Sleepy Parents

Nurturing with Pacifiers: Debunking Myths and Revealing the Benefits

Title: Pacifiers and Breastfed Babies: Unraveling the Controversy and Unveiling the BenefitsImagine the calming sound of a content baby suckling on a pacifier, providing comfort and relief. But for breastfed babies, there’s a lingering question: can pacifiers and breastfeeding coexist harmoniously?

In this article, we will explore the controversy surrounding pacifier use, as well as the influence of pacifier use on breastfeeding duration. Additionally, we will delve into the benefits of pacifier use, including a decreased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), as well as the comfort, pain relief, and developmental advantages they offer.

Controversy Surrounding Pacifier Use:

1.1 Pacifiers and Breastfed Babies:

– Pacifiers are small, nipple-shaped devices designed to soothe babies by satisfying their natural sucking instinct. – The use of pacifiers has sparked controversy among breastfeeding advocates, with concerns about nipple confusion and reduced milk supply.

– However, recent studies suggest that pacifiers can be introduced without undermining breastfeeding success if applied strategically. 1.2 Influence of Pacifier Use on Breastfeeding Duration:

– Pacifier use, when introduced after breastfeeding is well-established (usually around three to four weeks), is unlikely to impact breastfeeding duration significantly.

– Studies have shown that the introduction of pacifiers does not significantly affect the overall duration of exclusive breastfeeding. – It is crucial to ensure proper latch and feeding techniques to maintain successful breastfeeding while using pacifiers.

Benefits of Pacifier Use:

2.1 Decreased Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS):

– Pacifiers, when used during sleep, have been associated with a reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). – The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime after breastfeeding is well-established.

– The exact mechanism behind this risk reduction is not entirely understood, but pacifiers may help maintain an open airway and promote self-soothing. 2.2 Comfort, Pain Relief, and Developmental Benefits:

– Pacifiers can provide comfort for babies when experiencing minor discomfort, such as teething or ear pain during air travel.

– Sucking on a pacifier can help babies self-regulate their emotions and provide a sense of security in stressful situations. – Research suggests that pacifier use in preterm infants may promote better oral-motor development and improved coordination.


In conclusion, pacifier use with breastfed babies continues to be a controversial topic. However, when introduced thoughtfully and after breastfeeding is well-established, pacifiers can serve as a useful tool without adversely affecting breastfeeding duration.

Additionally, pacifiers offer benefits such as a decreased risk of SIDS, comfort, pain relief, and aiding in developmental milestones. As with any parenting decision, it’s essential to consider individual circumstances and consult with healthcare professionals.

By understanding the controversy and benefits, parents can make informed choices that suit the needs of both their baby and their breastfeeding journey.

Risks of pacifier use

Impact on otitis media and oral yeast infections

Pacifiers, while providing comfort to babies, are not without their risks. One of the concerns associated with pacifier use is an increased risk of otitis media, commonly known as middle ear infections.

Otitis media occurs when the middle ear becomes infected, leading to discomfort and potential hearing difficulties. The use of pacifiers can contribute to this risk due to the introduction of bacteria into the ear canal.

The risk of otitis media is especially prevalent when pacifiers are used beyond the age of six months. This is because, at this stage, the eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the throat, is still developing and prone to blockages.

When a pacifier is used, it can disrupt the natural ventilation of the middle ear, creating an environment conducive to bacterial growth and infection. In addition to otitis media, pacifier use can also increase the likelihood of oral yeast infections, such as thrush.

Thrush is a fungal infection caused by the overgrowth of yeast in the mouth. Pacifiers can harbor yeast, which can then be transferred to the baby’s mouth, resulting in an infection.

Breastfed babies are particularly susceptible to oral yeast infections due to the presence of yeast in breast milk. To minimize the risk of otitis media and oral yeast infections, it is important to practice good pacifier hygiene.

Clean pacifiers regularly, using warm soapy water or a sterilizing solution recommended by healthcare professionals. It is also advisable to inspect pacifiers for any signs of wear or damage and replace them as needed.

