Why I Don’t Use Pacifiers

Peanut clearly did not understand the use of a pacifier.

First off, I want to start this post by saying that deciding whether or not you use a pacifier is a very personal choice. I believe that in order to make a choice, you must be educated. If you read this information and decide you would still like to use a pacifier, I’m all for it. For me, this is the information that made me decide not to use one. 

Pacifiers. They’re a symbol of babyhood, just as much as bottles or diapers. I honestly can’t come up with a parent-friend off the top of my head that doesn’t use them, but that might just be because minds don’t really remember the lack of something as much as it being there. Anyway, I thought I’d use pacifiers when I had Peanut. She wanted to nurse so often that I was begging for relief and I tried to give her one at around 2 weeks old (which is way before recommended, by the way) with the justification in my mind that breastfeeding was going great, so why wait to introduce it? She did not like that thing one bit. My mother-in-law even bought a few different ones to try, but she never caught on.

Part of me was sad that I couldn’t have a different way to soothe her and part of me was happy that she wouldn’t take anything but me. Soon though, the latter really took hold. I found out the risks of pacifiers and decided that my future children would never have one.

So, in order to help you people out in internet-land make an educated decision when it comes to whether or not you want to use pacifiers, here is my list of reasons why I specifically said no pacifiers for Twig and thanked the universe that Peanut decided she wasn’t for them.

  • Pacifiers can interfere with breastfeeding. Nipple confusion is a real thing. Any sort of nipple can do it, bottle or pacifier. The fact is that a breast and a pacifier are shaped differently, no matter how hard they try to make a pacifier imitate a breast. Really, if you think about it, a pacifier is shaped like a really big nipple. If you’ve ever had a baby with a bad latch, you can attest that the nipple is the last place you want that baby latching on. Babe needs the whole aerola in their mouth, which is an entirely different shape. If you introduce a pacifier too early, your baby will learn to suck on that shape, which can most definitely cause breastfeeding problems.
  • Pacifiers can reduce the duration of breastfeeding. Even eliminating all other possible factors (right down to bottle introduction), pacifiers reduce the duration of breastfeeding. And it’s not just that your what-would-have-been 4 year old weaner is at 3 years old, but rather under 2. That means you’re not making it to the WHO recommendation of at least 2 years. For me, that’s too early to wean.
  • Pacifiers are not compatible with ecological breastfeeding. I try to stick with the seven steps of ecological breastfeeding, though I often don’t get the nap that I should. Regardless, if you’re trying to delay menstruation returning, nipple stimulation is key. 24 hours a day and frequently. Introducing a pacifier means that you’re not getting that nipple stimulation that you would have otherwise and that will bring your fertility back sooner.
  • Pacifiers can reduce milk supply. Breastfeeding is a supply and demand process. The more you nurse, the more milk you’ll make. This is why whenever you’re experiencing a dip in supply, the best thing you can do is just try to nurse as often as possible. If you’re not nursing, your body isn’t being told to produce more milk. Especially if you use pacifiers to delay a nursing session, you are lowering your supply.
  • Pacifiers can hinder mouth development. The Academy of General Dentistry recognizes that pacifiers cause mouth development issues. The recommendation is that you stop pacifier use before age 2, where in which the development of the mouth will correct itself within 6 months. How many kids have you seen that are obviously over 2 and still use a pacifier? I can think of many that I’ve seen. The problem is, have you tried getting something that is adored away from a 1 year old? I can specifically remember a dog that absolutely hated my toddler being chased around the house no matter how much I tried to prevent it. They’re persistent little things. Then what does it do to them mentally if you take away their sole (assuming they weaned early because of the first point) source of sucking comfort?
  • Pacifiers have not been proven to help prevent SIDS. Pacifiers are always touted as the recommendation to prevent SIDS, but the AAP has specifically said that there is no causation, only correlation. Beyond that, they can cause the problems mentioned above (and more).
  • Pacifiers add complication to my simple life. I’ve joked around here that many of my parenting choices are made on the basis of laziness, but it’s more about simplicity. I don’t like to complicate things. Pacifiers are just one more thing to buy, clean, watch for recalls on, clean again because the baby dropped it, take away from the dog who thought it was hers, clean again, hand back to the fussing baby who dropped it again, and clean some more. Not to mention trying to get the kid to give up the thing when it’s no longer deemed suitable for use. I just don’t want to deal with that extra hassle when I can just stick my boob in their mouth and the baby will shut up.

There are many more reasons I could list here, but for me this was enough.

Side note: if someone wants to soothe the baby momentarily, a clean finger inserted into their mouth upside down will do the trick without all the hassle. Or, my preference, just give that baby back to their mama! 

And while I’ve got you on the topic of pacifiers, I must tell you my pet peeve about the association with a baby “using their mom as a pacifier.” This does not make sense. Breasts were around long before pacifiers, so how can you use the former like the latter? A pacifier is an imitation breast. Then, there is no such thing as “lazy sucking” at the breast. As stated above, breastfeeding is a supply and demand system. Even if you’re not in active letdown, the baby suckling is still sending your body the signal to make more. Maybe baby needs more milk so they are working to increase your supply. Maybe baby is just in need of some comfort. Why does mama equaling comfort have to be considered a bad thing? I am incredibly grateful that my children trust me enough to feel comfort and safety from me. Anyway, I’m off my soap box.

Sure, pacifiers are a convenience, but they don’t have to be a given. As with so many things that are seen as a given in parenting, there’s a choice. If you don’t want to give your babe a pacifier, you don’t have to. There are reasons to and reasons not to. Only you can decide if it’s worth it for you.

