it tasty. Hopefully, trying this will encourage your baby to take the pacifier.

6. Your Baby Doesn’t Know How To Use The Pacifier 

There are situations where a baby may be confused on what to do with the pacifier.  Does he know how to suck on it? If you are using the pacifier for the first time, popping it in and expecting a baby to have a hang on it may not work. You have to teach your baby how to use the pacifier.

Tip: To teach and encourage your baby to use the pacifier, hold her gently like you are about to feed her and dip the pacifier inside breastmilk or formula and touch her lips as it will encourage her to open her mouth. Then, insert the pacifier gently into her mouth and stroke it down the central groove of the baby’s tongue. Pause to give her time to latch in the pacifier with her tongue and lips. Learning this may take a while, You may need to go on with this practice until she comes around.

Another idea is to introduce the pacifier after a breastfeeding session, replace your nipple with the pacifier and your child may suck on it without protesting because he’s already well fed. 

Keep Trying 

One attempt isn’t enough to conclude your child doesn’t like to use the pacifier. If your baby refuses it once, keep trying, be patient and make the process fun. Also take a break and try to come back to it again until your baby learns. 

However, no matter the practice, some babies never warm up to pacifiers, so if it isn’t working after several tries, don’t force it.

To Wrap Up

While the comfort of pacifiers can give parents a break, it’s also important to know that babies can do fine without a pacifier, and there are numerous ways to soothe a baby.  However, if you want a little help from the pacifier, the recommendation is to wait at least a month before introducing it and weaning them off at about 2 years. 

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