When your baby is in your womb, nutrition is easily provided without requiring your baby to do any work. From the moment your baby is born, everything changes. Outside the womb, your baby suddenly needs to work to get food. This work consists primarily of sucking, swallowing, and breathing. Although it seems to happen spontaneously, your baby needs to learn to coordinate these new feeding activities. Coordinated sucking, swallowing, and breathing prevents choking, makes the food easier to get, and helps your baby conserve energy needed to complete the work of feeding. Most babies learn this quickly and easily.
When Feeding Is Challenging
For some babies feeding can be a little tricky. If your newborn finds feeding to be challenging, using a pacifier as a learning tool is a good way to help. Sucking on a pacifier will help teach your baby to coordinate sucking with breathing, to coordinate swallowing without having to manage a large volume of fluid, and to learn proper tongue placement to help accomplish these important tasks for feeding.
The pacifier is also good for providing sucking time outside of feeding time. It is possible that your baby may want more sucking without necessarily wanting more food. Hunger may be satisfied earlier than sucking, and a pacifier is the perfect tool designed for your baby’s sucking needs. Once satisfied the pacifier usually falls out of your baby’s mouth as your relaxed newborn gives in to sleep.
The most familiar use of a pacifier is to provide comfort to your baby. Most babies are pacified by sucking, ergo the name “pacifier.” Sometimes sucking has the power to calm your fussy baby and to provide the perfect comfort your baby is seeking.
Rejecting the Pacifier
But sometimes your fussy baby may need more than just a pacifier to provide comfort. If your crying baby quickly rejects the pacifier, it’s beneficial for both of you if you respect that rejection and offer some other measures of comfort. Perhaps food, and/or a diaper change, are needed to soothe your baby, and the pacifier of course won’t provide the comfort your baby is seeking. Your baby will let you know.
It’s Your Choice
As with all preferential decisions regarding your new baby, it’s best to gather lots of information and make an informed decision. You’ll be happier with your choice.
As part of information gathering, observe the babies in your world who use pacifiers, as well as the baby in the photo “Pacifiers Are Good.” Make true observations to help you make an informed decision. It’s your choice, for your baby.