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Soothers and Pacifiers

You may have people telling you to give your baby a pacifier. Here are some important facts about pacifiers to consider:

  • Pacifier use can lead to problems breastfeeding. It may cause nipple confusion and may reduce mom’s milk supply by reducing the stimulation at the breast. Research suggests that babies who use artificial nipples early on are less likely to exclusively breastfeed and more likely to breastfeed for a shorter length of time.
  • Prolonged pacifier use has been linked to dental problems and increased ear infections, both of which can have a negative impact on speech and language learning.
  • Pacifiers can be a choking hazard and source of oral infections.
  • Babies can become dependent on them.
Research suggests that babies who use artificial nipples early on are less likely to exclusively breastfeed and more likely to breastfeed for a shorter length of time.

When you have made your informed decision about pacifiers, look at ways to comfort your infant:

  • Take care of physical problems first – hunger, a need for a diaper change, or a need to burp.
  • Do skin-to-skin to help calm the baby. He will feel most protected with your presence.
  • Rock your baby in a rhythmic, gentle motion.
  • Try a baby swing or rocking cradle.
  • Gently pat or stroke baby on the back or chest.
  • Try gentle swaddling of the baby; make sure baby’s arms and legs are free to move; make sure baby is not overheating.
  • Walk with baby in a sling or in a stroller.
  • Go for a ride in the car using an appropriate car seat.
  • Turn on some white noise (such as a washing machine or vacuum cleaner).
  • Give the baby a warm bath.
  • Have the baby listen to, and watch, running water.
  • Lay the baby tummy-down across your lap and gently pat his or her back.
  • Give the baby something new to look at or hold.
  • Take the baby outside or for a walk in fresh air.

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