Are pacifiers *really* that bad???? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-10-2011, 07:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas!  

 

I'm currently 38 weeks pregnant with my DD2.  I'm still nursing my almost 3 year old...she has always been a MAJOR nurser and nursed around the clock from the time she was born until I got pregnant.  I nursed her for everything...hunger, comfort, sleep, boo-boos, etc.everything.  At 18 months she was still waking to nurse 6+ times a night.  I was so worn out that I could barely function.  I'm starting to get really worried that I'm going to go through that again with this little baby. Don't get me wrong, I love nursing her, but it takes a toll after awhile. I was very anti-pacifiers with her as I was afraid it would damage our breastfeeding relationship. I'm going to be tandem nursing this time too. I'm starting to wonder if there is anything I can do differently.  My question is:  For those of you who used pacifiers, did you notice any negative effects to your breastfeeding relationship?  Yes or No, and when did you introduce the pacifier, at what times (bed), etc.  I'm still not sure if I'm comfortable with using one, but I'd like to hear from some experienced mamas.

 

Thanks


Blissfully happy and devoted wife to my best friend and anamored by my sweet baby girls, DD1 (8/8/08) and DD2 (06-17-11). Proud attached, tandem breastfeeding, baby-wearing, blw mama.

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Old 06-10-2011, 08:24 AM
 
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I don't know how much this will help, but I attempted to use pacifiers with both of my children, and it just made them mad.  I'm not averse to them on principle, my kids just didn't like them.  Just something to think about even if you decide to use them. 

Mine were exclusively breastfed, so perhaps the rubber/silicone/whatever tasted different/felt different.  I don't know.  I've never been real upset that they didn't take them. 

In your situation, though, it does seem like it would take some pressure off of you (although I'd almost rather the older child be 'pacified' in some other way than the new baby)--is there a reason your 3 year old is nursing round the clock?  Is she eating much table food?  I feel like by that point (though it's all a blur now...) my older son was just nursing to sleep a couple of times per day and for the occasional tantrum/bump/bruise but not what I would have described as 'round the clock.'  Are you offering lots of healthy table food? (I'm thinking specifically of higher-fat things like avocado, full fat yogurt, whole-wheat toast with butter, nuts, etc, to satiate her) We did night-wean around 2.5 (so he would nurse to sleep, but I said the nummies went night-night until the morning). 

I'm sorry, this probably isn't even making any sense.  I just wonder if offering table food fairly often might cut down on the nursing a little (I'm not advocating weaning or anything!  But a three year old should be taking nourishment from a variety of places) and then you might not feel as overwhelmed when the new baby comes and will be needing to nurse whenever they're awake. 

But, to answer your question, no, I don't think they're that bad (and I'm pretty hard-core AP), and if it works for your family and you need to do that, don't feel bad about it at all. 


~Lindsay, mama to Gunnar (5)  and George (brand new!) 
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:55 AM
 
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I have used the paci with both kids (started DD1 at 6 months, DD2 at 6 weeks) and it doesn't seem to be an issue with our nursing relationship. I am nursing both still.


SAHM to Chloe«- 6/2008 (10 lbs, 5 oz), Hannah- 9/2010 (9 lbs, 12 oz), Liam- 2/2013 (9 lbs, 6 oz)

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Old 06-10-2011, 09:09 AM
 
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Yes, used a paci and soooooooooo glad I did.  I couldn't have survived without it and neither could my boobs.  DS was preterm so we started it at 3 or 4 days old when he was in the NICU (would have probably introduced it later but wanted to comfort him since he couldn't be held much of the time)  and it didn't seem to negatively impact nursing at all.  In fact, the lactation consultant told me it could help him learn to latch better because he was doing something funky with his tongue.  The anti-paci hysteria is insane, IMO.  Go ahead and use it and be guilt free, mama :). 

