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Study: Pacifiers Don’t Undermine Breastfeeding

Valerie Fischel

When you were trying to establish breastfeeding in the hospital, you may have received advice to steer clear of the pacifier in order to avoid nipple confusion. Now a small study says that limiting user of the binky actually increases formula consumption during baby’s hospital stay.

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Looking at data for about 2,250 infants born in 2010-2011, researchers found that rates of exclusive breastfeeding dropped from 79 percent to 68 percent once the pacifier was taken away. This goes against World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) recommendations, which state that nursing babies should not be given the paci.

"The overarching belief persists that pacifiers interfere with breast-feeding, even though research hasn't concretely showed they cause a problem," said study co-author Dr. Laura Kair, a resident in pediatrics at the Oregon Health & Science University’s Doernbecher Children's Hospital. Dr. However, Richard Schanler, chair of theAmericanAcademyof Pediatrics' breast-feeding section, says the study does not go far enough, since it doesn’t contain information about how much breastfeeding support was offered, or how babies were comforted. "You cannot draw conclusions to change health care practices from this type of study," he said.

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Were you told to steer clear of the binky while gettng the hang of nursing?