Most new moms ask this question – Can pacifiers ruin a baby’s latch? The most important part of breastfeeding is the latch. Latch refers to how the baby fastens onto the breasts while breastfeeding. A good latch promotes high milk flow while reducing nipple discomfort for the mother, whereas a poor latch results in poor milk transfer to the baby which can lead to sore and cracked nipples.
A pacifier is a rubber, plastic, or silicone nipple given to an infant to suck upon. Notice that your baby sucks both on the breast and the pacifier. While your baby sucks on the breast to feed, he sucks on the pacifier to satisfy a strong sucking desire which all babies have. Sucking often has a soothing, calming effect. That is why many parents see the pacifier as also important. The question is Can Pacifier Ruin a baby’s Latch? The answer is yes. In order to prevent pacifiers from ruining your baby’s latch, it is recommended that you introduce a pacifier to your baby only when breastfeeding and your milk supply has been established. This should be between 3-4 weeks after the baby is born.
There have been many stories about babies who have nipple confusion. Nipple confusion is linked to incorrect latch during breastfeeding. This problem can be avoided if some vital steps are taken. Here are some steps to get a good latch from the beginning so that the question Can pacifier ruin a baby’s latch will not arise.
How to establish a good latch from the beginning
1. Do your homework
Go ahead and take a breastfeeding class before the arrival of the baby. One of the best breastfeeding courses I have come across online is the one from Shari Criso, titled – Simply Breastfeeding. She is a Labour and Delivery Burse, Certified Nurse Midwife, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and a mom. She takes moms through rudiments and advanced breastfeeding topics. Do check it out. This will get you equipped beforehand and help you to gain insights and tips that will be useful for you and the baby.
2. Get comfortable
Always find a relaxed position when nursing your baby. You can even lie down with your baby by your side or reclines on a rocking chair. Whatever suits you as far as you and the baby are comfortable.
3. Start breastfeeding right away.
The earlier you start breastfeeding the better for you. For there is more likelihood of you tapping into your baby’s ability to latch on. Breastfeeding experts recommended the first 2 hours after delivery to feed your baby, as this will help to establish a bond between you and your baby
4. Set up your baby to nurse in a right way
Do everything possible to breastfeed your baby properly. Check your baby feeding position, make sure the head is aligned with the rest of the body and not curved. The best feeding position is the “football hold” where you carry your baby with both arms and head facing the breast directly.
5. Know the signs of a good latch
Your baby is latching well if you feel a tugging sensation on your breast. Listen to the drips sound and check the baby to see, if there are rapid movements with little sounds. This will help you to know if your baby is feeding properly.
6. Be aware of signs of trouble
Paying attention to how your nipple looks when your baby detaches is very important. If it is pressed, cracked or bleeding, you need to see your doctor or pediatrician.
Understanding the Pacifier’s pros and cons will help you to determine what is right for your situation and your baby.
The Pros of using a pacifier
1. Less risk of SIDS. Babies who suck on pacifiers while sleeping have less risk of dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
2. Soothes and calms babies. The use of pacifier is comforting to your baby during stressful or painful situations such as when they reflux or colic or even during and after shots, blood tests or other procedures.
3. Allows babies to indulge in their love of sucking. Some babies are very happy and contented when sucking on something.
4. Assist babies to fall asleep fast. A pacifier might help if your baby has problem relaxing and falling asleep.
5. Helps babies to add weight. Premature babies who use pacifiers may add weight and get healthier.
6. Pacifiers are disposable. You can throw away a worn pacifier and get another new one.
7. Aids during travel. Pacifiers are helpful when travelling on an airplane. Sucking can relieve painful pressure in the middle ear.
The Cons of using a pacifier
A pacifier can cause latching problems if it is introduced early. Early introduction of pacifiers could affect your baby’s ability to latch on and breastfeed. This could begin to wean the baby from the breast sooner than babies who do not use pacifiers. Pacifiers may satisfy their urge to suck so much so that they do not feel the need to go to the breast for that. It could also cause breast problems such as sore nipples, engorgement, mastitis, etc.
1. Babies may loose weight. If your baby sucks on the pacifier instead of nursing, he will have difficulties gaining weight. You must reduce how often he uses a pacifier and save sucking time for your breast. By doing so, you will help your baby grow well.
2. High risk of thrush. Babies who use pacifiers have a high risk of having thrush which they also transfer to nipples when nursing.
3. Leads to more ear infections. Pacifiers may cause babies to have more ear infections which are very common in babies.
4. Can choke babies. If pacifiers are in poor condition, it can choke babies. Always inspect a pacifier before giving them to babies. If you notice any sign of wear and break down, throw it away so that your baby does not choke on any broken pieces.
5. Dependency. Babies may become too used to their pacifiers to the extent that it becomes habitual. If your baby uses a pacifier to sleep, for instance, you might face frequent crying spells, especially in the middle of the night when the pacifier falls out of his mouth.
When to introduce a pacifier to your baby?
In order to prevent pacifiers from ruining your baby’s latch, it is recommended that you introduce a pacifier to your baby only when breastfeeding and your milk supply has been established. This should be between 3-4 weeks after baby is born. If you choose to give your baby a pacifier, bear the following safety tips in mind.
1. Do not introduce pacifier until the breastfeeding is well established. The American Academy if Pediatrics (AAP) approves you wait until your baby is 3-4 weeks old before introducing a pacifier.
2. Do not use pacifiers every time. Sometimes, all a baby needs is a rocking session or a change of position, not a pacifier. Resist the urge to give your baby a pacifier at every opportunity.
3. Choose the silicone one-piece type. This type of pacifier is dishwasher safe and more durable compared with those made of two pieces. Examples of pacifiers that are good for babies and you can get on Amazon include the Tommee Tippee Ultra-light silicone baby pacifier, Ryan and Rose Cutie PAT pacifier, and Haakaa Baby Silicone Pacifier. Avoid two pieces pacifiers as they may break easily thereby posing a choking risk to babies.
4. Allow your baby to set the pace. Do not force the pacifier on your baby if he is not interested in it.
5. Keep it clean always. Always boil pacifiers or run them through the dishwasher to keep them clean. Don’t ever rinse the pacifier in your baby’s mouth.
6. Never sugarcoat it. You put your baby at risk when you put sweet substances on the pacifier.
7. Keep it safe. Resist the urge to hang a pacifier around your baby’s neck using any kind of cord or ribbon. Your baby could get strangled in any type of cord available to them. Often replace pacifiers and do not use a small, newborn pacifier for an older baby. Use the right size of the pacifier.
Will a pacifier ruin breastfeeding?
As a mom, it is not out of line to ask the question “will a pacifier ruin breastfeeding”? Research shows that giving your baby a pacifier has no impact on if the baby is still breastfeeding by 3 or 4 months or not. So, therefore, a pacifier cannot ruin breastfeeding.
Can Pacifier ruin a baby’s latch?
So, the answer to the question – Can pacifiers ruin a baby’s latch – is yes and no, based on the points raised above. Every child has unique needs and abilities. That means that children can be very different. While some babies can easily switch from breastfeeding to pacifier without any problem of pacifier ruining their latch, others may develop a love for one over the other. With careful planning, however, your baby can learn to love both the breast and the pacifier, having the best of both worlds.