Pros & Cons Of Using Pacifier When Breastfeeding

For those mothers who choose to breastfeed their babies, they are told to take care when using a pacifier because it could impact the babies’ ability to get the proper nutrition they need from the breast. This is because many once believed that there would be nipple confusion if pacifiers were given to breastfeeding babies.

According to WebMD, however, this simply is not the case. While nipple confusion exists, most babies are able to transition from nipple to pacifier with no problem. And because of this, women are able to give their babies a pacifier, breastfeeding or not.

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But this does not mean there are not any problems that come with using a pacifier. Which is why moms should know the pros and cons of using pacifiers before offing one to their babies.

Just as there are pros and cons of using a bottle, there are positives and negatives when it comes to using a pacifier for babies as well. The choice to use one or not boils down to whether babies like to use them and whether they provide any relief for the moms who have babies who just cannot be settled.

And once that information is factored in, an informed decision can be made whether moms want to provide pacifiers for their babies or not.


RELATED: A New Mom’s Complete Guide To Pacifiers

Here ae the pros and cons of using a pacifier when breastfeeding.

The Pros Of Using A Pacifier When Breastfeeding

If mothers choose to give their babies pacifiers, that means that there is something positive they found that made them believe it was the right decision for their breastfeeding babies.

Some pro reasons why mothers choose to give pacifiers to their breastfeeding babies includes:

Does Not Make It More Difficult For Babies To Breastfeed

As long as parents wait to introduce babies to pacifiers after they have gotten a hang of a good, consistent latch on the breast to feed, there should not be any difficulty with breastfeeding or taking a pacifier.

Can Be Used When Touched Out

According to Healthline, it is very easy for new moms to feel touched out. And if babies only want to breastfeed for comfort versus nutrition, using a pacifier is a great way to provide that while giving moms a breather for a moment. Something that all moms need every once in a while.

May Protect Babies From SIDS

When babies are given a pacifier to go to sleep, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, they may be protected from SIDS. This is thought to happen because it encourages sucking which stops babies from being in deep sleep for too long.

Because of this, per the publication it is recommended that a pacifier be used at bedtime for those up to one year of age. This timeframe gets babies through the most precarious time in their lives when they are most at risk for SIDS while not causing any dental harm to teeth.

Can Provide Pain Relief

There may be any number of reasons that babies feel discomfort. But, if they suck on a pacifier, they can get relief from the pain being felt in no time flat.

According to the Mayo Clinic, pacifiers have been known to soothe fussy babies, cause babies to be distracted when shots and the like have to be given, and can even help babies pop their ears during flights. As such, a pacifier may just be a good idea for parents to give to their babies.

The Cons Of Using A Pacifier When Breastfeeding

Just like with all things, while there are pros to using pacifiers, there are cons as well. This is why parents need to think through anything that has to do with their children and consider long term effects before giving them something like a pacifier to suck on. Especially when mothers are breastfeeding.

When Introduced Too Early May Cause Problems With Breastfeeding

When pacifiers are introduced too early, there may be some problems with latching that occur. Because of this, the Cleveland Clinic recommends on holding off on pacifiers until babies are two to four weeks of age.

If Used Too Often Can Cause Decrease In Milk Supply

If the choice is made to give babies pacifies versus letting them breastfeed on demand, the milk supply that women need for their babies may decrease. And if this happens, moving to formula for supplementation may be necessary.

Can Make Ear Infections More Painful

According to ABC Newsbabies who sucked on pacifiers were not only more prone to getting ear infections, but they were made more painful when babies sucked on the pacifiers as well.

May Reduce Amount Babies Feed During The Day

Babies make their hunger known by providing parents with cues that show they are ready to eat. But, when using a pacifier, according to Breastfeeding.support, those cues can be missed because babies are sucking on their pacifiers versus their fingers or fists, or even smacking their lips. And when this happens, babies eat less during the day, causing them to wake more and feed at night instead.

May Cause Dental Problems

As babies age, if they continue to suck on pacifiers after their teeth begin to come in, the pacifier can cause damage to the teeth that will require dental care to repair.

Taking Away The Pacifier Is A Tough Process

When it is finally time to take away the pacifier, it can be difficult to do because babies and toddlers become reliant on them, using them as a bit of security. As such, parents should be prepared when the time comes for there to be tears, because there will be some.

Best Pacifiers For Breastfeeding Babies

When it comes to choosing a pacifier for breastfed babies, there are certain ones that may be better than others.

According to EvenFlothe best types of pacifiers for breastfed babies include:

  • Cherry shape
  • Cylindrical shape
  • Orthodontic pacifier

Using these pacifiers not only helps with tongue placement, per the publication but will also help to keep babies’ dental arch from changing. All of which are beneficial to babies when breastfeeding and in the long run.

Source: WebMD, Healthline, American Academy of Pediatrics, Mayo Clinic, ABC News, Breastfeeding.support, EvenFlo

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