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View Poll Results: When did you introduce a pacifier?

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    3 27.27%
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    3 27.27%
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    4 36.36%
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Thread: Introducing Pacifiers/Dummies?

  1. #1

    Talking Introducing Pacifiers/Dummies?

    I was just wondering when the right age would be to introduce a pacifier? I only want to use once in awhile during the day, but mostly at night and during naps for my little girl...she is almost a month old, so is four weeks of age. Is she past the nipple confusion stage? Any advice? Thank you!!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Introducing Pacifiers/Dummies?

    I have a story-I talked to a mom yesterday (I found the call so interesting she gave me permission to share her story) with a three month old who she really hopes to nurse until at least a year. She called because her baby had been so terribly fussy in the evenings that baby would not nurse and so mom had begun supplementing-long story short, it turned out the problem started about 6 weeks ago after mom introduced the pacifier at night, as well as swaddling baby, and baby started sleeping 10-11 hours(!) every night-an incredibly long and unnatural length of time for a baby that young. As we talked about the possibilities, the mom realized that the fussiness was (likely) in part due to the baby trying to get all her nutrition needed for 24 hours in the half that time she was able to nurse...Luckily, The mom was pumping at night, (she would feel so full she had to) so she kept up her milk supply, and she also is one of those moms who has an overabundant milk supply to begin with, so baby was gaining fine. So this issue will be fairly simple to reverse, and I would have thought that in such a case, this long sleep time was not obviously an issue. (As it is when long sleep stretches causes milk supply issues or slow weight gain.) But this illustrated to us that even in her case, early introduction (and overuse) of a pacifier was leading her and her baby down the road to early weaning from the breast, because her baby's unnatural sleep patterns was causing behavior issues that made it difficult to nurse baby.

    What has to be remembered about pacifiers (and swaddling) is that these are techniques used to pacify babies and keep them asleep, quiet, and/or not cueing to nurse-longer than they would naturally do so. This is what they are designed to do! A pacifier can be very problematic because the action of sucking releases a hormone that helps baby fall sleep. (which is why nursing baby is a great way to gentle baby to sleep.) But if the sucking is happening on a pacifier, baby may suckle & sleep right though needed feedings.
    A baby does not wake up frequently at night in order to drive parents nuts. (That's just a side effect.) They do not cue mom to nurse frequently to be inconvenient (even though sometimes it is inconvenient to drop everything and nurse.) They do so because they need to eat frequently and comfort at the breast throughout the entire 24 hour day. This not only allows them to get enough overall, it keeps moms milk supply where it should be. Long stretches without nursing in the early months can not only make it difficult for baby to gain appropriately, it can harm milk supply, and in some cases, as the above story illustrates, cause more subtle breastfeeding problems as well. Even at one month, you would expect baby to wake every 2-3 hours if not more frequently at night. At around 3 months, you can 'hope' for a longer stretch-up to about 5 hours, which is the definition of sleeping through the night. But some babies will not do such long stretches until later. If a baby is naturally sleeping longer, and milk supply and weight gain are good, it is probably fine. A few babies just roll that way. It’s when a baby is being kept asleep by interventions that dull their natural needs and cuing behavior that there may be issues.

    So the issue with pacifier use is not primarily the concern of nipple confusion-which would be obvious pretty quickly-but also that, if overused, it can lead to milk supply, weight gain, or behavior issues, which might not be noticed until harm has been done, and could lead to an earlier than desired end to breastfeeding.

    This does not mean I would suggest a mom never introduce pacifiers this early, that is going to be an individual call. Rather I would suggest keeping in mind what pacifiers are designed to do, how that may impact breastfeeding, and use them very carefully no matter when they are introduced.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Introducing Pacifiers/Dummies?

    While I understand what you are saying, I am in no way trying to have it replace feedings and such...this would be an opinion rather than an answer. I am only trying to introduce merely for a few hours of her being able to sleep on her own, instead of on me all the time. Maybe nap usage as well, but never to be detrimental to her health...thanks though

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Introducing Pacifiers/Dummies?

