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Our daughter is 3 weeks old. She is good at both breastfeeding and formula. However, most of the time she won't do a pacifier. She will sometimes take a pacifier (it's a matter of seconds until she quits), but generally she doesn't want to have anything to do with it at all.

Our motivation: When she actually does take one, she calms down and seems to relax. My wife and I tend to agree that breastfeeding is what we want to do, but she'll normally fall asleep only when she eats. Therefore, our daughter has trouble falling asleep unless she's feeding from my wife or a bottle. I feel bad because my wife often has a bottle "on-demand" (for obvious reasons), and I've been trying to help out where I can... Any thoughts or suggestions?

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    OH... 3 weeks old... Well, congrats and Happy Father's Day! – Sylas Seabrook Jun 16 '14 at 3:47
  • Thanks, you too! It's our second, but our first one loved her pacifier... – inertialmedia Jun 16 '14 at 3:49
  • I wondered for a long time if I had a second child just how different they would be than the first. I won't find out, but you will and it started so early! :) I did use my pinky on occassion (per the midwife's suggestion). But, what's not "easy" about her normal sleep? – Sylas Seabrook Jun 16 '14 at 4:00
  • She normally falls asleep only when she eats. My wife and I tend to agree that breastfeeding is what we want to do, so our daughter has trouble falling asleep unless she's feeding from my wife or a bottle. I feel bad because my wife has only one tool to soothe her, and more often than not she is the one feeding (for obvious reasons)... But yes, it's amazing how much different your children's personalities can be :) – inertialmedia Jun 16 '14 at 4:06
  • Well, keep in mind that at 3 weeks "normally" isn't really all that applicable. It's good that you want to be a strong contributor, but sometimes each parent simply has to do their part as nature has defined it. Breastfeeding especially at this age is key and no guy will substitute! :) – Sylas Seabrook Jun 16 '14 at 4:10
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You may not like to hear this, but how about not giving her a pacifier? I grew up without ever having one. My daughter is well beyond that age and never had one. My mother always told me (unverified) that they increase the chances you'll need braces. It doesn't harm her not to have one, so why worry?

  • Good Answer! When she takes it, she seems to relax. It'd be nice if she'd stay with it longer than a few seconds, and she could nap easier... – inertialmedia Jun 16 '14 at 3:34
  • Perhaps it's the "nap easier" which is the problem. It is implying that there is something otherwise 'not easy'. I'd need more definition of "easier" to give more advice. – Sylas Seabrook Jun 16 '14 at 3:36
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    My daughter used a pacifier to satisfy her reflexive suckling throughout the night, and if it popped out overnight, she'd cry and we'd have to replace it. She didn't use it for very long (a few months), then became disinterested. – Noah Jun 16 '14 at 3:39
  • Yeah, this might just be a child that doesn't take them. ("If there's one thing, all my kids have in common, then it's that each one of them is totally different from all the others.") OTOH, IME breast-fed children need to learn to use a pacifier, as the technique of using them is totally different from sucking on a teat. – sbi Jun 21 '14 at 22:42
  • @sbi By "need to learn", I hope you mean "will need instruction if it will be used" as opposed to "must be required to use". – Sylas Seabrook Jun 22 '14 at 1:29
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The other answers are good, but they focus on whether pacifiers are good or bad. A baby's cry is an alarm. At that age, it doesn't reflect intent or preference, it's just an indication that something's out of order like an engine fault light in a car.

When your baby takes the pacifier and stops crying it's because the pacifier fixed the problem, when it doesn't then it's because it didn't.

I think there's two things that are frustrating you (and frustrated me a few years ago).

First, if a baby needs sleep, they sure will go to sleep. Some will resist it for ages but it doesn't matter for them. A baby doesn't have to go to work in the morning, they can sleep when they like. The same's not true of the parents, which is very frustrating when the baby won't shut up.

That links to the second thing. A baby's cries are nearly useless for working out what's wrong. I know there's some horse-whisperer, earth-mother types who claim to be able to reliably write a paragraph about what's up based on subtleties of the child's cries. Good for them. But for the rest of us it's a boring sequence of first guess, second guess, third guess, over and again, etc.

I know that you're checking for nappies, and illness, and stuff because you're a sensible adult human being, but often I think it's easy to overlook just things like cuddling, or looking outside, or taking for a walk outside over your shoulder, or a trip in the car around the block. I think it's usually a matter of experimentation. My little one liked Wagner on YouTube (ffs, I'm not so much a fan) and also me standing in the doorway looking out onto the street (not at the same time). [You can guess how many things I tried to soothe a baby to sleep before trying Wagner, ;-)].

Also: it passes. The baby stage doesn't last very long at all.

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I agree with the suggestions that you don't use the pacifier at all. However, have you yet found the pacifiers with the little stuffed animal attached? It's there to add weight and stability to the pacifier and keeps it on the baby's chest. They look like a pacifier with a beanie baby sewed to the part that we grip. Good luck, and probably your little one is just going through one of many short lived phases.

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I totally agree with not giving her one at all, we gave our son one and I wish we never did, if she does take it make sure you dont make the mistake we did and that was not taking it off him early, he is 4 now and still asks for it.

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Let her drive. If she wants to use the pacifier, awesome. If not, try something else.

Forcing her to use a pacifier is likely going to result in her getting more worked up. Just try something else like white noise. White noise was our secret weapon for nap time.

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Don't feel bad. Feeding the baby is something your wife is infinitely more qualified for. This is why she has breasts and you don't. There are plenty of other ways you can help out though.

When ours were little, my wife would feed them and I would burp them, do the diaper changes and the bathing etc. This seemed a very fair balance.

We never used pacifiers or formula. Our babies were exclusively breast fed until they were old enough to start on solids.

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