Health experts around the world agree that breast milk is best for babies. Milford Regional Medical Center agrees! We’ve been sharing lots of information about the ways we are implementing maternity best practices in our hospital. One of the changes you will see in our hospital is the limited and careful use of pacifiers.
The Academy of Pediatrics supports delaying pacifier introduction until 1 month of age to ensure that breastfeeding is firmly and well established. They also caution that pacifiers often delay feedings and that caregivers should be certain to use pacifiers only after being sure that the baby is not hungry.
Pacifier use in the first few weeks can sabotage many of the early milestones needed for successful breastfeeding. Babies need to be with their mothers, feeding on demand, to perfect their feeding skills and to help maximize mother’s milk supply. Babies have many different ways they tell us they are ready to eat even before they cry. We call these feeding cues. They may bring their hands to their mouth, lick and smack their lips, and make sucking movements and noises. This is the optimal time to put a baby to breast. Using a pacifier in these early weeks will often mean missed cues and missed feedings at the breast. Anytime your baby shows these cues and seems hungry, offer the breast and in-between, continue skin to skin. Frequent feedings and time at the breast supports an abundant milk supply.
At Milford Regional Medical Center, healthy breastfed babies will not be given pacifiers or artificial nipples. There are many other ways a baby can be soothed! The most important one is skin-to-skin contact. Babies love to be close and snuggled up with their mothers and fathers! Babies also love to be held, walked and rocked. If your baby should need a procedure that is painful and they cannot be held or be at the breast, a pacifier may be used to help comfort the baby for a short time. The pacifier will then be discarded. Once breastfeeding is well established, usually by 4 weeks, pacifiers can be used to soothe your baby.
So join us as we celebrate independence from pacifier use at Milford Regional Medical Center this Fourth of July!