Reflexes are neurological blueprints that help us do movements for survival and to learn skills. Reflexes are triggered by certain movements, touch or sound. Sucking and swallowing are primitive reflexes present at birth to help us learn how to feed. These reflexes are triggered by touching baby’s lips, tongue, and palate. If you put anything in baby’s mouth, they will suck on it and if there is any kind of liquid in their mouth, they reflexively need to swallow it. These reflexes are there for the first 3-4 months while babies are learning how to suck and swallow on their own. Around 3 to 4 months they have practiced sucking and swallowing so many times that these reflexes integrate into the brain and they can suck and swallow by choice. They now move to a more mature oral motor pattern of chewing. If you are going to introduce a pacifier or bottle, do so around 3-10 weeks while baby is reflexively sucking. After 3 months babies now have more volitional control of their tongue and get to choose what they suck on. From 3-4 months babies now reflexively like to practice chewing. If you touch their gums, the reflex is to chew which helps them practice the next essential skill of getting ready for solid foods. Babies start putting everything in their mouth at this age including hands and toys. Hands in the mouth is no longer a hunger cue, but a way to trigger the bite reflex to help practice chewing. If you introduce a pacifier or bottle at this age, you may find that the baby will prefer to chew on it. This is the next stage of development and is normal. If you try multiple bottles, and they refused to take them, you could move to spoon or cup feeding that milk instead. This toy is one of my favorites to practice chewing at this age. It’s called a Wrinkel Rattle & Sensory Teether Toy. I also love O balls this kind of practice.