Methodist Health System Services
Breastfeeding and Pacifier Use
Pacifiers are not recommended while establishing breastfeeding.
For successful breastfeeding, it is better if your baby begins by learning and practicing only the unique style of sucking that draws milk from the breast.
Different Sucking StylesTo understand why pacifiers are not recommended when you begin breastfeeding, you need to know a little about nature and anatomy.
Your baby was born pre-programmed to learn to suckle the breast, and the way your baby sucks changes when he or she switches from your breast to the artificial nipple of a pacifier or bottle.
Prevent Nipple confusion
Your baby may suck ineffectively, unable to empty the breasts for best nutrition. The reduced stimulation and inadequate emptying will decrease your milk production, and your baby's attempts to suck only the end of the nipples will create nipple soreness for you. You may also miss important feeding cues if your baby's mouth is busy with a pacifier , resulting in reduced milk intake and inadequate nutrition.
Avoid pacifier-related problems
- poor weight gain
- plugged milk ducts
- early weaning
- increased ear infection
- increased oral thrush and other infections
View comfortable positions to hold your baby breastfeeding, and view a diagram of successful latch-on by a breastfeeding baby.
After breastfeeding is established
Offer a sleep-time pacifier - after breastfeeding is established.
Instead of a pacifier for fussiness, try these things
- change the diaper
- cuddle the baby
- place the baby skin-to-skin on your chest
- swaddle the baby
- sing or talk to the baby
- play soft music
- add or remove clothing
- walk or rock the baby
- place the baby in a swing
- pat, stroke or massage the baby
- and remember to never shake a baby!