Babies can refuse bottles and pacifiers due to many reasons but it often worries mothers a lot. Learn What to do if your baby refuses a bottle and pacifier in this article!
Being a mother is a tough job! If your baby is demanding and fussy, then more so! There are times when your baby may refuse to take a bottle or a pacifier. What could be the reasons, and what to do if your baby refuses a bottle and pacifier? One of the prime reasons could be that your baby is not hungry. At such times, you cannot force your baby to take a bottle. Wait for some time, and try again. A simple reason could be that your baby prefers to breastfed rather than drink from a bottle. Your baby likes being close to you when they are being breastfed. So, it could be a reason to refuse the bottle.
What to do if your baby refuses a bottle and pacifier?
– Baby Refuses Bottle
Try letting a family member introduce the bottle to him. You may use a different bottle with a different nipple to see if your baby is refusing to feed because of some aspect in the bottle, which is uncomfortable. Another reason could be that the milk flow rate is either too slow or too fast for your baby. When you introduce your baby to a bottle for the first time, make sure the milk flow rate is low, and your baby can drink without gulping. As your baby grows older, you can change the bottle nipple to one with a relatively faster flow.
The teething process causes a lot of discomfort to your baby. Since sucking on the nipple causes extra pain, your baby could be refusing to feed. Try feeding your baby with a spoon.
Other things to do
- Sometimes the room or the place may make your baby a little restless or distracted. Offer the bottle in a quiet room with fewer distractions.
- Similarly, the feeding position may not be comfortable enough for your baby. Hold your baby in different positions and see if your baby is comfortable. Or if your baby in a crib, try to move him in different positions and check his/her comfort level.
- When your baby starts eating solids at six months of age, the bottle loses its allure for him. He gets his calories from foods other than milk. Try to limit bottle feeds to sleep times and allow him to eat his favorite solids.
- Your baby could also refuse the bottle if the milk’s temperature varies from the usual or if the milk tastes different. Try to maintain the same dilution in the formula milk and keep it lukewarm to maintain the consistency.
- If your baby is sick, he will refuse to feed. Be patient and try making him comfortable and giving him the bottle a few minutes at a time to make sure he doesn’t get dehydrated. If he refuses all your attempts, make sure you consult your doctor.
– Baby refuses a pacifier
Babies can refuse a pacifier for various reasons but it is crucial to understand that you must not force a pacifier on your baby. Introduce your baby to a pacifier only after establishing a good breastfeeding routine, preferably four weeks after birth. Sometimes the size, shape, smell, or texture of a pacifier can put off your baby. Check all these things in the pacifier and if they are suitable for your baby. You can choose silicone pacifiers as they are odor-free.
Your baby can refuse the pacifier if he is feeling hungry and needs to nurse. Try introducing a pacifier after your baby has been fed well and is feeling calm. Initially, putting a few drops of milk on the pacifier’s teat helps your baby get interested in taking it into his mouth.
Benefits of using a Pacifier
- A pacifier helps soothe your fussy baby and helps him fall asleep.
- It comforts your baby and gives him a sense of security.
- Fulfills the sucking need of your baby between feedings.
- Offers temporary distraction when your baby is distressed.
- Reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by half. Giving your baby a pacifier to suck on during nap time and bedtime reduces your baby’s risk of dying from SIDS.
- Pacifier habit is an easier habit for you to break in your child than your child’s thumb-sucking habit.
- If you are traveling by air, then giving your child a pacifier protects him from ear pain associated with pressure changes.
When to Stop Using Pacifier
Your child will be ready to give up pacifiers anytime between the ages of 2 and 4 as he becomes emotionally stronger. However, doctors recommend weaning your child off a pacifier as early as 6 to 12 months of age. After six months, the risk of SIDS declines, and the risk of ear infections goes up. Constant pacifier use after 12 months can affect your child’s speech and language development.
If your child is still attached to his pacifier at age two, it can affect his/her teeth. After two years of age, dental problems associated with pacifiers can persist until adulthood. However, you must not stop using pacifiers all of a sudden as it can put your baby in stress and anxiety. Take it slowly and gradually so that it doesn’t come all of a sudden to your baby. Take little steps at a time and discard the use of pacifiers. Below are a few steps to try:
- Start limiting pacifier use to nap times and bedtime.
- Provide other forms of comfort like a stuffed animal or a soft blanket to help him give up the pacifier.
- It is essential to start the process when there are no other significant changes going on at home, which may add to his emotional stress.
So now that you know what to do if your baby refuses a bottle and pacifier, start the steps and give your baby the comfort that he needs!