One new mama I know has a marathon nurser for a newborn. This baby goes on for hours, and mama’s starting to consider using a pacifier. I know how she feels–Felix nursed three hours nonstop on his second night Earthside. If he’d been my first baby, he probably would have kept it up indefinitely.
Some days, it felt like my nipples only got a break when I had to step out and wipe my older son’s bottom! Thankfully, I have a large supply of nipple cream.
I had some complications nursing my first son, so I was extremely wary of introducing an artificial nipple to Felix. While I longed for a break, I dared not give Felix a pacifier until I was certain nursing was established. Among other concerns, if he were sucking a pacifier even 5 times a day for 10 minutes, that’s a full feeding right there he wasn’t taking in.
I visited a lactation consultant when he was about 5 weeks old to discuss some strategies to space him out a bit–he was nursing on the hour for at least a half hour by this point–and since he had gained so much weight and clearly loved nursing, my LC gave the green light for us to introduce a pacifier.
We bought, I’m pretty sure, every single brand of pacifier out there. Certainly all the brands at two different grocery store chains. He could have cared less about those binkies. He got so angry that we suggested he suck on those plastic nubbins. We gave up pretty quickly and took to soothing him by sticking him in the Mei Tie and running after our preschooler as he learned to ride the balance bike.
Funny story: about a week ago, Felix found the basket of pacifiers we bought him last spring. And, of course, he thinks they’re pretty cool now. So I have a 13-month old toddling around the house gnawing on newborn pacifiers. Just when I think I’ve thrown out the last of them, he finds another one under the couch.
The moral? Not all babies will even take a pacifier, and the ones who do might be extremely particular about them.
Evidence suggests waiting until breastfeeding is established (4 to 6 weeks) to introduce a pacifier, but it’s also important to support new mothers with marathon nurslings to make sure they can get a break. KellyMom has a great article discussing pacifier introduction to breastfed babies–she discusses the AAP statement about pacifiers and their relation to SIDS prevention (a mixed bag, since pacifiers also might lead to shorter breastfeeding duration and breastfeeding decreases SIDS risk).
Did your baby take a pacifier? If not, what did you do to get a break from your Hoover baby? Leave us a comment to share your experiences.