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Utah Has a Milk Bank Donation Site

Took you long enough.

Considering Utah had the highest birth rate in 2006, we certainly should have gotten one sooner. Then again, we also should have more than one baby-friendly hospital in the whole state too, but doubt that’s going to happen.

Either way, this is a great thing. All milk will still be shipped to Colorado for processing, but at least this takes away a big {money} barrier for Utah moms who want to donate milk. I will certainly keep this in mind if I have an over-supply with my next baby.

If you’re interested, you’ll still need to be approved through the Colorado milk bank. If you happen to have an over-supply or lots of extra milk left in your freezer, I urge you to consider donating it. Ideally all babies who’s moms couldn’t breastfeed them would receive donated milk, but right now getting milk requires a prescription and is quite spendy. Maybe if moms donate more milk, all babies will get breast milk some day.

Here’s an article in the Salt Lake Tribune about the milk bank donation site and a press release posted to the La Leche League of Salt Lake City’s blog for more information.

Breastfeeding Twins: What I Wish I’d Known

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about nursing in special circumstances. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


This post is a guest post by a lovely lady named Angela. Angela is mom to two 22 month old twins and an 8 month old boy. You can read Mrs. LaLa’s blog at www.emptyuterus.wordpress.com. Thanks to Angela for letting me publish her story!

On September 23, 2009 I became a mother for the very first time. After over four years of infertility, I finally had my twin girls. They were ten weeks early and very sick so I knew how important it was to breastfeed them. The first thing I asked for when I got out of the recovery room after my c-section was a breast pump. The next two months while they recovered in the NICU were a haze of waking up at all hours to pump, living at the NICU and dreaming of the day when my daughters would be healthy enough to nurse from my breast. When I was pregnant with them I used to day-dream about sitting in a quiet room, rocking them softy and nursing them to sleep…it just seemed like such a “mom” thing to do. Something I had wanted for so long. Unfortunately, that dream was not realized until more than a year later when my son Nolan was born (full term and healthy as can be).

Evelynn and Lennon, because of their small size and numerous heath issues, never latched well. I was told repeatedly by doctors and nurses whenever I did put them to the breast that I needed to do it AFTER they had already been fed from a bottle and that it was “non-nutritive sucking”. I pumped milk for my daughters for four months and tried everything I could think of to get them to nurse but it never worked out and I was always too worried about them getting enough milk to ever relax and trust that my body could provide for them.

When the girls had been home for a month or two I began suffering from debilitating migraines and was told that in order to treat them I would have to give up pumping breast milk for my girls because the only medications available for treating the headaches would be passed through my breast milk and were harmful. I cried when I came home from the doctor’s appointment and told my husband that we were going to have to put the girls on formula. I felt so guilty because I was secretly relieved – pumping milk for 45 minutes at a time (to get enough for two babies) 8 times per day while also trying to care for two very sick little girls was really more than I could handle anyway.

At four months of age the twins went on formula full time. They struggled with constipation and began catching frequent colds (neither of which were an issue while on breast milk) but otherwise did well on it.

It was about this time that I found out that I was (VERY unexpectedly) pregnant with my son. When he was born 9 months later – healthy and full-term – I wanted to try breastfeeding again. My son was born in a different hospital then my girls were—a “Baby Friendly” hospital. What a difference! Although I am disappointed that they took my son from me immediately following my c-section and did not bring him to me to nurse for over four hours after his birth because they were “low on staff”—the rest of my experience with this hospital and with breastfeeding my son have been wonderful. This hospital made sure to facilitate breastfeeding in any way possible. They offered as much assistance as necessary (they even have a free breastfeeding clinic that my son and I can go to, anytime, for as long as I continue to nurse him).

Gone were the sore nipples I experienced with the girls. Gone are the insecurities. Gone is the sink full of crusty, stinky bottles that need to be washed and steamed on a daily basis!

The bottom line, what I wish I’d known: Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt. If it hurts, your baby is not latched right. A bad latch is surprisingly easy to correct and most newborns do latch poorly because they are just so tiny. Whenever I would begin feeding Nolan as a newborn I would make sure that his lips were not tucked under his gums. IF they were, I would slide in a finger to “unhook” them. I would then gently pull down on his jaw to widen his latch. Voila! No more pain.

Secondly: I wish I’d known with the girls that non-nutritive sucking is BS. If a baby is sucking on a breast, they are getting milk (this may not ALWAYS be the case, but it is true more often than not) and a baby does NOT swallow if they are not getting milk. (It’s true, pay attention the next time you give your little one a pacifier, NO swallowing sounds.) If your baby is sucking and swallowing (at least every third suck they should be swallowing, if they are not you may have low supply) then they are breastfeeding successfully.

You can re-lactate. All you need is a breast-pump and Fenugreek. I wish I had known about Fenugreek earlier. I tried Reglan to bring up my supply with the girls and it gave me horrible panic attacks (which it does for many people). Fenugreek works just as well with no side effects.

A baby, full on breast milk, will usually still drink a bottle of formula. Babies like to suck. It’s what they do. It does NOT mean that your baby didn’t get enough milk from the breast or that they are still hungry. My younger twin used to breastfeed and then take a bottle and then she would throw up. We thought she had reflux. We were over-feeding her.

Nolan is 8 months old now and, because of a new position that I took on at work, I had to partially wean him to formula. Since I can no longer pump 2 or 3 times a day while at work to produce enough milk for him to have while I am not at home, my husband gives him formula during the day. When I get home from work, before I leave in the morning and all weekend long, he nurses. I do not have supply issues and this is working out just great for us.

 


 Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.