How to Teach a Baby to Take a Pacifier

Pacifiers were once thought to lead to crooked teeth, and their use was discouraged. Studies from the University of Virginia now say that pacifier use can dramatically reduce the chance of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and do not pose a threat to the teeth as once thought 1. Teaching a baby to take a pacifier is simple, as most babies already have the instinct to suckle.

Choose a pacifier rated for the age of your baby. A pacifier that is too large can cover the babies nose, posing a breathing hazard, and one that is too small can be uncomfortable, as well as become lodged in the mouth. Look for a pacifier that has small holes in the shield to minimize suffocation risk.

Choose a nipple design on the pacifier that mimics your preferred feeding method. There are standard style ones that emulate a bottle nipple and ones designed for breastfeeding babies that emulate the mother's nipple.

Brush the pacifier lightly on the baby's lower lip. This will encourage the child to take the pacifier in his mouth.

Dip the pacifier in formula or breast milk and place it in the baby's mouth. Some children will refuse the pacifier at first but take it once it has their preferred food on it.

Feed the baby first. If the child denies the pacifier she may be hungry. Feed the child, then offer the pacifier after burping her.


Purchase several pacifiers so you have another on hand when it is time to throw out a worn one.


Never force a pacifier into a child's mouth.

Avoid dipping the pacifier into sugar or other other sweet syrups, this can lead to tooth decay.