Smart Woman: Should New Mothers Encourage Pacifier Use?

Pacifiers are a part of life for most babies. But they've faced the rap that they interfere with breastfeeding. It's an unproven theory. And now, new research suggests the opposite may actually be true.

The study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting says, in fact, giving a newborn a pacifier now and then, may actually increase the amount they breast-feed.

Researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University found when babies, especially those who were in pain, were  denied  pacifiers, exclusive breastfeeding decreased significantly, about 11 percentage points.
The study also reported a 10 percentage point jump in newborns receiving supplemental formula, when pacifiers were denied.
Studies have shown that breastfeeding an infant causes fewer health problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends mothers breastfeed exclusively for the first six months. Yet many child experts have discouraged new parents and hospitals from introducing pacifiers in the early months of life, even though studies show pacifiers are known to decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. 

Studies have shown that breastfeeding also benefits mothers, including getting them to reverse pregnancy-associated weight gain.

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