Soother troubleshooting: Why is my baby spitting it out?


A dummy or soother can be a really useful tool for parents to use when settling and soothing your baby for sleep. However, it can also become extremely frustrating when all your baby seems to want to do is spit it back out!

Some babies are natural-born suckers, they will take to the soother immediately and find great comfort in the sucking motion. But other babies may take a little more help and guidance to get used to using one.

Here are some tips that might help, if you have a baby who likes to spit the dummy!

1. Introduce the soother when your baby is calm

Some babies may be instantly soothed by a soother when they are upset but others will become more agitated and upset. Avoid trying to introduce the soother in a moment of desperation when your baby is crying or unsettled. When they are feeling like that, chances are nothing except you is going to cut it!

Try introducing it after a feed and not as a substitute for a feed, or at a time when they are feeling calm and happy. Let them look at it, hold it if they are able and explore it a little, and chances are they will happily let you put it in their mouth and start sucking away. That way they will learn to associate the soother with feeling relaxed and calm.

2. Take cues from your baby

If your baby is opening their mouth it means they are looking for something to suck on. Gently place the soother on their lower lip or tongue and their natural sucking reflex should kick in. If they are closing their mouth or turning away they are telling you they are not interested.

3. Trial and error

Sometimes it may take a couple of different types of dummies before you find the one that your baby likes best. They come in different shapes and sizes, so as long as you are still opting for one that is suitable for their age, it is fine to try a few different variations before you find the one that they love.

4. Never put anything on the soother

If your baby is not showing interest, never put anything on the soother such as honey or sugary drinks to entice them as this can be dangerous for their bodies to digest. Honey may cause infant botulism and cannot be given to babies under 12 months.

5. Don’t force it

Sometimes the stress of trying to get the baby to use the soother can be worse than if you weren’t using one! Don’t force the baby to keep using one if they are not interested, you are best to leave it a day or two and try again. Some babies will take one right from the newborn stage and others might take longer to warm up to one. They might not be interested until three or even six months of age. 

When it comes to soothers, always follow your baby’s cues and remember that every baby is different. Using a soother is a skill that will take time for your baby to master. Always keep it a happy positive experience and eventually they will come to find lots of comfort in their soother.

This is a paid partnership between Kiindred x Medela.

Related Articles
How to make sure you’re using a soother effectively
8 reasons your little one may be throwing a dummy spit at bedtime…
5 tips for creating a soothing sleeping environment

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