Wondering when to introduce a pacifier to your baby? Here’s the scoop on timings, techniques, and using a pacifier while nursing.
Mama, for something that’s meant to bring a little calm to life with your baby, we know that pacifiers can be a heated subject.
Everyone seems to have an opinion, and there’s a lot of conflicting advice about when to introduce pacifiers and how to use them.
Let’s look at what you actually need to know.
In this article: 📝
- When to introduce a pacifier to a newborn
- When to introduce pacifiers to a breastfed baby
- How to introduce a pacifier
When to introduce a pacifier to a newborn
There are many reasons to consider introducing a pacifier quite soon after your little one is born.
A baby’s sucking reflex develops while they’re still in the womb.
(You might even have caught a glimpse of them with their thumb in their mouth at one of your ultrasounds.)
But even though the reflex is there, the idea of sucking on a pacifier rather than pushing it forward and out of their mouth takes some getting used to.
And as with any skill, it can help to start early.
As well as this, babies who need special care (especially preemies) are sometimes given pacifiers in the hospital.
Not only do they give these little fighters comfort when they can’t be held, but also helps them to develop the sucking reflex that they’ll need to feed and put on weight.
And if that wasn’t enough to convert the pacifier skeptics, there’s also evidence that using a pacifier can help to reduce the risk of SIDS.
But before you add a pacifier to your hospital bag, there are some other things to take into account, especially if you plan to breastfeed.
When to introduce pacifiers to a breastfed baby
If you’re planning to nurse, you might already have heard a scare story about nipple confusion.
This is the idea that a young breastfed baby who’s given a pacifier will then struggle to feed from their mama.
We’re here to tell you that recent studies seem to suggest that nipple confusion is far less common than old-wives-tales would have you think — especially when it comes to pacifiers.
But there’s still something very important to have on your radar if you want to give your breastfed newborn a pacifier: your milk supply.
In the first weeks, your boobs and your baby’s belly are syncing up.
It’s important to feed regularly and on demand (i.e., your little one sets the schedule) as your body learns how much milk to make to satisfy your baby’s growing appetite.
It can be better to hold off on the pacifier for the first four to six weeks of your little one’s life while this process of establishing nursing is still going on.
Otherwise, it might take longer for your body to find the right balance.
How to introduce a pacifier
Like introducing solid foods, it’s more helpful to look for the signs that your baby is ready for this new stage rather than booking the peanut/pacifier meet in your calendar in advance.
- Your baby is back to their birth weight and gaining weight steadily
- You’re happy that your milk has come in and you have a good supply
- You’re both getting the hang of latching and feeding
… it should be ok to bring out the paci.
Bear in mind that the first meeting is more likely to go well if you give your baby the pacifier when their belly is full.
If they’re hungry, tired, or grumpy about something, they’re less likely to appreciate having something stuck in their mouth.
It also means that you’re still feeding your baby on demand.
This reduces the risk of your little one skipping a feed when they settle down with their pacifier, and it shouldn’t affect your milk supply.
Wishing you a smooth peanut/paci introduction!
And if you need support along the way, your Peanut community is here for you.