Benefits and drawbacks of Pacifier Use within Breastfed Babies

 

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Pacifier pros Self-soothing: Some babies can be soothed with rocking and cuddling, and are content to suck only during feedings, but others just can’t seem to suckle enough, even when they’re not hungry. If your baby still wants to suck after having her fill of breast milk or formula, a pacifier may satisfy this urge. The Cons 1. Potential Problems with Breastfeeding. If given a pacifier too early in life, it can potentially cause nipple confusion and issues with your baby’s latch while breastfeeding.

If you choose to use a pacifier, it is recommended to wait to give a pacifier until the child is four to six weeks old. Pacifier Cons Pacifier use has been associated with nipple soreness in the early stages of breastfeeding (Source). An increased incidence of ear infections has been seen with babies who use pacifiers (Source). Increases need for braces later on (Source). Interference with breastfeeding: Introducing a pacifier early (within the first month) can lead to nipple confusion, where the infant is confused between the nipple of a breast and pacifier.

If a newborn constantly uses pacifier he would not suckle the breast nipple properly. Pros of pacifiers: A pacifier could save your baby’s life. Research has linked their use to a decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

One theory as to why is that sucking on a pacifier might help open up air space around a baby’s mouth and nose, which ensures she gets enough oxygen. Pacifier pros Aside from soothing baby and reducing crying, here are a few more reasons why pacifier use is so popular with parents: • Reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages pacifier use when putting baby down for naps and bedtime to help reduce SIDS.

Some of the good things pacifiers can do for your baby and you include: Lower risk of SIDS. Pacifier use during naps or nighttime can prevent sudden. Studies show that pacifier use during naps and bedtime can decrease the incidence of SIDS.

The AAP does recommend all healthy, full-term infants use pacifiers during sleep. I’m not sure why it does, but I think anything that can help prevent such a devastating event is worth using. Can help a baby learn to suck. Lennox has “pacifier teeth.” Pacifier teeth is a consequence from prolonged use of the pacifier. In this post, I want to go into pros and cons of infant and toddler pacifier use and show how it has been a blessing for us and our worse enemy all at the same time.

Pacifiers have pros and cons. A very important benefit is that they are associated with lowering the risk of sleep-related deaths in newborns, especially babies.

List of related literature:

In fact, the AAP states that you should consider using a pacifier when breastfeeding is established at 3 to 4 weeks, at sleep time and naps, as there is evidence that pacifier use reduces the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

“The Pediatrician's Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers: Practical Answers To Your Questions on Nutrition, Starting Solids, Allergies, Picky Eating, and More (For Parents, By Parents)” by Anthony Porto, M.D., Dina DiMaggio, M.D.
from The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers: Practical Answers To Your Questions on Nutrition, Starting Solids, Allergies, Picky Eating, and More (For Parents, By Parents)
by Anthony Porto, M.D., Dina DiMaggio, M.D.
Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale, 2016

Because of the correlation between pacifier use and a decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), experts recommend pacifier use for healthy term infants at nap or sleep time, but only after breastfeeding is well established at about 3 or 4 weeks of age (AAP Section on Breastfeeding, 2012).

“Maternity and Women's Health Care E-Book” by Deitra Leonard Lowdermilk, Shannon E. Perry, Mary Catherine Cashion, Kathryn Rhodes Alden
from Maternity and Women’s Health Care E-Book
by Deitra Leonard Lowdermilk, Shannon E. Perry, et. al.
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2014

The AAP, Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (2005) recommends limited pacifier use in infants, citing the strong evidence for pacifier use at bedtime and nap time and its protective effect in SIDS reduction.

“Wong's Essentials of Pediatric Nursing E-Book” by David Wilson, Marilyn J. Hockenberry
from Wong’s Essentials of Pediatric Nursing E-Book
by David Wilson, Marilyn J. Hockenberry
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2013

At the time of this writing, there is no evidence that pacifier use and nonnutritive sucking in preterm infants has any effect on the initiation and length of breastfeeding.

“Wong's Essentials of Pediatric Nursing E-Book” by David Wilson, Cheryl C Rodgers, Marilyn J. Hockenberry
from Wong’s Essentials of Pediatric Nursing E-Book
by David Wilson, Cheryl C Rodgers, Marilyn J. Hockenberry
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2016

Therefore, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a pacifier at naptime and bedtime, using a pacifier only if the infant is breastfeeding successfully, not using a sweetened coating on the pacifier, and avoiding forcing the infant to use the pacifier.

“Wong's Nursing Care of Infants and Children E-Book” by Marilyn J. Hockenberry, David Wilson
from Wong’s Nursing Care of Infants and Children E-Book
by Marilyn J. Hockenberry, David Wilson
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2014

Therefore, the AAP recommends using a pacifier at naptime and bedtime, using a pacifier only if the infant is breastfeeding successfully, not using a sweetened coating on the pacifier, and avoiding forcing the infant to use the pacifier.

