Pacifier, Binky, Nuk, Soother, Dummy. I love pacifiers….yes, even for newborns, sleeping babies, and breastfed babies! I get so many questions from parents about newborns sleeping with a pacifier. Let’s talk about why I love pacifiers, how to introduce the pacifier, and what to do if the pacifier keeps falling out of your baby’s mouth.
Should my baby use a pacifier?#
My answer will always be “It’s up to you and your little one!” There truly is no “right or wrong” approach when it comes to pacifiers. Some babies never take a pacifier, and that’s okay! However, for many babies, pacifiers are helpful tools for comfort and relaxation. Here are the two main reasons I recommend offering a pacifier for newborn sleep.
1. A pacifier allows for non-nutritive sucking.#
Obviously, if a baby is hungry, you need to feed him. However, sometimes newborns have a drive to suck even after they’ve finished eating. This is called non-nutritive sucking, which simply means sucking without gaining nutrition or calories.
Non-nutritive sucking has several benefits for your newborn:
Releases endorphins in the brain
Provides comfort and security
Becomes a helpful tool to encourage sleep
2. SIDS Prevention#
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports a significantly reduced risk of SIDS with pacifier use, particularly when given to newborns for sleep. This is one of the reasons that I do love newborns sleeping with a pacifier. In a study published by the AAP, researchers “recommend that pacifiers be offered to infants as a potential method to reduce the risk of SIDS. The pacifier should be offered to the infant when being placed for all sleep episodes, including daytime naps and nighttime sleep.”
Are pacifiers ok for breastfed babies?#
If you’re concerned about the potential of nipple confusion with pacifier use, I have good news for you! Research shows us that nursing moms who introduce a pacifier are JUST as successful with nursing as those who don’t. True scientific research dispels the myth of nipple confusion and shows that limiting pacifiers does not increase nursing success. In studies, limiting pacifier use actually resulted in decreased rates of exclusive breastfeeding. In summary, yes! Pacifiers are great for breastfed babies.
What is the best pacifier for newborns?#
Different babies prefer different pacifiers. Some newborns prefer a flat nipple, others prefer more oval, and some prefer round. There are so many varieties to try. When you’re shopping for a pacifier for your newborn, just be sure to choose the correct size. We don’t want the pacifier to be too big for your newborn’s mouth. You can find some of my favorite pacifiers on my Favorites page.
How do I introduce a pacifier?#
Step 1: Offer when the baby is calm, not hungry or tired, and swaddled.
Step 2: Apply pressure in the middle of the baby’s tongue.
Step 3: Move the pacifier in circles around his mouth.
Step 4: If your baby becomes frustrated, stop and try again later.
Keep trying each day for a week…if your baby won’t take it, that’s FINE! It’s okay to move on.