Oh, Phew, Shoving A Pacifier In My Kid’s Mouth Doesn’t Make Me A Bad Mom After All

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pacifiers and breastfeedingWhen my 3-year-old was just a baby, I was all about the pacifier. In fact, it didn’t even occur to me not to use one since it was pretty much the only thing – aside from my boobs – that could keep him quiet/soothe him for more than five minutes at a time. My firstborn? He was into his thumb. But my little one was addicted to the pacifier and he still sleeps with it ’til this day (though I really need to get on that).

Anyway, a “friend”-slash-lactivist came over one day and couldn’t hide her horror over the whole pacifier situation. “He’s going to get nipple confusion!” she shouted. “He won’t want your breast if he has his binky to suck on.” I ignored her unsolicited advice, as I’m wont to do, though she certainly wasn’t the last person to express terror over my decision to silence soothe my baby with a paci. Fortunately, they never really got to me, though I am tempted to track them down and shove the latest research in their face. That’s because a recent study has found that pacifiers actually boost breastfeeding as well as their consumption of formula.

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University analyzed feeding data from more than 2,200 infants whose pacifiers were restricted. Nurses at OHSU stopped routinely giving pacifiers to breastfed newborns. (They were still available, but only for special circumstances such as during a circumcision.) Researchers believed that restricting pacifiers would lead to an increase in breastfeeding. But lo and behold, they found that limiting pacifier resulted in decreased rates of exclusive breastfeeding.

“We were really surprised and disappointed because we had hoped that limiting pacifiers would improve breastfeeding rates,” said study co-author Dr. Carrie Phillipi, an associate professor of pediatrics at OHSU.

The results contradict what many health experts and women in general believed to be true. Though, for most moms – at least the ones I hang out with – I can’t imagine the findings would influence their decision on whether or not to use a pacifier. How about you? Does this study change the way you view pacifiers?

(Photo: Ilya Andriyanov/Shutterstock)