Q: Is it okay to give my baby a pacifier to end very long breastfeeding sessions?
A: As long as breastfeeding is well established (i.e., after the first few weeks) it's fine to offer a pacifier. Many newborns try to replicate earlier life in the womb. Before birth, your baby was able to suck on his thumb, wrist, or fist for hours at a time because his arm was in a fixed position right next to his mouth. Now he doesn't have the coordination to easily bring his fist to his mouth, so instead he wants to suck on your breast. Look at your baby's hands for clues to when he's had enough to eat. At the start of a feeding, his hand is high and clenched in a fist. When he's satisfied, it should be limp by his side. When it's about time for the feeding to come to an end, try squeezing your breast, which will express the rich hindmilk quickly and provide a tasty end to the meal. Then let your baby suck on your finger or hold a pacifier in his mouth so he can continue mouthing on that. --Kate Kelly
Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.