If you plan on or are breastfeeding, it is recommended to delay the use of a pacifier until breastfeeding is well established, usually by about 6 weeks of your babies life. This is because if a baby is sucking on a pacifier then they aren’t stimulating the breast. Less sucking at the breast can be detrimental when trying to establish your milk supply. Some women may see a decrease in long term milk production if a pacifier is used to early.
A pacifier can also effect the way your baby latches. A pacifiers shape and feel is very different from your soft breast and your baby may start to prefer the pacifier. Pacifier use may also alter feeding schedules and cause babies to not eat enough or often enough.
Prolonged pacifier use can effect the oral development of your babies mouth.
Pacifiers also have benefits as well. When a baby is in the NICU pacifiers are often used to comfort babies who are separated from their parents or during painful procedures. Pacifiers are also used when teaching proper sucking techniques when a baby has feeding issues.
If you chose to use a pacifier always chose the correct one based on your babies age. Silicone pacifiers are preferred due to an increase in latex allergies. Straight pacifiers are a better option then a curved one because your baby will suck on the pacifier in a similar way to your breast. Always consider if your baby is hungry and put baby to breast before offering a pacifier.
If you are using a pacifier and your baby starts to refuse the breast or you are having difficulties breastfeeding or sore nipples this could be due to nipple confusion. Discontinue or decrease the use of a pacifier and exclusively breastfeed. If your baby has weight gain issues or has decreased the frequency and/or duration of feedings you may need to avoid pacifier use. Also, do not use a pacifier if you or your baby is diagnosed with thrush. Also, don’t force it! At one point when my children were infants and had a hard time transitioning to the crib, I tried a pacifier to help sooth the transition. But neither on them would take it!!
In the end, the decision is based on what you this is best for you and your baby! Theses are just some things to consider when choosing whether or not to use a pacifier. 🙂