Yes, pacifiers can be given to a healthy breastfed baby from birth. Studies have shown that using a pacifier in healthy breastfeeding babies, starting from birth or after lactation is established, did not significantly impact the frequency or duration of exclusive and partial breastfeeding up to age 2.
Families make many decisions for the best health and well-being of their little ones in the first year. Some decisions are made before the baby is born, and some are made along the way.
Families face a question in the early days of having a baby: whether or not they should give their little one a pacifier. There are many opinions and advice on this subject, so let’s take a close look.
Nonnutritive sucking is a natural reflex for a fetus and newborn, usually first recognized by sucking the hands and fingers. Pacifiers have been used as a method of soothing throughout history.
Pacifiers help parents and infants get through periods of crying when the infant is either not hungry or too full to eat but still needs the comfort that the instinctual sucking reflex provides.
Families have found that pacifiers can be especially helpful to most kids in the early months when sleep and quiet moments can be elusive.
Every infant is unique, with distinct needs. Ultimately, whether or not you offer your baby, a pacifier is a personal decision.
Trying to decide what is best for your infant is not always a cut-and-dry decision. Here are some benefits and potential drawbacks of pacifier use.
Pacifiers are popular for a reason. They can bring your baby comfort, help them sleep, and the most significant advantage - reduces the risk of SIDS.
🚼 Provides Comfort
Your newborn is experiencing their senses all at once for the first time outside the womb. Everything is unfamiliar, and this can feel overwhelming for your baby. A pacifier can add to the reassurance of a familiar face and soothing voice of caregivers.
A pacifier is a terrific way to provide comfort for your baby and give parents a little break. A pacifier offers your baby the chance to suckle, and it can lead to the first steps to self-soothing for the older infant.
🚼 Helps Baby Fall Asleep
While a pacifier may not improve the quality of your baby's sleep, it may help the baby fall asleep faster. Whether bottle-fed or breastfed, your baby has the innate desire to suck. Breastfeeding infants often want to nurse when falling asleep because it's comforting.
As your little one moves out of the newborn stage, offering a pacifier may allow for an easier way for them to fall asleep alone without rocking or nursing for comfort.
🚼 Premature Babies
One particular benefit of pacifier use is that giving preemies pacifiers resulted in quicker sucking success and transition to oral feeding. Term infants can find the same advantage when needing extra support in latching.
🚼 Reduces the Risk of SIDS
SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies under one year of age. Studies have shown that using a pacifier during sleep reduces the chances of a baby suffering from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by as much as 90 percent.
This is significant and can bring peace of mind at night, knowing that your baby is safer while they fall asleep.
While a pacifier offers families some much-needed comfort, there are some downsides to introducing these soothers.
🚼 Nipple Confusion
There is a theory that pacifiers should only be introduced when breastfeeding is well established.
The primary reason is that your baby uses a different suckling technique when using a pacifier versus nursing at the breast. The worry is if introducing a pacifier too soon; it can negatively impact the breastfeeding relationship. Your baby may grow to prefer the pacifier, turning away from nursing because of the effort it requires.
Don't worry. Findings have shown that a pacifier is not going to make breastfeeding impossible and can help to calm a fussy baby.
🚼 Dental Development
A prolonged and frequent pacifier habit can eventually lead to a tough habit to break and dental problems such as crooked teeth or bite issues in your baby’s mouth.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends discouraging pacifier use after the second year. Restricted pacifier use can keep more significant dental worries at bay.
There are some simple rules regarding pacifier use. As always, safety is paramount.
Introducing pacifiers at the right time may be vital to avoiding breastfeeding complications. To reduce the experiencing challenges, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents begin introducing pacifiers after breastfeeding is well established, generally around 3 to 4 weeks of age.
Since babies use the same sucking technique when using a pacifier and a bottle, you don’t need to worry about nipple confusion if your baby is exclusively bottle-fed. Using a pacifier right from the start should not cause worry.
Breast bottle or combination fed families can feel confident knowing that a pacifier can aid in providing a safe infant sleep environment.
Using pacifiers in infancy is generally considered safe and, in fact, can be an excellent tool for keeping risks low for dangers such as sleep-related infant deaths.
However, long-term use can lead to dental problems like pacifier teeth. Pediatric Dentists recommended avoiding dental issues for two years and, before that time, use sparingly.
It is also best to avoid adding sweet substances to your little ones’ pacifiers to prevent future decay.
Babies and toddlers who overuse pacifiers are more likely to develop middle ear infections. One plausible explanation is that sucking on a pacifier changes the pressure in the throat and ears. Another explanation is that pacifiers can also spread bad bacteria causing infections.
Frequent sanitation, especially when the pacifier falls, and restricted use can solve this particularly worrisome issue.
The decision to use a pacifier or not is as unique as your baby’s. Parents and caregivers have many decisions to make starting from the first day, and The Milky Box is here to walk alongside you.
Can Pacifiers Be Given to Breastfed Babies?
Are Pacifiers Bad for Your Baby?
Good news! Pacifiers can be highly beneficial. Check out our pros and cons to help you decide if it suits your family and find essential safety tips as well.
Can Pacifiers Help with Air Travel?
Many parents may wonder whether pacifiers help with ear pressure while traveling. The answer is yes!
Sucking on a pacifier can aid in lessening ear pain by increasing the sucking sensation and swallowing flex. These reduce air pressure changes and can provide pain in the Eustachian tubes.