I nursed my first child for a year and plan on breastfeeding my
new little bundle of joy. However, I can't remember how long I
waited to introduce a pacifier, so that it would not interfere
with breastfeeding and cause "nipple confusion." Please offer
your suggestions. Thanks!
Many babies switch forth effortlessly between breast and bottle
from day one. Others become "nipple confused" if artificial nipples
are introduced during the early days of nursing, because the mechanics
of breast and bottle feeding are quite different. Babies who suck
on artificial nipples may not suck correctly when they go on the
breast, causing sore nipples.
The risk of
nipple confusion, whether by introducing a bottle or pacifier,
is greatest during the early days of nursing. Breastfeeding is
a learned behavior, in most cases, although there are some babies
who seem to be born knowing exactly what to do. Although sucking
is a newborn reflex, the mechanics of effective latching on aren't.
It usually takes a couple of weeks, and sometimes longer, for
mothers and babies to get really good at nursing. By that time,
any problems you had in the beginning, such as engorgement or
nipple soreness, should be pretty much resolved, and your baby's
pattern of weight gain should be established.
is going along smoothly, there should be no reason to use artificial
nipples in the first couple of weeks of breastfeeding. Nursing
frequently and using the breast as a pacifier are what builds
a good milk supply and helps you and your baby develop a special
closeness during the period immediately after your baby's birth.
Ideally, pacifiers should be introduced after the first couple
of weeks of nursing, and before the baby is a month old. Many
babies will refuse to take it at all if you wait much later than
that to introduce it.
some valid concerns about the use (and abuse) of pacifiers. Aside
from the risk of nipple confusion, pacifier use is correlated
with early weaning for a variety of reasons. Because newborns
love to suck on anything put in their mouth, whether it is a finger
or an artificial nipple, they may use the pacifier as a substitute
for feedings, especially if they are small, ill, jaundiced, or
just have a very laid back temperament. There is a spot in the
back of a baby's mouth where the hard palate meets the soft palate.
When anything touches it, an automatic sucking reflex is triggered.
That's why babies will suck automatically when a finger or a rubber
nipple is put in their mouth. The soft, mushy human nipple must
be drawn back in the baby's mouth until it hits that spot, so
use of an artificial nipple may make him somewhat lazy when it
comes to nursing.
are perfectly content to happily miss a feeding as long as they
have something to suck on, and some mothers take advantage of
this by plugging their baby's mouth with a pacifier every time
he fusses in order to make him sleep longer or go longer intervals
between feedings. Young infants should spend their time and energy
in nutritive sucking at the breast, not in non-nutritive sucking.
Overuse of pacifiers can lead to poor weight gain, plugged ducts
and mastitis, and a decrease in milk supply.
piece of trivia here: did you know that in many countries, pacifiers
are called "dummies?" Hmm. Makes you wonder. After all, all a
pacifier really is just an imitation nipple, and as such it should
be used in moderation and not as a frequent substitution for the
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