Additionally, following proper breastfeeding hygiene, such as cleaning the nipples before each feed, can help reduce the chances of oral yeast infections.

Dental and orthodontic issues

Prolonged pacifier use, especially beyond the age of two to three years, can pose risks to dental and orthodontic development. The constant sucking motion required by pacifiers can exert pressure on the roof of the mouth, leading to malformation of the oral cavity.

This can result in issues such as an open bite, where the front teeth do not meet when the jaws are closed. Orthodontic problems can also arise as a result of prolonged pacifier use.

The alignment of the baby’s teeth can be affected, resulting in misalignment or overcrowding. Over time, these issues may require orthodontic interventions such as braces or other corrective measures.

To mitigate the risk of dental and orthodontic problems, it is advisable to limit pacifier use as the child grows older. Introducing other soothing alternatives, such as stuffed animals or blankets, can provide comfort without the potential dental consequences.

Dental check-ups should be scheduled regularly to monitor the child’s oral health and address any emerging issues promptly.

Important considerations for pacifier use with breastfed babies

Pacifier as a soothing tool, not a substitute for breastfeeding

It is important to understand that pacifiers should never substitute or replace breastfeeding. Breastfeeding provides essential nutrition for infant growth and development, as well as numerous health benefits for both the baby and the mother.

Pacifiers should be used primarily as a soothing tool to provide comfort between feeds and help satisfy a baby’s natural sucking instinct.

Guidelines for choosing a suitable pacifier

When selecting a pacifier for your breastfed baby, it is crucial to consider certain guidelines to ensure safety and comfort. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

– Size and shape: Choose a pacifier that is appropriate for your baby’s age and stage of development.

Newborn pacifiers are generally smaller and designed to fit their tiny mouths comfortably. As the baby grows, opt for pacifiers with age-appropriate sizes and shapes to promote proper oral development.

– Material: Pacifiers are typically made from latex or silicone. Silicone pacifiers are generally firmer, more durable, and easier to clean than latex pacifiers.

Additionally, some babies may have latex allergies, making silicone a safer choice. – One-piece design: Look for pacifiers with a one-piece construction, as they eliminate the risk of small parts detaching and becoming a choking hazard.

– Ventilation holes: Pacifiers with ventilation holes allow air circulation, reducing the risk of skin irritation and promoting oral health. – Safety standards: Ensure that the pacifier meets safety standards set by regulatory bodies, such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or European Union Safety Standards (EN).

By considering these guidelines, you can select a suitable pacifier that aligns with your baby’s needs while minimizing potential risks. In conclusion, while pacifiers offer benefits such as soothing, pain relief, and comfort, it’s essential to be aware of the associated risks.

Prolonged pacifier use can increase the prevalence of otitis media, oral yeast infections, and dental and orthodontic issues. Understanding these risks and practicing good pacifier hygiene, limiting pacifier use as your child grows older, and prioritizing breastfeeding over pacifier use can foster a safe and healthy nurturing environment for your breastfed baby.

Recommended pacifiers for breastfed babies

Philips Avent Soothie

The Philips Avent Soothie is a widely recognized and popular choice for newborns and breastfed babies. This pacifier is made from durable, hospital-grade silicone and is highly recommended by healthcare professionals.

Its unique one-piece design eliminates the risk of small parts detaching, making it a safe option for infants. The Soothie’s shape is notably different from traditional pacifiers.

It features a bulbous design with a flat, rounded tip that mimics the shape of a mother’s nipple during breastfeeding. This design aims to provide a more familiar and comforting sucking experience for babies, reducing the chances of nipple confusion.

The Philips Avent Soothie pacifier is available in different sizes, including 0-3 months and 3+ months, catering to your baby’s developmental needs. Its orthodontic shape promotes proper oral development, ensuring that the pacifier does not interfere with the alignment of teeth or the roof of the mouth.

Dr. Brown’s HappyPaci

Dr. Brown’s HappyPaci is another highly recommended pacifier choice, known for its thoughtful design and features. This pacifier is made from BPA-free silicone, ensuring the safety and comfort of your little one.

