Education Blog

When to Introduce a Baby Pacifier for Self-Soothing

September 24, 2021

Babies can be comforted between meals with baby pacifiers or newborn pacifiers. These soft, suckable blankets are great for soothing fussiness and sleep. They can also prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. A pacifier is used to soothe the baby and allows parents to rest easy. It is easy to learn how to give a baby pacifier.

When to Introduce

Dr. Karen Breach, a pediatrician at the Carolinas HealthCare System, says that there is no magic formula for introducing a pacifier. There are however some guidelines. Parents may be tempted to use the pacifier to help their child sleep after a long night. Do not do this. Doctors recommend waiting until the child has established latching and a solid feeding schedule before changing to a pacifier plug.

Breach says that once you are ready, “just hand it to them.” Babies will eat whatever you put in to their mouths so give it to them when you feel they are fussy or need it. They don’t seem hungry, their diapers don’t smell clean and they don’t seem hungry.

Some children won’t like the pacifier. That’s fine. Between feedings, they’ll likely suck on the pacifier’s fingers or their parents’ fingers. Digit sucking has its own stigma but it is a natural instinct. Breach states that babies have a natural instinct to suck. “Sucking is a comfort mechanism and one of the earliest instincts.

Pacifiers and any other oral device or digit that children choose serve many purposes beyond comfort and satisfying their instincts. They also serve to quell often misguided, though well-intentioned, parental instincts. Parents assume that a baby is hungry or dirty when she or he cries. Therefore, it is natural to give a bottle or breast immediately to a baby who is crying. Breach warns that this can lead to excessive feeding, leading to discomfort and the dreaded diaper blowouts. It also sets a precedent for childhood obesity.

When to Take Away a Baby Pacifier

Sometimes, the baby simply wants comfort and sucking is a good way to provide that comfort. Parents can also benefit from the comforts of a baby pacifier, which provides a sense of calm and security until they have to take it away. Any pacifier that is left behind will have to be removed.

Breach cautions that parents shouldn’t rush to get their children off the Pacifier, even if they feel compelled by it. Breach says that parents should not feel guilty about having pins in their little grenades due to the many life-altering milestones they will reach, such as walking, potty training, and big-kid bed. The pacifier should be thrown out at age three. However, Breach states that pacifiers may need to be used from time to time.

“I don’t mind when parents bring in a 2-year old with a pacifier. She says that it can be used if the child is not in its normal comfort zone. I don’t like to see a child carrying a pacifier around, but it won’t work until kindergarten. Many children let it go on their own.