The Happiest Baby on the Block: Sucking

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The Happiest Baby on the Block: Sucking

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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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. The Lewis Farm
    February 26, 2009 / 11:48 PM

    My 9mo old has not been napping well (30mins) during his afternoon nap. He’s always been a reliable, 2+hr afternoon napper. Developmentally, he’s trying to pull to standing, but this only happens a few minutes out of the total awake time he’s in his crib. He will sit, quiet as a mouse, for over an hour! No toys, no distractions. He sleeps 12-13hrs at night, and takes a 1.25hr morning nap, both with no issues. For the past 2 days, I’ve gone in and told him firmly that it’s time to nap, and would lay him back down. I’ve done this probably 15 times. All that happens is he cries and immediately sits back up. Thank you in advance!

  2. The Lewis Farm
    February 26, 2009 / 11:48 PM

    This has been going on for 3 weeks.

  3. bradysmom
    February 27, 2009 / 12:33 PM

    BTW – I love the site. It looks very pretty!!We used the paci when we were trying to get Brady on his schedule. I used it if I needed to hold off eating by maybe 5-10 minutes, to help keep him on schedule. It would satisfy him until I fed him and I feel it also helped him to not be so frantic when it was time to eat.We also had to use it for naps. Nothing worked with him for sleeping past 45 minutes. Brady was always an extremely alert baby, and as soon as he woke, that was it. CIO didn’t work at all – it only made it worse. After trying everything else, the only thing was the paci. I figured that if I only had to use it at nap times and the 1 or 2 occasions that i needed to hold him out a little bit – oh well. Considering that we tried everything else, I had to just go with what worked because I know those naps are so important to them!

  4. Jessica
    March 1, 2009 / 12:50 AM

    I think it is important to mention that the use of a pacifier during sleep correlates to a reduction in SIDS deaths among infants. Why, they are not sure, but studies have shown it to be true. Because of this I started giving my daughter a pacifier when she sleeps. The possibility of a power struggle and meltdowns when the pacifier is taken away pales in comparison, for me, to lowering the SIDS risk for my daughter. A fan running in their rooms also reduces SIDS.

  5. Plowmanators
    March 3, 2009 / 5:37 PM

    Lewis Farm,I would consider a possible need for longer waketimes in the day. If you going in doesn’t lead to him napping, I wouldn’t do it.Also, be sure it isn’t teething or some other sickness.

  6. Plowmanators
    March 3, 2009 / 5:39 PM

    Thanks Bradysmom for your thoughts!

  7. Plowmanators
    March 5, 2009 / 11:14 PM

    Jessica,Yes, the AAP says that pacifier use might reduce the risk of SIDS. They state that they believe it is because the infant does not sleep as deeply while using a pacifier. This is the same reasoning they suggest you share a room until 6 months of age.

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