The HappyPaci’s shape is similar to the Philips Avent Soothie, featuring a bulbous and flat nipple design. This encourages proper tongue placement and reduces pressure on the roof of the mouth, supporting healthy oral development.

What sets Dr. Brown’s HappyPaci apart is its contoured butterfly-shaped shield. This shield curves away from the baby’s face, allowing for maximum airflow and minimizing the risk of irritation or rashes caused by prolonged use.

The shield also features a snap-on cap, keeping the pacifier clean and protected when not in use.

Evenflo Feeding Balance


Evenflo Feeding Balance pacifier is specifically designed to mimic the shape and feel of a mother’s nipple, ensuring a seamless transition between breastfeeding and pacifier use. Made from soft, flexible silicone, it provides a gentle and comforting sucking experience for breastfed babies.

The unique shape of the

Evenflo Feeding Balance pacifier features a rounded, symmetrical nipple that closely resembles a breast and promotes oral development. This design helps prevent nipple confusion and promotes a natural latch, making it an ideal option for babies who are primarily breastfed.

The pacifier’s shield is also noteworthy, as it is designed to comfortably fit under the baby’s nose without obstructing breathing. The shield is curved and lightweight, ensuring a secure fit without causing discomfort or leaving marks on the baby’s face.

Tommee Tippee Breast-like Pacifier

Tommee Tippee is a well-known brand in the baby industry, and their Breast-like Pacifier is designed with breastfed babies in mind. This pacifier aims to provide a natural and comforting sucking experience, promoting breastfeeding while offering comfort between feeds.


Tommee Tippee Breast-like Pacifier features a symmetrical and orthodontic-shaped nipple, allowing for a proper latch and oral development. The nipple is soft and flexible, offering a familiar sensation for breastfed babies.

The pacifier’s shield is specially contoured to fit the curves of a baby’s face, ensuring a comfortable fit without causing irritation. The shield also promotes airflow, reducing the risk of skin irritation and allowing moisture to escape.

Nanobebe Flexy Pacifier


Nanobebe Flexy Pacifier combines innovative design with functionality, catering to the needs of breastfed babies. Made from soft, BPA-free silicone, this pacifier offers a gentle sucking experience.

The Flexy Pacifier features a nipple shape designed to resemble the natural shape of a mother’s nipple. Its orthodontic design ensures optimal oral development, supporting the alignment of teeth and the roof of the mouth.

What sets the

Nanobebe Flexy Pacifier apart is its ergonomic shape. The shield is curved and designed to rest comfortably against the baby’s face, reducing pressure and potential skin irritation.

The pacifier’s unique nipple shape elongates when sucked on, helping to prevent nipple confusion and supporting a seamless transition between breastfeeding and pacifier use. Conclusion:

When choosing a pacifier for your breastfed baby, it is essential to consider factors such as shape, size, material, and safety features.

The Philips Avent Soothie, Dr. Brown’s HappyPaci,

Evenflo Feeding Balance,

Tommee Tippee Breast-like Pacifier, and

Nanobebe Flexy Pacifier are all recommended options that prioritize the comfort and development of breastfed babies. By selecting a pacifier that closely mimics the shape and feel of a mother’s nipple, you can provide your baby with a soothing experience while minimizing the risk of nipple confusion or interference with breastfeeding.

Remember to consult with healthcare professionals or lactation consultants for personalized recommendations based on your baby’s specific needs. In conclusion, the use of pacifiers with breastfed babies is a topic that has sparked controversy and raised important considerations.

While pacifiers offer benefits such as soothing, pain relief, and comfort, it’s crucial to be aware of the associated risks, including otitis media, oral yeast infections, and dental issues. Selecting a suitable pacifier in line with your baby’s developmental stage, such as the Philips Avent Soothie or Dr. Brown’s HappyPaci, can provide a familiar and comforting experience.

Ultimately, pacifiers should serve as a tool for soothing rather than a substitute for breastfeeding. As parents, understanding the controversy, adhering to proper usage guidelines, and prioritizing breastfeeding can help navigate this delicate balance.

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