Do Pacifiers Affect Breastfeeding? 5 Ways To Keep You And Baby Healthy
Being a new mom is challenging, even without the confusion around whether or not pacifiers are okay to use while breastfeeding. You may be wondering, do pacifiers affect breastfeeding? We've gathered everything you need to know about how to keep you and baby health when using pacifiers while breastfeeding.
Curious if pacifiers affect breastfeeding? When you practice these five tips, you can breastfeed and use a pacifier, and keep you and baby healthy.
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1. Pacifiers Don't Complicate Breastfeeding
Despite what you may have heard about nipple confusion, giving a baby a pacifier isn't going to make breastfeeding impossible.
Board certified pediatrician and neonatologist Jessica Madden, MD says, "Babies are a lot smarter than we give them credit for, and for the most part they should be able to get the hang of breastfeeding whether pacifiers are used or not."
A 2016 study observed 1,300 babies and concluded that pacifier use has no impact on whether an infant is still breastfeeding by 3 or 4 months.
2. Pacifiers Soothe Both Baby & You
Babies are born with a natural sucking reflex, which is why pacifiers are so soothing. Not only does a pacifier calm your baby when fussy, but pacifiers are also helpful in soothing babies to help them fall asleep more easily.
And we know both you and baby need all the sleep you can get!
While providing cuddles and comfort to your baby is essential to making your baby feel safe and secure, having the option to use a pacifier instead of your breasts is essential to taking care of yourself.
3. Don't Give The Pacifier ASAP
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For optimal health, avoid using the pacifier in those very early days. As trying as they may be, it's best to use a pacifier after breastfeeding is well established.
This usually happens around 3 or 4 weeks postpartum, but listen to your body and be aware of any natural cues. A woman's breasts tend to feel less full during nursing sessions when her supply has begun to regulate—this is when you know breastfeeding is well established.
4. Signs It's Time To Pop The Paci
One rule we can definitely get behind is that after your milk supply has been established, avoid offering a pacifier in place of a feeding when you suspect your baby is hungry. Trying to replace feedings with a pacifier can mess with your milk supply, even after breastfeeding is well established.
Another time to avoid the pacifier is when your baby is having issues breastfeeding or doesn't seem to be gaining weight. This may also be a sign that it's time to meet with a board-certified lactation consultant.
Finally, if your baby is experiencing a lot of ear infections you'll want to take a break from the paci since constant sucking may make the problem worse.
5. Use The Right Kind Of Pacifier
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The more similar to a nipple, the better the pacifier is for your baby. A rounded tip and soft silicone material is ideal. Silicone has a natural skin-like feeling and is easier for latching.
And remember to keep your pacifier as clean as possible!