    I don't think it would cause confusion. I couldn't get either of my girls to use one at that age, but I did use one at around 5 months with my second daughter until she quit using it around 10 months. I thought that the issue with pacifiers was that it could mess with your latch. If you're trying to use it to get some free time during nap, maybe try and slip it in her mouth after she has fallen asleep nursing.

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  5. #5

    Default Re: Introducing Pacifiers/Dummies?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*calielizabeth View Post
    While I understand what you are saying, I am in no way trying to have it replace feedings and such...this would be an opinion rather than an answer. I am only trying to introduce merely for a few hours of her being able to sleep on her own, instead of on me all the time. Maybe nap usage as well, but never to be detrimental to her health...thanks though
    I am so very sorry that my post gave the impression I think that you or any other mother ever introduces a pacifier with the idea that doing so is detrimental to baby’s health! In looking over my lengthy post, I can only guess that a section where I attempt to joke about babies keeping parents up at night gave this impression. I am truly very, very sorry. I certainly do not believe that, at all.

    I was attempting to point out that pacifier use has the potential to create issues that affect breastfeeding, including slow weight gain, milk supply issues, and early cessation of breastfeeding-something that comes as an unwelcome surprise to many moms but that breastfeeding experts (which I am not) have noted for some time, based on studies.

    I am not pointing out these potential issues to upset or judge anyone, on the contrary, having seen many moms sad, angry and frustrated over breastfeeding problems that could have been avoided if they had only had more information, my intent in putting this info out there is to help moms nurse their babies as long as they want to. My suggestions are just that-suggestions-which I assumed was what you were looking for. I was trying to suggest that a mom knows her baby best, and with a good understanding of the potential issues, she can introduce a pacifier when and if she thinks best with less risk of any issues down the line.

    No one can tell you with certainty the magic moment paci use will not cause any issues. Some babies can take a paci from day one and it's no problem, others have issues even when they are introduced much later. Many experts agree it is ok to try introducing pacifiers once breastfeeding is well established, which I do not disagree with.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Panama City, Panama

    Default Re: Introducing Pacifiers/Dummies?

    I gave her a paci in the first month, only because the pedi told me to (the day after she was born), so she wouldn't suck her finger (?), I had no idea it could cause trouble and as a first time and very young mom I used to do EVERYTHING the pedi said .

    That said, at least for Aini it wasn't a problem, she would still wake up at nights for feedings. It did cause some latch problems at first, and I would have changed the amount of times I offered the paci when she was so young. I know I'm lucky she didn't have much problem with BF, because even in the hospital I'm sure the first thing she ate was formula.

    I don't see it as the evil heehee, because it has helped all her caregivers (daddy, grandma and nanny) to make her feel better when I'm not around . But I would try to keep it for naps only.

    Mamá de Aini 19-09-10 (or, for my English speaking folks: 09-19-10)

    Pregúntame sobre pañales de tela Ask me about cloth diapers!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Introducing Pacifiers/Dummies?

    I just read an article today, funny enough, about a study regarding pacifiers and Breastfeeding. It seems introducing pacifiers will not interfere with Breastfeeding. I think it was on msn or CNN.

    My babies were swaddled from day one to about 7M. My 13w old is swaddled and uses a paci.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Introducing Pacifiers/Dummies?


    I have read three of the articles about this study (but not the study, which I cannot find in its entirety online) and it appears to me this study looked at the impact of limiting the amount of pacifiers given out by nurses during typical post birth hospital stays in one hospital. Thus it is not about breastfeeding duration but breastfeeding initiation. It found breastfeeding INITIATION rates in this hospital went down when nurses had to sign out pacifiers and were limited in when they could use them. It did not, however, come to any conclusions about why this occured. It looks like it may have increased unnecessary formula use in the hospital, which makes sense, if you think about it. But I cannot tell how conclusive that is.

