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Thread: Can offering pinky cause nipple confusion?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Question Can offering pinky cause nipple confusion?

    My LO is almost 4 weeks old. We are still working on our latch...she clicks a lot and I have OS and OALD. She wants to suck a lot. I try to be her human paci as often as possible, but my DH and I will offer our pinky finger at times to hold her over (nail side down and hands washed of course). I don't want to offer a paci. Can offering the pinky cause nipple confusion???
    Cosleeping, Cding, BWing, Aping, nonvaxing, Ecing, Tandem nursing Mama

    Breslynn Noelle 3/15/08
    Adalynn Grace 5/7/09

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Re: Can offering pinky cause nipple confusion?

    That's a really great question. My first thought is no, but then I though "why is that?"
    I can't find any resources that speak directly to your question (anyone?) but I guess the answer lies in how nipple confusion is caused.

    This does a really good job of explaining it - from this (non LLL) link

    What is Nipple Confusion? It is a problem that arises when a breastfed baby is given an artificial (rubber or silicon) nipple and must try to learn to nurse both from his mother's breast and the bottle nipple. While seemingly similar, these two feeding methods require completely different mouth and tongue motions and swallowing skills.

    In breastfeeding, the baby needs to take as much of the nipple and areola into his mouth as possible to 'pump' the milk from the milk ducts. In bottle feeding, he uses his lips to grip the tip of an artificial nipple. Some nipples do better to imitate a natural breast, but none are quiet the same.

    In breastfeeding, the baby must place his tongue beneath the nipple and use it to help create the 'vacuum' needed for nursing and to pump and swallow the milk. In bottle feeding, the baby must place his tongue in front of the nipple and uses it to stop the flow of milk while he swallows.

    In breastfeeding, the baby removes milk from the breast by a combination of sucking and pumping the milk from the milk ducts. When the baby stops sucking and pumping, the milk stops flowing. In bottle feeding, the milk flows fairly readily from the nipple once an initial suction is created and then the baby simply controls the flow by placing his tongue over the holes in the nipple.
    So if you are allowing her to manipulate the finger as she would the breast, and since it's warm flesh (like the breast) and she can pull it further into her mouth - then there is less potential harm than a paci.
    Also babies who have severe sucking problems, or who have problems getting milk from the breast are often finger fed.

    HTH answer your question.
    LLL Leader

    Breastfeeding is an instinctual and natural act, but it is also an art that is learned day by day.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Re: Can offering pinky cause nipple confusion?

    I don't know for sure if it will cause a problem, but my DD would only take my pinky as a pacifer for a long time and she didn't have any problems.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Cool Re: Can offering pinky cause nipple confusion?

    I agree with PP, the confusion comes from the flow of a nipple, really. Like, a paci doesn't have a flow at all. And a bottle has a constant flow. So LO has to learn to compensate for those, which makes them do weird things with YOUR nipple
    Hi there

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Default Re: Can offering pinky cause nipple confusion?

    I can answer your question.....pinkey sucking WILL NOT cause nipple confusion. I read this straight from the Dr. Sears "The Breastfeeding Book" It makes total sense after reading the explanation.....This is it...

    Nipple confusion is due to the different sucks..the placement of the tongue. On a breast the tongue must push forward and under the nipple. A paci or nipple from a bottle keeps the tongue pushed back, therefore a different sucking motion takes place. The pinkey does just the same as a breast essentially because the tongue is under the pinkey. Dr. Sears recommends doing this if you are sure that your LO's belly is full and might just be having a fussy period and needs to suck...as we all know babies have an insatiable(sp) need to suck..!!!!

    HTH..bring on the pinkey when you need to
    Leslie- Momma to Aiden 02/28/06 AND Owen 2/28/08...What timing

    Older and wiser voices can always help you find the right path, if you are only willing to listen.--Jimmy Buffet

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Re: Can offering pinky cause nipple confusion?

    We used the pinky often and had no problems. It was very soothing to her in the first few weeks. She has never has enjoyed her paci. After 6 weeks or so, she found her thumb and loves it. Not much you can do about that. At least she never loses it and she can comfort herself if I don't come running quit enough...

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