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Old 06-10-2011, 10:02 AM
 
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I'm personally pretty uncomfortable with pacifiers for developmental, emotional, and orthodontic (spending lots of time suckling at the breast helps the palate form correctly) reasons, but my main strictly-BF concerns with newborns and young infants are nipple confusion and supply issues. I have seen a number of EBF babies switch to a tongue-flapping bottle suck after being introduced to pacifiers within the first several weeks after birth; most of them ended up relearning to nurse with LC help, but the early weeks are hectic enough and the nursing relationship delicate enough without these preventable complications. Sometimes a constantly-suckling nursling is exactly what the mom's supply needs. Frequent suckling also increases the milk's fat content. All a long way of saying that if I were in your position I would try my best to make sure the nursing relationship was on very solid ground before bringing a pacifier into the mix.  smile.gif

 

 


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Old 06-10-2011, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much for your opinions and suggestions.  I think I'll leave the pacifier in my 'back pocket' in case it feel like we need it.  I guess I didn't make myself very clear in my opening question...my 3 year old isn't nursing around the clock currently, she just always did up until she was about 2 or so.  She's nursing around 1-3 times a day now, which is much more doable.  I do appreciate what several of you said about not feeling guilty about having to use a pacifier, if it came to that.

 

Thanks a lot!


Blissfully happy and devoted wife to my best friend and anamored by my sweet baby girls, DD1 (8/8/08) and DD2 (06-17-11). Proud attached, tandem breastfeeding, baby-wearing, blw mama.

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Old 06-10-2011, 06:23 PM
 
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Both my kids took pacifiers and were ebf. And I am thankful they did and worked hard to introduce them. They never inteferred with bf'ing. It gave them an additional source of comfort and allowed someone else to have a means to soothe them to sleep when I was apart from them. DS was already a huge baby and a great nurser and my milk supply was crazy. Sometimes we wanted to suck without eating. DD was a fussier and had a hard time going to sleep while nursing. It was great for her to have that aid will be bounced in a sling.

 

Car, sleep (if not from nursing), hanging out at the house if wanted and didn't want to nurse. We never really promote the all the time pacifier look that I see some kids have.

 

 

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Old 06-10-2011, 06:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midwesterner04 View Post

Sometimes a constantly-suckling nursling is exactly what the mom's supply needs. Frequent suckling also increases the milk's fat content. All a long way of saying that if I were in your position I would try my best to make sure the nursing relationship was on very solid ground before bringing a pacifier into the mix.  smile.gif

 

 


I think it is good advice to have the nursing relationship on solid group prior to bringing in a paci---if you can.  For me, the constant nursing left my nipples incredibly damaged and that, combined with exhaustion, led to mastitis.  Always using mom as a pacifier can cause mastitis.  Everyone has to find the right balance for them, but I think it is interesting that you constantly hear not to introduce the paci, but I have seen threads like this frequently on MDC and have yet to hear a mom say "yeah I introduced the paci and it ruined our bfing relationship." 
 

 

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Old 06-11-2011, 01:04 AM
 
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My first two kids gave up their pacifiers at 3-6 months old.  They were weaned at 19 and 14 months, respectively.  (I was mobilized when DS (baby 2) was 15 months old, and I did not know how long it would be until we were reunited (3 weeks later, but I got notice at 14 months and DH insisted I wean because we did not know how long we'd be separated.  My most precious memory is me nursing DD1 at 19 months, 4 months pregnant with DS, one last time.). DD2 was weaned at 9/10 months due to my deployment to Haiti after the earthquake.  If I'd known I'd only be gone 6 weeks, I might have pumped and dumped.  But, I thought I'd be gone 6 months, so I weaned her.  However, she was not interested in nursing when I returned.  (so, how would I have felt?  I was mentally prepared that if I'd gone off to school to pump and provide breast milk in bottles/sippy cups for her).  She is still "underweight" at 19 pounds and over 2 years old--but such a little acrobat.  No way is she malnourished or anything.  (granted she has an autistic brother, adhd sister, and celiac mother)

 

I was about to buy a pump at wal-mart, but the commander called and told us to get back to the hotel.  (I'd bought the tea to dry up milk).  Our flight left a couple hours later.  For about a week or two, I worried about mastitis and engorgement.  I was engorged, (even hand-expressed in the port-o-potties), but, luckily, never dealt with mastitis.  But, upon returning home, DD was completely uninterested in nursing (and I did not have the time or whatever to get her "back onto the breast".  At 26 months, she still loves her paci.

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Old 06-11-2011, 12:21 PM
 
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My first took a pacifier. In the early days it's the only way I could get sleep because I wasn't comfortable sleeping with her. This is something that I really regret. She self-weaned very early (18 months), and I'm sure it's because she was a pacifier user and preferred it to nursing. She didn't give it up until she was 2.5. 

 

I was a lot wiser with my second, and I nursed her laying down and slept with her. She's never taken a pacifier (my DH offered one to her a couple times but she wasn't interested). We have a wonderful nursing relationship, I don't feel burned out because she doesn't nurse constantly but she still nurses for comfort occasionally which is something I missed with my first.

