Pacifiers and Breastfeeding

Do artificial nipples discourage nursing?

Literature on breastfeeding has long advised parents not to give pacifiers to newborns, fearing that the introduction of artificial nipples would have a negative impact on nursing. There has been little scientific proof of this connection, though -- until now. In a randomized trial that included 700 mother-baby pairs, researchers at the University of Rochester in New York found that moms who gave their infants pacifiers in the first month stopped breastfeeding several weeks earlier than those who didn't use pacifiers until later. Though the study wasn't able to pinpoint the exact cause, the researchers say there's enough evidence to support counseling new parents to back off on the binkies. "If you want to use a pacifier, try to wait as long as you can to introduce it, or at least until breastfeeding is well established," says lead author Cynthia Howard, M.D.

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All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

Copyright © 2003. Reprinted with permission from the May 2003 issue of Child Magazine.

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