How to get a baby to take a pacifier

My sisters new baby will not take a pacifier-she tried a few kinds, but baby just isn’t taking to any of them. Does anyone have any pacifier tricks???

I don’t personally having any tips as my daughter was a thumb sucker but @takingcarababies on Instagram has some. She also has a blog.

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I find the pacifier topic interesting. I have heard some SLP’s talk about how that pacifiers can have a negative impact, but then I’ve heard other practitioners talk about the how much pacifiers (or is it just teethers)? can help develop and improve oral function and stretch tighter tissue. I’m so interested in both sides of this topic and would love to hear more!!! @Speechwithjwo @Speechie.Morgan @Twowayspeech @Giselle_Tadros

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I’m not an SLP, but as a sleep consultant, pacifiers are really helpful for newborns, as they’re born with the need to suck (it’s called non-nutritive sucking). but around 4 months is when I suggest families start to pull them for independent sleep skills.

My girls weren’t big on pacifiers, but something that helped us help teach them to suck on them was putting our finger through the nipple (if it’s pacifier like a Soothie) and put your finger/the nipple to the roof of their mouth. That helped them a lot and has helped the newborn families I’ve worked with!

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As an SLP and a mom to a 3 year old and 6 year old I have a love/hate relationship with pacifiers.

My first questions would be: Why are you using a pacifier and why do you want the child to take a pacifier? As an infant, using a pacifier is a way to help the baby calm him/herself and regulate themselves. I know they are also good during sleep to help reduce the risk of SIDS.

In the first year of life it is important to find what calms and regulates a baby, and for a lot of infants this may be a pacifier. We want regulation so the baby’s brain can focus on the next stage of development, and also be able to put themselves to sleep.

However, long term pacifier use can change the child’s facial structure, hinder tongue elevation and hinder developing a mature swallow pattern. It may also impact speech development. This can be especially true if the child is low tone and needs that extra strength to support speech and feeding (check out tots on target info about low tone). Also, if the child always has a pacifier in their mouth they are not practicing talking and using their language. Most SLP’s will recommend trying to stop the pacifier by 1 years old.

Both of my children were pacifier users. My oldest child does have sensory processing issues that lead to coordination issues but she is now developmentally on track due to great OT. Having the pacifier was a must for her because it really regulated her. She needed the pacifier and regulation until around 2.5. My son also used his pacifier until around 2 years. Both of my children’s speech, language, and feeding development is on track. Also if a pacifier is needed for regulation, I would rather that then the thumb. It is a lot easier to get rid of a pacifier in the long run.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks,
Janice SLP

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For taking a pacifier. Exactly what @ViaGraces suggested. Put the finger through the nipple and put the nipple at the roof of the mouth. Then pull the pacifier slightly out and in of the mouth to try to get them to start that suck. You may also use your other hand to press the cheeks and try to create the lip rounding for the suck.

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This is a really helpful tip thank you!

I really appreciate hearing a speech therapist’s perspective-and i did not know it can help reduce risk of sids-thats so interesting. its hard to watch a baby cry especially when trying to get on a feeding schedule so trying to use a pacifier for soothing purposes would make life so much easier, but important to not keep them for too long i guess. Im going to suggest the tips that you and @ViaGraces mentioned. super helpful, thank you!

I’m going to check that page out thanks!

@Twowayspeech That makes total sense and it’s great to know that up until 1 year there may be benefits, but it can interfere with speech and language development if it’s used too long. Thanks Janice!!! :slight_smile: