As a parent, you might have heard stories about a baby getting seriously attached to a pacifier. In most cases, it’s quite hard to wean a child off a pacifier. However, most parents also experience a baby refusing to take a pacifier.
If your child is not a fan of pacifiers or dummies, it can lead to severe frustration and problems. As most little ones don’t know how to self-soothe, a dummy is the easiest way to calm your baby. But what should you do if your baby is suddenly refusing a pacifier?
Most children refuse to take a pacifier because they usually prefer the breast, or your selected pacifier features the wrong shape or size. Furthermore, you should not give your kid a pacifier if they are upset. Instead, offer them a dummy once they calm down and make sure the pacifier is soft and comfortable.
Continue reading to learn why your kid is refusing pacifiers and how to inspire this non-nutritive sucking.
Why Do Babies Stop Taking Pacifiers?
Let’s start with the basic question: why is your baby refusing a pacifier?
Well, the answer to this question varies from infant to infant. Keep in mind that every child is different. So, if one baby is refusing pacifiers for one reason, the other one might have a completely different reason. Therefore, it would be best to pay close attention to your child’s cues.
Babies cannot communicate like adults. They express their feelings through different cues and cries. For instance, if your kid is having trouble snibbing onto a dummy, he/she won’t be able to calm by it. On the other hand, some kids only require pacifiers to help them fall asleep.
Remember that pacifiers are not a basic requirement for babies; they are completely optional. If your kid does not like a pacifier, you don’t have to force it on them. Furthermore, if your kid is growing rapidly, you should try to avoid a pacifier because it can cause several dental problems after a specific age.
However, if you have a young kid, you should certainly use pacifiers to soothe your child.
Why do Pacifiers work in the first place?
Babies use a sucking mechanism to soothe themselves even before their birth. In your womb, infants try to suck on their toes and fingers to calm them.
As a result, sucking is considered one of the 5 womb sensations that can help your little one calm. Using a pacifier to calm your kid has several health benefits, such as it can reduce stress levels and lower the heart rate in infants.
Additionally, sucking on a pacifier is a non-nutritive behavior, meaning it is not related to hunger. Compared to finger sucking, a pacifier can help your child experience the sensation they felt in your womb. Plus, because dummies are smaller in size, they can offer them self-soothing.
What if your baby refuses the Pacifier and wants your breast instead?
As mentioned earlier, no two infants are the same. If one kid requires a pacifier to calm themselves, the other one might prefer your breast. Breastfeeding is a significant bonding activity involving mothers and their babies.
Therefore, it could be difficult for a baby to settle on a pacifier instead of your breasts.
The main reason why most infants prefer breasts over pacifiers is that they feel more comfortable around their mothers. Another reason why most breastfed babies encounter trouble taking a dummy is that they are now used to their mum’s breasts. Breastfed infants have a habit of opening their mouths wide to suck to latch on.
So, if you offer your kid a pacifier, your baby might put the whole dummy into their mouth, which can cause an uncomfortable and frustrating experience. Fortunately, to overcome this problem, you can select a few tactics.
Once your breastfed baby is full, slowly replace your breast with a pacifier. As your child is already relaxed and full, there is a greater chance that he/she will keep the dummy in their mouth. Additionally, you can also use a special pacifier that resembles the feel and shape of a real nipple.
Numerous breast-like pacifiers are available in the market with various price tags and specifications. So, invest your time and find a product that suits your budget perfectly.
Is your baby not taking a new Pacifier?
Like other baby products, pacifiers are also available in different sizes and shapes. If your kid is not taking a new pacifier, you should change the pacifier.
If your kid is not feeling comfortable with a pacifier, they will surely refuse it. There are a variety of pacifiers available out there based on your kid’s age. These products are made of different materials and are available in different shapes. So, it’s a possibility that your kid will like one pacifier more than the other.
You should also consider bell vs. orthodontic or silicone vs. rubber pacifiers. It’s always helpful to consult with your pediatrician before altering a baby product.
How Can I Get My Baby to Take a Pacifier Again?
Regardless of some pediatricians and parents, pacifiers are completely safe for your kid when utilized correctly. These gadgets are excellent soothers. Plus, they also have numerous health benefits, including protecting your kid from SIDS.
But what should you do if your kid is refusing pacifiers?
If your baby wants to suck on something even after they have finished feeding, you should give them a pacifier. For instance, most babies have a habit of sucking on the bottle after their whole meal is gone. In that case, you should exchange the empty bottle with a comfortable pacifier.
To help you out, below, we have compiled a list of some of the most effective methods to re-introduce a dummy or pacifiers to your little one.
Introduce the pacifier at the right age
First of all, you should try to introduce a pacifier to your kid at the right age.
If you have a breastfed baby, you should create a better bond with your kid before offering them a pacifier. If you give your kid a dummy too soon, it might cause nipple confusion, and your baby will refuse to take the breast.
According to many experts, the perfect time to introduce a pacifier to a kid is when they get 2-3 weeks old.
Offer the Pacifier when your baby is happy
Your baby will surely get used to a pacifier if they are content.
Try to offer a pacifier to your kid when they are ready for bed or have finished their meal. It will calm them and help them fall asleep quickly.
Make the Pacifier comfortable to take
The quality of a pacifier is one of the most important things to consider.
You should not offer your kid a pacifier that is hard and has an uncomfortable shape. If you have a new pacifier, you can put some milk on it to make it more enticing.
Bring baby’s attention to the Pacifier
Babies adore adorable things. It would be best if you tried to bring your little one’s attention to the pacifier.
Stroke your child’s nose gently on the pacifier or tap it on your kid’s tongue. It will bring your kid’s attention to the pacifier, and eventually, they will latch onto it.
How to Soothe a Baby That Won’t Take a Pacifier?
So, you have tried everything, but your kid is still refusing the pacifier. In that case, you should not try to force it on your child and use different methods to soothe your kid.
Here are some of the most useful ways to calm a kid without a pacifier:
Try to understand your kid’s routine and cues. For this approach, you should keep a diary to note down your kid’s different behaviors.
- Play relaxing sounds, calming music or sing a song
- Put your kid in a carrier and walk around
- Swaddle your child in a warm, clean blanket
- Offer warm baths
- Pick up your child in the “Colic Carry” position
How do you deal with a Pacifier withdrawal?
First of all, find something to soothe your kid and try to replace a pacifier. Plus, you can encourage multiple above-mentioned self-soothing techniques, including thumb-sucking.
Keep in mind that all infants have to withdraw from a pacifier one day or another. So, if your kid has aged well and refuses to take a pacifier, you don’t have to worry much. This transition could be frustrating for both mothers and their babies. So, you must find some other soothing ways to calm your kid.
Should I force my baby to take a Pacifier?
Forcing your child to take a dummy is not an answer. You should never do it because it can do more harm than good. If you force your little one to take a pacifier, it can lead to irritation and cries.
Read your kid’s cues and listen to their preferences. If you find a soothing technique that doesn’t require a pacifier, take it!