Baby Steps: When Mom’s a Pacifier

by Anita Sethi, Ph.d.

Baby Steps: When Mom’s a Pacifier

Sure, your newborn’s tummy is too small for him to go for a few hours without nursing. But what if he wants to stay latched on, or to take little sips all day, making you couch-bound without a break? Here’s how to handle a baby who never wants to be off your breast:

Think before you unbutton. Does he just need a cuddle? A sling or front carrier might give him the contact he craves and free up your arms for a bit.

Try a pacifier. If he’s been breastfeeding well and gaining weight, try switching to the paci after he’s fed. Babies love nursing, but after a while it’s just nonnutritive sucking (ask your doctor to be sure).

Keep his options open. If he’s drifting off to sleep, place him in a crib for a nap. If he’s awake, offer a Binky, then distract him with activities like reading a book or going for a walk.

Know he’ll grow out of it soon. But for now, if you don’t mind nursing in a cozy chair all day, grab some good books and get comfortable!

Do’s and don’ts when dealing with your little sucker!


  • Cuddle
  • Try a diaper or clothing change if he’s uncomfortable
  • Occupy him with fun activities
  • Offer a pacifier or thumb
  • Hand him off to Daddy or Grandma


  • Ignore a crying newborn
  • Blame yourself
  • Quit nursing if you’ll regret it (it will take time for the two of you to learn how; your pediatrician can help)
  • Underestimate your capabilities