One hot topic I often get asked about is pacifiers and nipple confusion. Moms are often concerned that if they offer their baby a pacifier, they won't latch onto to breast. So, should you offer baby a pacifier? Let's discuss:
Pacifiers can be used a a tool and aren't always bad. Many moms are concerned that pacifier use will inhibit their breastfeeding goals or cause "nipple confusion". However, when it comes to breastfeeding, the main thing we should be concerned with is, are we reading baby's hunger cues appropriately? If we are misreading baby's cues and offering a pacifier when they are trying to tell us they are hungry, this is when breastfeeding can be compromised. For babies with poor suck and latch, pacifiers can often be used to improve their oral skills.
When choosing pacifiers, I always recommend ones with a cylindric shape, which places baby's tongue in a more natural position for feeding vs flat shaped pacifiers ( as viewed in photo above).
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends decreasing or eliminating use of a pacifier in the second 6 months of life due to increased risk of ear infections. They suggest that pacifier use beyond 1 year can lead to a higher incidence of dental issues.
I'm Kelli, Speech-Language Pathologist and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I am located in Lubbock, TX and offer speech and feeding therapy, as well as lactation consultations to moms in the area. Give us a call if you are struggling with breastfeeding or bottle feeding your baby. If you are located outside of Lubbock, we would be happy to hop on a virtual call to discuss your concerns.
Little Ones, Infant and Pediatric Therapy
Lubbock, TX Lactation Consultant, IBCLC