Wednesday, August 12, 2009

5 tips for using a pacifier efficiently.

Many parents choose to try offering their baby a pacifier. There are quite a few good reasons to introduce a sucky to your little one, as well as a few concerns. If you do decide to try soothing your baby this way, you should wait until your baby is at least one month old and breastfeeding is firmly established, or concretely ruled out. When the time comes to introduce the pacifier, you might want to try some of my helpful tips that follow.

1. Offer the Pacifier as a last resort in the daytime.
During the day most babies will not need to suck on anything unless they begin to feel hungry. There is so much to see and do in the daytime. But there are times when a pacifier in the day can be helpful. Gas pains can sometimes feel very similar to hunger pains, and some babies find some relief by sucking on a pacifier until they pass the gas. If your baby does begin to feel hungry, she will probably take the pacifier, but only for a short time.

2. Warm the pacifier by sucking on it.
Breastfed babies are often much less likely to accept a pacifier than a bottle fed baby. Part of the reason for this is that the pacifier feels nothing like your nipple. It is cold, rigid and doesn't taste or smell like you. When you are just beginning to introduce the pacifier to your baby, try sucking on the pacifier yourself for a minute or two before giving it to your little Swee'Pea. Also, try giving the pacifier for a few minutes just before breastfeeding as this is the time your baby is going to be the most receptive to suckling.

3. Use a burp cloth to prop up the pacifier at night.
Night time is the best time for babies to use a pacifier. The sucking motion is soothing and relaxing and the use of a pacifier at night reduces your chances of SIDS. The problem is that often as babies get sleepy, their pacifier falls out waking them up. A little trick I learned from the nurses who cared for my son in the NICU is to roll up a burp cloth and lean it up against the side of the pacifier while it is in your baby's mouth. If your baby sleeps directly on his back, you can also drape the burp cloth across his chest, with one edge just high enough to cover the bottom half of the pacifier.

4. After your baby is asleep, remove the pacifier.
Whether you use a burp cloth to prop up your baby's pacifier or not, as soon as your little nightingale is asleep you should remove the pacifier and the burp cloth if you used it. This way, your little cub won't get used to sucking on something all night long while asleep. Also, even if your baby is not sucking on a pacifier, if it drops out of her mouth, the sudden motion can startle them awake. And if the paci is laying right next to her cheek while she sleeps, it may make her uncomfortable or make her think it is time to eat.

5. When the time comes to wean, cut a small hole in the tip of the pacifier.
This is a great, easy way for your child to naturally lose interest in his pacifier. When he is not teething, and has been needing the pacifier less that he did in the past, nick the tip of the paci, leaving a small hole. This makes it impossible to keep suction on the pacifier without a lot of work. Your little chimpanzee will tire out his sucking muscles and end up using the paci less and less. Eventually, you should be able to whisk it away without him ever asking for it again. Once the soothing magic of the suction is gone, or too much work to be worth it, your little dude will wean himself off of it.

Like many things, a pacifier is just another parenting tool. It has been around for a very long time in one form or another, and so have the troubles that parents have had with them. Whether you choose to use a pacifier or not, there will be challenges that result from your choice. I hope that if you do decide to offer your baby a pacifier that these tips will come in handy, and might even save you a little grief. If you have found these tips to be helpful, please forward them to any new or expecting parents you know. Questions, comments and suggestions are always welcome. Happy parenting!

There is a NEW post from NAOMI up today (9/5/14)! Check it out HERE.

1 comment:

  1. Those are GREAT tips! Thank you. Im especially glad to hear about the easy way to wean her when the time comes.