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Baby Gags On Pacifier: Top 5 Causes And How To Address It

Baby Gags On Pacifier

When it comes to baby gagging on a Pacifier, Babies have their unique ways of expressing discomfort or unease, and one common scenario many parents encounter is when their little one gags on a pacifier. This can be distressing, especially for new parents who may not be familiar with the reasons behind this behavior. In this article, we’ll explore the top 5 causes of why a baby may gags on pacifier and provide you with effective ways to address this issue. But before this let’s understand what is gagging.

What is Gagging?

Gagging is when your body’s reflex makes your throat and mouth muscles contract because something is irritating them. This reflex helps prevent choking. When you gag, you might cough, retch, or even vomit to get rid of the irritating thing.

What is Gagging

For babies, gagging on a pacifier happens when the pacifier irritates their throat and makes them uncomfortable. This can lead to coughing or retching. Parents need to know why this happens and what to do about it to keep their baby safe and comfortable.

Read Also: Managing Toddler Tantrums: A Step-by-Step Guide 

What Can Trigger Gagging?

  • Gagging can occur due to various triggers including:
  • Presence of irritating substances in the mouth
  • Infections like tonsillitis
  • Acid reflux (GERD)
  • Dental issues
  • Emotional stress.

Babies and young children may gag when overwhelmed by sensory stimulation. Some individuals have strong aversions to certain tastes or textures that can induce gagging. Remember, the gag reflex is a protective response, but if it happens frequently or without an apparent reason, it’s wise to consult a healthcare professional for assessment and advice.

Potential Causes and their Solutions:

1- Size Matters:

One of the primary reasons why a baby may gag on a pacifier is the size of the pacifier itself. It’s essential to choose a pacifier that matches your baby’s age and developmental stage. Newborns require smaller, more delicate pacifiers, while older babies can handle larger ones. Using the wrong size can result in discomfort and gagging.

Solution: Check the packaging for the recommended age range and size when purchasing pacifiers. Ensure you’re using the right size for your baby’s age and mouth.

2- Overstimulation:

Sometimes, babies may gag on a pacifier when they are overstimulated or overwhelmed by their surroundings. This reaction can be their way of coping with sensory overload. When a baby is already feeling overwhelmed, introducing a pacifier can add to their discomfort.

Solution: Pay attention to your baby’s cues. If they seem overwhelmed or fussy, try to calm them down using other soothing techniques like swaddling, gentle rocking, or holding them close before offering the pacifier.

3- Improper Insertion:

Incorrectly inserting the pacifier into your baby’s mouth can trigger a gag reflex. If the pacifier is pushed too far back or positioned incorrectly, it can cause discomfort and lead to gagging.

Solution: When giving your baby a pacifier, gently place it in their mouth, ensuring it’s in the right position. The pacifier should rest comfortably on the tongue without being pushed too far back.

4- Teething Troubles:

Teething can be a challenging time for babies, and their mouths may be more sensitive than usual. If your baby is teething, the pressure of the pacifier against their gums can cause them to gag.

Solution: During teething, consider using a teething toy or a chilled teething ring instead of a pacifier. These can provide relief to sore gums without triggering the gag reflex.

5- Acid Reflux or Sensitivity:

Babies with acid reflux or sensitivity to certain foods may be more prone to gagging on a pacifier. Acid reflux can cause discomfort, and the sucking motion of using a pacifier can exacerbate the issue.

Solution: If you suspect your baby has acid reflux or food sensitivities, consult with a paediatrician for guidance on managing their symptoms. They may recommend changes to their feeding routine or diet.

When Should You Be Concerned About Your Baby Gagging On Pacifiers?

Concerns about your baby gagging on a pacifier are natural for parents, but there are certain situations where you should be particularly vigilant:

  • Frequent and severe gagging is a concern.
  • Choking hazards with the pacifier need attention.
  • Gagging along with feeding problems or weight issues should be addressed.
  • Look out for other accompanying symptoms like fussiness, drooling, or discomfort.
  • Ensure you’re using an age-appropriate pacifier.
  • When in doubt, seek advice from a healthcare professional, especially your paediatrician.


