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Thread: Pacifier use

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Question Pacifier use

    DS will be 6 weeks tomorrow, and I am fairly certain he is going through the 6 week growth spurt. He also has pretty severe reflux and laryngomalacia.

    Anyway, while I don't think I have an oversupply, I know I have OALD, at least for DS. I the evenings, he wants to comfort nurse, but he gets so upset because he ends up getting milk. He pulls of, gags, chokes and screams, but he still wants to suck, so we repeat this pattern over several hours, with a few short catnaps in between.

    Today I was able to get him to take a pacifier so I could get a break from his incessant eating (again, 6 month growth spurt - think nursing for 30-45 min every hour, so only 15 min naps between feeds). I am wondering, since he seems ok with it, if it is acceptable to use the paci as a tool in the evenings when it seems he just wants to suck for comfort? My only concern is that if at some point he decides he really wants to eat, I wouldn't know, but I have been told babies won't accept a paci if they really are hungry and want to eat.

    I am also wondering, since I have read about possible benefits of pacifiers for reflux babies, if anyone has a "strategy" or some kind of schedule that would help me comfort him with the paci without jeopardizing our BF relationship? When he took it earlier today, he seemed less gassy, less gagging/choking, and had a nice big poop right after his nap. Could be coincidence, but since he nurses a lot to soothe his throat and that causes "overeating" a paci seems lie a good option to me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Pacifier use

    As long as breastfeeding is going well and the pacifier use is not interfereing with baby nursing frequently including for comfort, it is probably fine to introduce a pacifier for occasional use. In other words, I would try to avoid using the pacifier in a pattern or habitually, but rather on a sort of as needed basis. It won't interfere with breastfeeding as long as baby still looks to the breast for food and comfort. But if a baby is getting comfort elsewhere regularly, that can cause early weaning. It is very important that a breastfed baby nurses regularly for comfort, including nursing to sleep, not only when they are hungry.

    I would suggest keep working on strategies for dealing with the forceful letdown as well. Have you seen the kellymom article?

    but I have been told babies won't accept a paci if they really are hungry and want to eat.
    this is not true. Studies have linked pacifier over use to poor weight gain. It is smart to be cautious when using a pacifier.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Re: Pacifier use

    My DS is 8 weeks old and I'm struggling with some of the same issues, though we haven't been diagnosed with reflux or laryngomalacia. He is a spitty baby that likes to comfort nurse at night. We were getting into these cycles where he would be fussy; I'd put him to breast, he'd eat, he'd burp, he'd spit up (a lot) and we would repeat the cycle several times in an evening. While everyone says that it's impossible to overfeed a breastfed baby, my son would spit up several tablespoons at a time (usually on me). So when we are in that cycle in the evening, I usually let him cluster feed for several rounds (an hour back and forth, switching breasts give or take)If he spits up on me more than twice, I slip the paci in for 5 minutes or so, to see if that calms him. Often it does, and I slip it out after that. It's enough to "break the cycle" but hopefully not enough to block hunger signals. As soon as he cues for feeding again, I feed him again, even if it's just a few minutes after the "paci break." If he falls asleep with the paci in his mouth, I also slip it out after a few minutes. I think it's working. I got tired of him spitting up all over me multiple times an evening, and my oversupply was getting worse. An older baby would probably be better at comfort sucking, and I let him do that plenty too.

    DS Ethan 12/16/2008
    Breast fed/pumped 11 months as a surgical resident, 80 hours a week at work
    DS Abram Daniel 12/20/2012
    Feel like we've gotten a strong start

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Re: Pacifier use

    I agree that you don't want to get into the habit of giving the pacifier too often. I think at 6 weeks, it's probably fine to use one some of the time provided baby is gaining well, and not hungry. If you're unsure whether it's hunger or just wanting to suck, try nursing first.

    As for the OALD, have you tried unlatching baby when you let down and allowing it to spray into a clean towel/burp cloth? Then you can re-latch him afterwards and he won't have the spray to contend with. I found that it worked very well for us with my second baby, as he had a very hard time with my OALD.
    Mommy to L - May 7, 07' , B - February 7, 09' , and R - August 18, 12'

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: Pacifier use

    I don't do the mentioned things for helping with oald only because technically it's not - my milk doesn't spray at letdown, and those techniques don't seem to change how DS handles things. It's almost as if my overall flow is just too fast for him, period. I nurse him reclined about 95% of the time (basically when we are out and about and it's not possible is the only time we don't), and that helps tremendously.

    Really it seems to me, more than oald, that in the evenings he's just not hungry and doesn't want to/can't deal with the flow that is too fast for him. My hope/plan is that I will offer the breast in the evenings/before naps, but if he fusses, give him the paci to help him get to sleep, rather than wind him up at the breast. If he calms down and gets sleepy at the breast, I'd have no reason to give him one at all. So potentially that's more than once a day, but really I just think evenings and possibly a motn feeding if we have issues then.

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