BABIES AND PACIFIER USE

BENEFITS OF PACIFIER USE

One of the most popular pieces of baby gear is the pacifier.  Most often we see parents offering it to the baby when she is crying out of control.  Soon after the pacifier is put into baby’s mouth the vigorous action of sucking takes over and mother now has a tranquil child in her arms.  This sucking movement calms the entire body.

HOW TO CHOOSE A PACIFIER FOR BABY

There are so many pacifiers on the market today, how is a mom to choose just one?  Some designs are adorable, others sparkly, some humorous, and others rather plain.  It is recommended to try a variety of pacifiers with different shaped nipples and see which one baby likes best.  Some have shorter nipples, others have nubbier nipples, and some have long stems.  Try a few and let her choose the one that suits her best.  If there is no obvious preference, just pick one and try it a few times and see if you succeed with introducing the pacifier.

WHEN TO INTRODUCE A PACIFIER TO BABY

As soon as those cries get out of control, mom quickly reaches for the pacifier.  STOP!  This may not be the best time to try and introduce this new item.  First, calm baby using other methods. Then, when she is calm you can try and introduce the pacifier.  Otherwise she will wonder why you are putting such a strange object into her mouth when she is upset.  Plus, she will spit the pacifier out and sabatoge your plan for introducing something that is supposed to comfort her.  Instead, try introducing it to her at a later time when she is calm.

HOW TO KEEP THE PACIFIER FROM FALLING OUT

If baby keeps spitting the pacifier back out, try this tip from Dr. Harvey Karp.  “When your baby is calm, offer her the pacifier.  The moment she starts to suck, tug it lightly as if you were starting to take it out of her mouth BUT don’t tug so hard that it actually does come out of her mouth.”  Dr. Karp explains that baby will then tug hard at the pacifier with her mouth to not let it be pulled out.  This strengthens the action of sucking.  Now baby has learned to keep the pacifier in her mouth.  Now repeat this at least ten times as if it was a game.  Rest, then pull on the pacifier again, etc.  After several times of this game baby will have learned to suck on the pacifier and not let it fall out of her mouth. But, be prepared because the pacifier will fall out of her mouth quite often and need to be cleaned.

 

Source:  The Happiest Baby on The Block, Dr. Harvey Karp, Bantam Books, New York, 2002.

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