Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
Did you catch the latest study calling the idea of “nipple confusion” into question?
In an effort to promote breastfeeding, OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Oregon literally put its pacifiers under lock and key. To get one, nurses needed a good reason, such as soothing post-circumcision. And they were required to enter a code as well as the patient’s name.
This practice did not promote breastfeeding rates. On the contrary. Breastfeeding rates declined by 10 percent.
“Despite the common belief among medical providers and the general public that pacifier use negatively impacts breastfeeding, we found limiting pacifier use in the Mother-Baby Unit was associated with decreased exclusive breastfeeding and increased supplemental formula feeds,” explained Kair [a resident in pediatrics at the hospital].
In an article on the study at Today Moms, The World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund sticks to its guns.
“The primary reason for WHO’s policy on pacifiers is the potential for interference with suckling and establishing lactation,” says Dr. Chessa Lutter, a senior advisor in food and nutrition for the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization.
“There is some evidence to suggest that giving pacifiers or bottle nipples can interfere with suckling and getting a good latch on. It’s very important that the baby be able to properly latch on, which evolves over baby’s first week of life. Establishing a good suck is extremely important for the mother as well, so her own nipple isn’t irritated or damaged,” Lutter says.
I confess to being a rule-follower, especially when it comes to my kids. If prevailing knowledge says to hold off on the pacifier for about a month to prevent nipple confusion, I hold off on the pacifier for about a month to prevent nipple confusion. Which is what I did. My 12-week-old now digs her pacifier. She also digs the boob. And the bottle. She’s quite equal opportunity, nipplewise.
I want people to continue to examine issues relating to my children, even if—especially if?— doing so shatters previously held beliefs. But it does get maddening when it’s drilled into your head to do things one way, for the clear health and well-being of your child, and then someone comes along with an, “Oopsie! Scratch that. Reverse it. Now carry on!” Tummy sleeping and drinking beer to promote nursing both come to mind.
My takeaway: Go with your gut. Even when experts are telling you one thing, if your built-in mama instincts are pulling you in the opposite direction, go there. (Within reason, of course.) Those instincts truly are worth trusting.
Were you a rule-follower like me, or one of those rebels that used a pacifier out of the gate? How’d that go for you and the kid?
Also: Check out my fellow Parents blogger Jill Cordes’ thoughts on the matter. (Hint: She’s less of a rule-follower than I!)
Image: Face of Adorable Baby with Pacifier in Mouth Looking at Camera via Shutterstock