How to choose the correct pacifier for your baby's innate reflexes

Author Philippa Murphy

07 January 2016
How to choose the correct pacifier for your baby's innate reflexes

There are two aspects to be mindful of when choosing a pacifier to nurture alongside your baby’s innate reflexes:

  • the way it is sits against the outside of your babies mouth and cheeks
  • and whether it stimulates the inside roof of your babies mouth correctly


Newborns have innate sucking reflexes that go like this... 
When they feel something brush against their cheek they move toward it and open their mouth. In order to close the mouth once the former reflex has happened, they need to feel something on the roof of their mouth.

If a baby feels something on the roof and on their tongue they are less likely to clamp down on the pacifier, making it look like they don't want it or like it. Equally, if they feel something on the roof of their mouth and on the middle of the lip but not on their cheek and on the sides of their lips, they will often keep moving their head to and fro.
 

The ideal pacifier

Your baby’s pacifier should have an outer plastic piece which curves around the mouth, touching the sides of the mouth and a little of the cheek to stimulate the opening of the mouth and lessen the tooing and froing of their head. The silicon teat should be flat on the bottom on a slight upward tilt with a bobble on top which stimulates the roof of your baby’s mouth, as a nipple would.

Pacifiers with flat plastic outers and teats that have both sides bobbled, do not encourage the rooting or suck reflex correctly. Instead, these kind of pacifiers confuse the baby’s natural reflexes either leaving them to reject the pacifier or adjust their rooting and suck reflex to suit. Sadly, this adjustment sometimes interferes with breastfeeding. 

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