How to Keep Your Baby From Spitting Out a Pacifier

A pacifier can be an important part of a new parent's arsenal. It helps soothe your baby, and a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics and published in a 2005 issue of "Pediatrics" found that pacifiers may significantly reduced the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in infants.

However, not all babies take to a pacifier easily. If your baby tends to spit it out, trying a few different methods and taking your baby's preferences into consideration might help.

Introduce the pacifier to your baby directly after a feeding, when she is at her most calm and content. When you use the pacifier as a substitute to feeding, your baby soon learns to associate the pacifier with hunger and will spit it out when you offer it. Instead, offer the pacifier when she is happy and calm, so she learns to associate the sucking action with contentment.

Try a variety of sizes, shapes and nipples on a pacifier. If your baby constantly spits out a flat-bottomed pacifier, the shape could be the problem. Purchase a number of inexpensive options from a baby-supply store, trying each one until you find a shape and texture your baby enjoys. Choose a pacifier that is one piece; it is easier to clean and won't harbor germs or unpleasant flavors in the small areas where the pieces attach. A one-piece pacifier is less likely to pose a choking hazard because the individual pieces cannot detach.

Coat the nipple of the pacifier in a thin layer of breast milk or formula to introduce the pacifier to give it a pleasant taste your baby might enjoy. New pacifiers may have a rubbery taste that babies find unpleasant. However, never coat the nipple in sweet substances, such as honey or corn syrup. It could cause dental problems, and honey can cause botulism in young babies. Breast milk or formula should be used only to introduce the pacifier and should not be an ongoing method to get baby to take the pacifier.

Avoid forcing your baby to take a pacifier. Although they can reduce the risk of SIDS, they are not necessary for all babies. If your baby continually spits out his pacifier, he probably doesn't need one. Follow your baby's cues. Sometimes he'll take the pacifier happily, and other days he will refuse it. Never hold it in his mouth or force him to take it.