should I use a pacifier

Should I use a pacifier with my newborn [or will it cause nipple confusion]?

That is the question! Pacifiers are a hot topic. Should you use a pacifier, that’s ultimately up to you as parents. But as a newborn care specialist, postpartum doula, sleep consultant and lactation educator…I am very pro Paci. Let me explain why:

Pacifier Concern number one: Pacifiers will effect breastfeeding

In my experience, pacifiers only have a positive effect on breastfeeding! Breastfeeding parents get to take a BREAK and don’t have to be a human Paci 24/7. They can get their baby into better routines and rhythms because their baby doesn’t need to use them for both nutrition and soothing.

I have never worked with a baby that can’t easily go from breast to bottle and back again. *nipple confusion* is absolutely a thing! Babies have difficulty going from bottle to breast and back again in those early weeks. It isn’t just experience, but data supports this as well. It’s unfortunately something that became common knowledge…and isn’t entirely accurate!

So if you are anti-paci because you are afraid of it damaging a breastfeeding relationship, you don’t have to worry about that! Waiting weeks to offer a Paci typically means that your baby will never take one. If they aren’t introduced early babies typically lose interest. As a parent, not offering a Paci is one of my biggest parenting regrets!

Pacifier concern number two: It will effect my child’s oral development

This is an accurate concern..when they are two years or more years old. We work exclusively with newborns, so we are talking about the pros and cons of pacifiers on the first 3 months.

Pacifier concern number three: It will effect my child’s speech development

Also, accurate. Also, see above. We typically recommend that after 6 months of age that if parents continue to use pacis that they are kept in the crib. They live there and they don’t come out into the real world!

Pacifier concern number four: My baby will become addicted to their pacifier

Again…you are on the money. Valid concern. However, would you trade a couple of hard nights of weaning for months of hard nights? Pacifiers generally make the newborn experience much more enjoyable for parents [and for babies!]

Examples of Paci magic:

  • Bottle isn’t ready yet– pacifier
  • Baby has gas – pacifier [did you know that sucking has a mild anesthetic effect for babies?]
  • Baby is just mad and doesn’t want/need anything – pacifier
  • Baby is away from primary caregiver – pacifier

Pacis aren’t magic, and babies can definitely become dependent on them. If you keep a pacifier into toddler years then yes, they might come into speech or oral development concerns…but none of those concerns are a factor the first 3-6 months.


Overnight support and Pacifiers:

When we provide overnight support we strongly suggest pacifiers. Some of our team members aren’t comfortable working with families that aren’t offering pacifiers.The reason for this is that our goal is for parents to get as much sleep as possible, and that means efficiently soothing your baby to sleep as quickly and quietly as possible! Pacifiers enable us to do that.

Sometimes parents will allow us to use pacifiers on our shifts with the caveat that we wean them off before our time has ended. We are more than happy to do so! The final few nights that we are with your family we can support them Paci-free.

Pacifiers don’t have to be forever!! They can be a lovely temporary support for new parents.