The Happiest Baby on the Block: Sucking

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Tips for pacifier use and how to avoid common pitfalls associated with pacifiers and baby sleep.

The 5th S talked about by Karp is Sucking. He calls it the icing on the cake. Karp lists reasons sucking makes baby happy (page 174):

  • It satisfies hunger: I actually would see that as a danger to sucking. If they are hungry, they should eat. But I don’t know that sucking satisfies hunger so much as their desire to simply suck. But Karp later says that if your baby is hungry, she will suck for only a minute before demanding real food, but if what she wanted was non-nutritive sucking, she will happily suck.
  • It turns on the calming reflex.

Tips for Pacifiers (page 176-177):

  • Try different nipples until you find the one your baby likes best.
  • Don’t force it. If she refuses, don’t try to force her to take it. Use the other four S’s first.
  • When your baby is calm, offer her the pacifier. When she starts to suck, give it a tug (but not so hard it comes out). She should respond by sucking a bit harder. Do this again 10-20 times, each time you give the newborn the pacifier.

Pacifier Pitfalls (page 177-178):

  • Avoid the pacifier for the first 2-3 weeks in order to avoid nipple confusion if breast-feeding. If you are having breastfeeding problems at 2-3 weeks, wait longer.
  • Get rid of the pacifier by 4-5 months old. Stopping after 6 months is much more difficult.

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