Breastfed Babies May Need to Skip the Pacifier

Pacifiers are a hot topic in parenting. Some people find it is a great way to soothe and comfort baby with minimal effort on the parents’ part. Babies are born with an extremely strong impulse to suck. You may have even seen your baby sucking on his thumb during an ultrasound. However, there are many practical reasons why you may want to skip the pacifierâÂ?¦especially if you are breastfeeding.

Giving a pacifier to a young nursling can cause what is known as “nipple confusion”. This is especially a concern during his early weeks of life, before breastfeeding is really established. Since it requires different muscles to suck on a pacifier than it does a nipple, baby may become confused. Nipple confusion, in its worst case, can cause latching problems and even a failure to thrive as a result.

Another reason a nursing mother will want to leave out the pacifier is the fact that her milk supply depends on suckling. The more a baby suckles and comfort nurses, especially in the beginning, the better her milk supply will be. If baby is being satisfied by sucking on a pacifier, he may be replacing some of his meal time. Eating less means poor weight gain and a lower supply for mother, increasing the chances of early weaning.

There are alternatives to giving a pacifier to a breastfeeding baby. Lactation consultants, the world over, recommend comfort nursing. This will not make your baby overweight, as much of the time is spent sucking, not suckling. Many nursing mothers are fine with being baby’s “human pacifier”. If that doesn’t work for parents, try offering a clean finger or knuckle in order to calm baby down.

Parenting trends come and go. Twenty or thirty years ago, many women were choosing to formula feed babies and pass out binkies with abandon. Now, studies are showing that parenting trend to be decreasing. Reasons for that may be the increase of information woman are receiving about their baby’s health. Certainly, this information isn’t condemning parents who give their babies pacifiers. Some infants are very sensitive and need round the clock soothing. It is in everyone’s benefit, however, to wait at least six weeks until introducing one.

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