    The study did not follow up with the mothers who initiated breastfeeding in the hospital to see if or how breastfeeding duration was affected by this policy.

    There are many interesting things about this study, but does it in any way prove breastfeeding is not negatively impacted by pacifiers, or that pacifier use actually helps with breastfeeding? No. Nor do the researchers suggest it does. The headlines written by the reporters/editors do that.

    This study does not attempt in any way to look at the impact of parents giving pacifiers to sooth babies to sleep or for any other reason in the days and weeks and months following birth.

    The major impact of pacifiers I noted previously and which was found by several studies over the last decade or so is not necessarily from "nipple confusion" that causes babies to not want to nurse or nurse incorrectly as a consequence of using a pacifier in the first hours after birth in the hospital. It is that pacifiers when used frequently (one study says daily) can, without moms knowing it, pacify baby through feedings and that will, in turn, over time, cause weight gain/milk supply issues, which in turn leads to otherwise unnecessary bottle feeding, formula feeding, pumping etc, that then makes breastfeeding very difficult and leads to early breastfeeding cessation. Which is why La Leche League has never (to my knowledge) told mothers that pacifiers will cause issues and not to use them, but rather that pacifiers are not always necessary, that it is OK to allow baby to pacify on the breast, and, if pacifiers are used, it makes sense to do so with consciousness about not letting their use interfere too much with normal nursing frequency & comfort nursing. IMO this study does not change the wisdom of that in the least.

    For anyone who is interested, this article covers the issue of pacifier use & breastfeeding, with references to several studies.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: Introducing Pacifiers/Dummies?

    I waited to introduce a pacifier to DS2 until he was over a week old, and then because I was desperate to give him an alternative to comfort nursing because I had oversupply and he had reflux and I thought if he could use a pacifier after feedings it would help him to not need to nurse for comfort. However, he flat-out refused a pacifier every time we tried to give him one, and so we struggled through many months of him projectile spitting-up because he insisted on comfort nursing even though my milk came out so fast and forceful that he got too much every time.

    This time around, with DS3, I was determined to introduce a pacifier right away, before he could get too used to comfort nursing all the time. As it turned out, he was in the NICU for the first week of his life so he got pretty used to having a pacifier just as I had wanted. It didn't take long once we brought him home, however, for him to develop a marked preference for nursing and he pretty much "weaned" himself off the paci by the time he was three weeks old, despite us (particularly DH when I was not available) continuing to offering it frequently. Now, if he can't nurse, he prefers nothing over a pacifier.

    Which has led me to the conclusion, that it doesn't matter when you introduce a baby to a pacifier, as some babies will accept them and some babies won't and it has more to do with personality than it does with when the paci was first introduced, kwim?

    Wife to Nick, m. May 2005

    Mommy to Gabriel (b. January 2007, 8lbs. 15oz.), nursed 18 months.

    Isaac (b. August 2009, 9lbs. 1oz- naturally), nursed 22 months, through PPD/PPA and emergency gallbladder surgery.

    and Corban (b. March 2012, 11lbs. 6Oz.- naturally in the water), my NICU baby, still nursing strong at age 2!

    Daughter of God

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Shakedown St.

    Default Re: Introducing Pacifiers/Dummies?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    I have read three of the articles about this study (but not the study, which I cannot find in its entirety online) and it appears to me this study looked at the impact of limiting the amount of pacifiers given out by nurses during typical post birth hospital stays in one hospital.
    The paper has not been published yet. It was presented at The PAS national meeting today. Anyone reporting on it should have been at the talk. The abstract has a bit more information than the popular literature:

    Increase in Supplemental Formula Feeds Observed Following Removal of Pacifiers from a Mother Baby Unit

    It will probably be several months at the very least before the research is published in a journal. I agree that it seems limited from the abstract. Hopefully the authors will expand their data set before submitting it for review.

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