Gagging on a pacifier can be unsettling for both parents and babies, but understanding the underlying causes can help you address this issue effectively. Always choose the right size and shape of a pacifier for your baby’s age, be mindful of their sensory needs, and ensure proper insertion. If you suspect an underlying medical issue, consult with your paediatrician for expert advice. By following these tips, you can help your baby enjoy the soothing comfort of a pacifier without the discomfort of gagging.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I stop my baby from gagging on the pacifier?

To prevent your baby from gagging on the pacifier, ensure you select the appropriate size and shape that matches their age and developmental stage. Insert the pacifier gently into their mouth, making sure it rests comfortably on their tongue without pushing it too far back, which can trigger the gag reflex.

What to do if a baby hates a pacifier?

If your baby dislikes the pacifier, it’s essential not to force it upon them. Instead, experiment with various pacifier shapes, textures, or soothing techniques like swaddling, gentle rocking, or cuddling, which might provide the comfort your baby seeks.

Why do babies reject pacifiers?

Babies might reject pacifiers for several reasons. It could be a matter of personal preference, discomfort with the pacifier’s feel, or simply a preference for other soothing methods, such as breastfeeding or thumb-sucking.

Why do babies gag so easily?

Babies tend to have sensitive gag reflexes, which can lead to easy gagging, especially if the pacifier is not the right size or is inserted improperly. Always use an appropriately sized pacifier, and be attentive to your baby’s comfort cues.

At what age do babies get attached to pacifiers?

Babies typically become attached to pacifiers between 6 and 12 months of age. However, it’s essential to begin the weaning process around 6 to 12 months to prevent long-term dependency, as excessive pacifier use beyond infancy can impact oral development and teeth alignment.

Read Also: SITBACK Method: A Guide to Taking Cara Babies for Better Sleep

Emiley Walker Author & Writer | Parenting and BabyCare at Mamaadoptation About I'm a passionate writer committed to using storytelling to support and uplift families on their fostering and kinship care journeys. At Mama Adoption, I create engaging content that empowers parents and caregivers navigating the joys and challenges of raising amazing children. Expertise Childcare Parent coaching Parenting Attachment parenting Parent-child Relationships Baby Products Newborn Baby Knowledge of different parenting approaches (e.g., authoritative, permissive, authoritarian) Strategies for managing and modifying children's behavior communication techniques Understanding child psychology Specialized knowledge in supporting children with disabilities Highlights Certified in Family dynamics, Parenting guide, Effective communication skills. Education Emily Walker holds a Master's degree in parenting guidelines from Air university where she cultivated her expertise in understanding child development, effective communication, and family dynamics. Her academic journey ignited a lifelong passion for unraveling the complexities of parenting and helping others on their parenting journeys. Experience Emily Walker's professional journey is marked by a wealth of experience: Nurse (RN) - Pediatrics or Mother-Baby Unit Babysitter Authorship: Emily has authored numerous articles, essays, and books on parenting guidelines, all crafted with a blend of academic knowledge and practical wisdom. Parenting Workshops: She has conducted workshops and seminars, both online and in-person, providing parents with actionable tools and strategies. Consulting: Emily has worked as a parenting consultant, offering personalized guidance to families facing unique challenges. Media Contributions: Her insights have been featured in various publications, including parenting magazines and television programs. Emily's Approach to Parenting: Emily advocates for: Positive Discipline: Promoting non-punitive methods for teaching and guiding children. Open Communication: Fostering open and respectful communication within families. Child-Centered Parenting: Prioritizing the well-being and development of the child while supporting parents in their roles. Thank you for visiting Emily Walker's author page. Join her on a journey of discovery and empowerment as she guides you through the fascinating world of parenting guidelines. Together, let's nurture the next generation with love, knowledge, and understanding.

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