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Duh Factor - Pacifiers Interfear with Breastfeeding

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A new study has been released that shows the use of pacifiers can make it more difficult for mothers to establish successful breastfeeding relationships with their babies. The study was put together by researchers from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in conjunction with the Western Australian Centre for Evidence Based Nursing and Midwifery and Curtin University of Technology.

"Given the overwhelming evidence about the benefits of breastfeeding, it is generally advisable that mothers avoid the use of dummies [pacifiers] in order to increase the likelihood that their babies will breastfeed more effectively and for a longer period," said report co-author, Dr Garth Kendall from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.

All I have to say is:


Any mother that has experienced the frustration of trying to nurse after their child has been given an artificial nipple could have saved these researches the time and money spent proving this "scientifically."

Breastfeeding isn't easy for mothers OR for babies. It takes work. Pacifiers and the nipples on baby bottles are incredibly easy for babies to latch on to. That means that quite often, once a baby has had a taste of the "easy" nipple, they're not so keen on doing the work anymore to latch on to the real thing. (Even if it has yummy mommy milk in it...) That's why breastfeeding friendly hospitals put signs in baby bassinets that notify hospital staff that a baby is being breastfed. That way the baby doesn't accidentally get slipped a pacifier or a bottle if they end up in the nursery or with nursing staff.

In fact, many pediatrians suggest that a baby not be given a pacifier or a bottle until a breastfeeding relationship has been firmly established.

We avoided pacifiers all together with Elnora, mostly because I didn't want to have to deal with breaking her from them but also because she was always a pretty content baby. When she was very young, I'd give her my pinkie finger to suck on if she was fussy. Always worked just fine for her. By the time she was a few months old, she'd outgrown it. Didn't make a difference for us with breastfeeding though as once we did our first supplementing by bottle (with pumped breast milk) she never would latch again.


  1. Blogger K | 5:41 AM |  

    You are so RIGHT. It is amazing how quickly this can happen. My baby was given a pacifier in the hospital AGAINST my insructions and getting him to latch thereafter was a nightmare. And then my supply tanked (or never came in -- hard to tell).

    You can delete this comment if you find it inappropriate, but I have made it my mission to warn moms giving birth where I did to be very vigilant about this issue -- the hospital was OSU Medical Center in Columbus. They have jars and jars of soothies -- watch out!


  2. Blogger Jennifer | 7:07 AM |  

    Hey Kelly! (glad to see you here!)

    I'm with you. I've heard of a couple of local hospitals doing that. I will say that Riverside was great in that they had a big sign on Elnora's bassinet making it clear that she was breastfed.

    Of course that didn't help when they took her to the nursery one night and I had to call three times and finally pitch a fit to get her back.

    Not going back to a hospital myself...we'll have the next one at home unless we're high risk. If we're high risk, then DH simply won't be allowed to leave at night. No way I'll ever send a baby back to the nursery again.

  3. Blogger Mrs. Wheezer | 9:14 AM |  

    It still amazes me how much research will support the 'duh factor' once politics are put aside.

    I guess I've been very lucky. Both of my kids were born in a hospital that had no nursery. My baby left me just long enough to have the PKU heel stick and the hearing screening. Everything else was done in the room with my supervision. And guess what? Both babies latched beautifully and I nursed the first one 14 months, and my 10 month old and I are still going strong!

    Keep up the good work!

    Mrs. W.

  4. Anonymous Jax | 12:39 PM |  

    Now you see, here's one of the benefits of homebirths, or is that just a tiny bit too alternative ;) Nobody slips your baby anything, except you :) Having said that, I did try to give Small a dummy a few days in, when I was getting kind of sore from the comfort sucking, and was perversely pleased when he spat it across the bedroom floor. Think he already knew that breast was best.

    Now, what I was actually doing here was looking for the tassle twirling post, stop distracting me with all this good conversation!

  5. Blogger Jennifer | 12:50 PM |  


    Would you believe that tassle twirling post actually pulls traffic from Google? No joke...some nut job out there is actively searching Google for something along the lines of "tassle breasts public" or something similar.

    People are strange...

    Homebirth...no way is that too out there. Love it! Can't wait to plan it for the next one.

    Though there aren't a lot of midwives running around in Birkinstocks in Ohio...may have to steal one from the Amish...

    (umm...a midwife, not a pair of Birkenstocks...)

  6. Anonymous Jax | 2:12 PM |  

    Jennifer, I would believe many things about ppl and how they use google - I run a home educating blog (and a blogring for home educators for that matter) and read the stats :)

    What amuses me is the look I imagine is on their faces when they find our sites :)

    btw, I've linked to this blog from my home ed blog, hope that's OK.

  7. Blogger Jennifer | 2:15 PM |  

    "What amuses me is the look I imagine is on their faces when they find our sites :)"

    LOL! So true...

    "What? No Boobies? Just Babies? BAH!!!"

    (Hmm...is there a shirt in that?)

    I'm working on getting my new stats setup so that I can open up access to everyone to view as part of the 30 day project. I can set them to view only and people can really play around. Hoping to have that done by tomorrow....

  8. Anonymous Jax | 2:54 AM |  

    "These boobies are for babies"? Or isn't that quite in keeping with most of your slogans? Or just "Boobies for babies" :)

  9. Blogger Jennifer | 9:28 AM |  

    I'll have to think on that...the one I really love is "Silly man, tits are for kids!"

    But my general rule has been that I won't steal a shirt from someone else. If I come up with it and find that they exist somewhere else too, that's ok...but no stealing. :)

    Hmmm....boobies...boobies...something about boobies....

  10. Anonymous E | 8:52 PM |  

    Interesting! Luckily I never had any problems with both of my breastfed and pacifier lovin' babies!

    I guess everyone is different though!

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