 

Neither of my kids were constant nursers, and I never had any problems with my nipples. I don't know what those problems are like, but if you can use pacifiers to help them then you should be able to without guilt. However, I think that they should be used judiciously. If you notice your baby prefers the pacifier over nursing I would cut back, and I would use it only to help with a real problem (burn out, sore nipples, etc.) and not just for convenience. 


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Old 06-11-2011, 01:42 PM
 
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My first son used a pacifier (I hate that term, actually), from shortly after my milk came in until he was about 5 or 6 months old.  I had overactive letdown, and he wasn't really able to comfort nurse at the breast since the fire hose milk would come on and drown him (making him MORE upset and making him want to nurse MORE and...well...it didn't work so well).  He was always very clear on when he wanted the breast and when he wanted the paci, and if we offered the wrong one he would refuse.  We also used it frequently when he was falling asleep, since he liked to thrash his head from side to side without unlatching (ow!).  He stopped wanting the paci on his own at some point, and went on to nurse until I encouraged him to wean shortly before he turned four.  It was actually a huge benefit to our nursing relationship- but I was very, very careful about assessing whether or not it was helping or hurting and was ready to get rid of it if it started to cause problems.

 

My second never used one; I tandem nursed him along with his older brother, so I had a toddler to help regulate letdown/supply issues.  He nursed until just after he turned two.

 

I weaned them both at the same time because I didn't want to nurse through another pregnancy (tandem nursing? Great!  nursing while pregnant? hell!)...my older son is expressing interest in nursing and milk and all that now that the baby is almost here, while his younger brother could care less. 

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Old 06-11-2011, 08:18 PM
 
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My ds3 uses a paci and it has been great.  Ds2 was a constant nurser, up hourly sometimes at night.  I couldn't do it again, especially since they are only 18 months apart.  So I introduced the paci to ds3 within the first 48 hours and I'm so glad I did.  He's really clear about when he wants to nurse or when he wants the paci (he does the cutest thing where he spits out his paci while lunging at my chest, LOL).  We mainly use it at nap and at night and it has been well worth it.  I saw no negative effects on our breastfeeding relationship.


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Old 06-11-2011, 08:34 PM
 
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My son used a pacifier from somewhere between 1-2 weeks.  It really, really helped us because he would only sleep with something in his mouth and I really, really do not enjoy comfort nursing, whereas nursing while milk is flowing doesn't bother me (and incidentally, now that he's weaning at 27 months nursing really bothers me again for the same reason, when there's not a lot of milk coming out I just. can't. stand. it.)

 

He hated all pacifiers except then MAM.  We never really had latch issues, except right around biting season, but it was nipped in the bud within a day.  We also used bottles of pumped milk from early on since I had to return to work, and they never caused latch issues either. 

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Old 06-13-2011, 06:48 AM
 
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I'm not that experienced, but my 9-wk-old has taken a soothie since he was 4 weeks old, and we haven't had any trouble with bfing. I needed to give him something because he was nursing constantly and my breasts were really suffering. We also started a 2-hr feeding routine, which helped immensely. Now we're back to feeding on demand, which is every 2-4 hrs, and he rarely takes the soothie. I don't think there's anything wrong with soothies as long as you are very careful to maintain good bfing habits (good latch every time).
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Old 06-13-2011, 09:35 PM
 
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My DD (now 12 months) is addicted to the pacifier greensad.gif We introduced one in a moment of desperation, and I'm really regretting it now. She won't nurse for comfort (cries for the paci if I offer the boob) and is already down to nursing only about 4 times a day. If she even sees a pacifier, she'll cry and whine until I give it to her, though we've mostly only been using it at bed/naptime.

I'm contemplating what to do if/when I have a second. I think I'm going to try to hold off on the pacifier and see if we can get by without it, and if I really do feel the need to introduce it, I'm going to try much harder to ditch it before 6 months.

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Old 06-14-2011, 12:11 AM
 
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I had a major issue with a nursing strike and bottle preference when my son was 12 weeks old and he quit nursing for a month. During that time, as part of my efforts to get him back on the boob, I weaned him off the paci cold turkey. After he got back on the boob, he would never take the paci again. I wouldn't say it ruined our bf'ing relationship, but getting rid of it helped bring it back.

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