0 - 12 Weeks

Pacifier do’s and don’ts for breastfed babies

Sleeping baby

You may have heard conflicting advice about whether to give a pacifier to a breastfeeding baby. And if it is okay, when’s the right time? We sort through the science and expert recommendations to offer a few dos and don’ts. 

DO wait until breastfeeding is going well

Babies can be comforted by using their sucking reflex. However, pediatricians and lactation consultants agree it’s best to wait until breastfeeding is well-established before offering your baby a pacifier. As your infant learns to breastfeed, a pacifier may confuse them since it requires a different sucking action. Also, breastfeeding to satisfy your newborn’s urge to suck helps your body learn how much milk to make to keep your infant growing and comfortable. 

The exact time to offer a pacifier varies but is usually between 2 to 6 weeks. If your baby is nursing regularly, seeming satisfied after feedings, peeing frequently, pooping at least three times a day, and gaining weight, breastfeeding is likely going well. 

DON’T give a pacifier to delay breastfeeding

Your baby’s feeding needs are unpredictable. Some days they may go through a growth spurt and want to nurse every hour or two. Other days, your infant may sleep for 4 hours or more. 

Even if breastfeeding is going well, nursing when your baby wants to help your body produce the right amount of milk for ideal weight gain and development. A helpful tip is to avoid using a pacifier in the 30 minutes or so before you suspect your baby may want to nurse, so you can observe their hunger cues. 

DO look for cylindrical-shaped pacifiers

Breastfed babies often prefer pacifiers that more closely resemble the shape and feel of a nipple. Look for one made of soft silicone, which feels a lot like skin. As for shape, pacifiers with a rounded tip and cylindrical shape are closest to the shape your nipple forms during nursing. 

Your baby may prefer a different kind of pacifier. If they’re feeding well, you can try a few to discover the one they like most.

DO offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime once breastfeeding is established

This helps reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), a rare event. If your baby doesn’t want to use a pacifier or it falls out after they fall asleep, it’s okay, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

DON’T offer a pacifier if your baby is relaxed and happy

There’s no reason your baby should or must use a pacifier. If they aren’t comforted by sucking on one, there’s no need to force one. 

Learn more about the research

Hauck, F. R., Omojokun, O. O., & Siadaty, M. S. (2005). Do pacifiers reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome? A meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 116(5), e716-e723.


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Posted in: 0 - 12 Weeks, Feeding, Newborn Care, Health, Lovevery App, Child Development

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