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Pacifier Use Could Prevent Proper Breastfeeding

March 17, 2009

Women who breastfeed their children should wait on giving their baby their first pacifier, new research from Denmark suggests.

Drs. Hanne Kronborg and Michael Vaeth of the University of Aarhus discovered that infants given pacifiers in the first weeks following birth were less likely to breastfeed after.

In Denmark, a procedure was put in place where nurses visited mothers with newborns after returning home from the hospital. To look into the connection between breastfeeding and pacifier use, the researchers used nurses specially educated in breastfeeding advice. 570 mothers were visited for this study.

After watching the mother’s feeding technique, if the mother was not very successful, the nurse offered feedback, and then watched the feeding again during a second session.

At the first visit, half of the women had breastfeeding issues, usually with positioning or latching on. Fixing a mother’s breastfeeding performance did not affect the length of breastfeeding, the researchers noted.

“Prolonged guidance may be necessary if correction is needed,” they stated in their research, available in the journal Birth.

About two-thirds of the women gave their infant a pacifier. Pacifier use was connected to a shorter period of time breastfeeding, not connected to breastfeeding technique.

Pacifier use “should be avoided in the first weeks after birth by mothers who want to breastfeed,” the researchers stated.

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