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How do I get my baby to take the paci?

In the NICU, we use the paci for soothing the infant and also for training the infant in preparation for breastfeeding and bottle feeding. Practicing that rhythmic sucking pattern helps the infant prior to feeds and also calms babies when they are upset. Many babies in the NICU are too sick, fragile and can't tolerate being held or touched.

When not in the NICU environment, it is your choice to use a paci, you are the mother.

If you would like to offer the paci, here are a few tips. A lot of times, when you offer it, the paci just pops back out of their mouth. The type of paci is up to you, just make sure that the backend of it is not too heavy as the weight will pull it out of their mouth. When offering the paci, touch the nipple of the paci to their lips, give them a few second and they should open. If the baby is crying, try and calm first and then touch the lips with the paci. When they open their mouth, point the nipple towards the tongue, when they feel it on their tongue, that's when they tend to close their mouth and suck. I always put my finger on the paci and a finger just under the chin to remind them to suck and hold that position until they get a good strong rhythmic sucking pattern. This allows them to keep the suction better so they won't loose it as easy. When they fall asleep, it usually falls out of the mouth and they don't notice. lf you have a baby that wakes up when it falls out of their mouth, then you may use your swaddle blanket to help keep the bottom of the paci in place. But always remember to never anchor the paci to where they can't spit it out, if your baby gags or spits up, they need to protect their airway.

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