“Wong's Essentials of Pediatric Nursing9: Wong's Essentials of Pediatric Nursing” by Marilyn J. Hockenberry, David Wilson, Donna L. Wong
from Wong’s Essentials of Pediatric Nursing9: Wong’s Essentials of Pediatric Nursing
by Marilyn J. Hockenberry, David Wilson, Donna L. Wong
Elsevier/Mosby, 2013

At the time of this writing, there is no evidence that pacifier use and non-nutritive sucking in preterm infants have any effect on the initiation and length of breastfeeding.

“Maternal Child Nursing Care in Canada E-Book” by Shannon E. Perry, Marilyn J. Hockenberry, Deitra Leonard Lowdermilk, Lisa Keenan-Lindsay, David Wilson, Cheryl A. Sams
from Maternal Child Nursing Care in Canada E-Book
by Shannon E. Perry, Marilyn J. Hockenberry, et. al.
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2016

In two studies, preterm infants with pacifiers had shorter hospital stays (lower hospital costs), showed less defensive behaviors during tube feedings, spent less time in fussy and active states during and after tube feedings, and settled more quickly into sleep than those without pacifiers.

“Physical Therapy for Children E-Book” by Robert J. Palisano, Suzann K. Campbell, Margo Orlin
from Physical Therapy for Children E-Book
by Robert J. Palisano, Suzann K. Campbell, Margo Orlin
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2014

Pacifiers may be a marker for breastfeeding difficulty, but because their use is associated with a possible reduction in SIDS risk, a pacifier can be introduced if desired once breastfeeding is well established after 2 to 3 weeks of age.

“Avery's Diseases of the Newborn E-Book” by Christine A. Gleason, Sherin Devaskar
from Avery’s Diseases of the Newborn E-Book
by Christine A. Gleason, Sherin Devaskar
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2011

The important issue is whether or not the use of a pacifier is replacing feedings, so if a mother is motivated to breastfeed and maintains a frequency of 8–12 feedings per day, the use of a pacifier between meals seems reasonable.

“Avery's Diseases of the Newborn E-Book” by Christine A. Gleason, Sandra E Juul
from Avery’s Diseases of the Newborn E-Book
by Christine A. Gleason, Sandra E Juul
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2017

Oktay Kutluk

Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG is one of the world's foremost experts in fertility preservation as well as ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization for infertility treatments. He developed and performed the world's first ovarian transplantation procedures as well as pioneered new ovarian stimulation protocols for embryo and oocyte freezing for breast and endometrial cancer patients.

Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: +1 (877) 492-3666

Biography: https://medicine.yale.edu/profile/kutluk_oktay/
Bibliography: oktay_bibliography

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8 comments

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  • I would love a video on bottles for pumping moms. My boys refused the bottle after we tried when i went back to work. I had all this milk stashed and he wouldn’t take it. I know other moms have had similar experiences and have difficulty working through it.

  • My oldest used a pacifier and was weaned around 10 months. My youngest wouldn’t accept one at all. Tried all shapes and sizes. She’d spit every single one out lol. But like you, I think the benefits far outweigh any cons. Thanks for this video!

  • Which one is your favorite? Thank you for watching this video. If you like the video, please give me a heart. Then, subscribe to my channel and see next video soon.

  • I’ve been waiting for a new video. I love watching your DITL’s! We are pro pacifier in our house. The fact that it reduces SIDS was enough for me give our son a paci. Plus it gave me a little break when my son wanted to be on the boob all day.

  • Super interesting! We used a pacifier with our daughter, weirdly enough it is actually what make breast feeding work. She would NOT latch for the life of me, but she would onto her pacifier, so I could use her pacifier to get her interested by rubbing it on or around her mouth and then quickly put my nipple in its place. we only had to do that for the first 3-ish weeks. I was adamant that if she wanted something to soothe with that we give her a pacifier because my husbands sister sucked her thumb and had to have a TON orthodontic work done and even 4 years later, at 17 she unconsciously sucks her thumb in her sleep or when laying on the couch browsing on her phone. I thought if I had to break my daughter of a habit I could throw away the pacifiers, but I mean, what was I supposed to do if it was her thumb? It just seemed easier. My daughter quit using the pacifier by the time she was 8 or 9 months old, on her own. she still sleeps with a few, one free standing, a wubanub, and one attached to another plush and she will hold one or more at night, but wont suck on them. I got lucky there! I had planed on returning to work after 12 weeks, so it was helpful that she had something besides my boob to make her happy. Convenience, freedom, and being able to soothe her, and then being able to give myself some peace of mind, it was all around the right decision for us. We will be trying one with #2 in December as well. I agree though that its a personal choice, my hospital is a baby friendly hospital, and I loved them, but I didn’t love the shaming from family, the nurses, my doctor, and random people for giving my daughter one.

  • 2 years old daughter with her godfather said goodbye for her pacifier. It has gone to the sky on the hot air balloon! The only first night she was upset because of missing “best friend” and now she waves for the hot air balloon every time with a smile. Please find this in my video.
    https://youtu.be/VS31sMASEUQ

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  • Oh my goodness Jen, this video was amazing!! I’m starting to introduce Noelle to a pacifier! I didn’t even think about how well it can soothe them during traveling, she recently discovered her hands so she’s been loving those LOL I love your approach to motherhood!