Breastfeeding and Pacifiers

Good or Bad?
Should I Give my Baby a Pacifier?

When is it okay to use a pacifier?

Baby pacifiers should not be used prior to six weeks of breastfeeding, or before breastfeeding is fully established. This is so that your baby does not replace your breast with the pacifier (this is called “nipple preference")

If a baby starts to drink less from the mother's breasts, the mother's Prolactin levels will decrease and she will start to produce less milk. 

Early and frequent stimulation of the breast, will ensure that the glandular cells in a mother's breast become fully developed. Pacifier-use may sometimes hamper this from occurring. 

If you notice that the pacifier-use has reduced your baby’s feeding times, you should stop the use of the pacifier.

pacifiers and breastfeeding

Mothers have been found to overuse pacifiers; a pacifier should not be used to soothe a baby every time he/she needs comforting.

Your baby needs your attention, love, affection and skin to skin contact too. 

Best Times for Baby Pacifier Use

  • When a mother is away from her baby during the day. 
  • When a mother is trying to wean from night feedings.
  • At nap times, it can be used until your baby has fallen asleep. 
  • A teething pacifier can be used while your baby is teething, for comfort.

Warnings about Using Pacifiers

  • Pacifiers should not be coated in any sweet liquid, as this could cause bacteria growth and oral thrush.
  • Infant pacifiers need to be cleaned often; they need to be replaced monthly.
  • Do not give your baby a pacifier, if you are breastfeeding and he/she is under one month old.
  • Babies who use pacifiers are more prone to getting oral yeast infections, which could be transferred to the mother, causing a breast infection.
  • Babies who use pacifiers are more prone to ear infections.
  • Never give your baby a pacifier with a string around it, it is a strangulation hazard.
  • Avoid using pacifiers that are made from latex; silicone pacifiers are safer.
  • Prolonged pacifier use, for longer than a year, can lead to a baby’s teeth becoming misaligned, it can also cause soft palate and speech problems.
  • Pacifier use may decrease feedings and therefore decrease the hormones that cause lactational amenorrhea. This will result in the return of a mother's periods and return of her fertility, quicker than she might like. Read more about breastfeeding and menstruation

Breastfeeding and pacifiers

The use of preemie pacifiers are not recommended, premature babies need even more time at the breast, than full term babies. Giving a premature baby a pacifier, will reduce milk intake and, therefore, decrease weight gain.

Breastfeeding and Pacifiers
Getting Rid of the Pacifier

Weaning from baby dummies

How to get rid of the pacifier?

Just throw it in with the garbage. Some children wean very easily and do not have a problem with this. 

Pick a date, let your toddler know that he/she does not need the pacifier anymore. Weaning from pacifier-use might take two or three days of crankiness, especially at night, but the earlier you get your baby off of the pacifier, the easier it will be.

If you are experiencing breastfeeding problems, it is best to stay away from pacifiers. 

I am a Human Pacifier

Other pages on “breastfeeding problems" in connection with breast feeding and pacifiers

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The Pacifier Belongs to Mom Not rated yet
Mothers should be taught that the pacifier belongs to the parent and not to the baby. It is a tool she can use sparingly at special times when it is …

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