Pacifiers Breast Feeding

May 5, 2012 by staff 

Pacifiers Breast Feeding, Hospitals across the U.S. have stopped giving pacifiers to newborns in order to encourage breastfeeding, but a new study casts doubt on the usefulness of that practice. Researchers found that when Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) implemented a policy to remove pacifiers, breastfeeding rates fell, while the use of supplemental formula went up.

“Our observations suggest routinely removing pacifiers may negatively impact exclusive breastfeeding rates during the birth hospitalization,” said Dr. Carrie Phillipi, a pediatrician with Oregon Health & Science University and co-author of the study, presented Monday at the Pediatric Academic Societies’ annual meeting in Boston. Major health organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, have recommended exclusive breastfeeding for a baby’s first six months.

To look at the impact of pacifier removal on breastfeeding, researchers considered data from more than 2,200 infants born at OHSU between June 2010 and August 2011. Midway through that time period, the hospital instituted a policy preventing nurses from regularly giving pacifiers to breastfeeding newborns in an effort to qualify as a so-called “Baby-Friendly” hospital. That initiative, sponsored by the World Health Organization and United Nations’ Children Fund, recognizes institutions that promote breastfeeding by adhering to 10 steps, such as not giving infants outside food or drink unless medically indicated, and not providing pacifiers or artificial nipples. Groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics also recommend delaying introduction of pacifiers until babies are one-month old.

Notably, breastfeeding rates dropped substantially after pacifiers were restricted. Nearly 80 percent of infants breastfed exclusively in the months prior to the restriction, versus just 68 percent in the months after.

At the same time, the proportion of infants receiving supplemental formula also increased, jumping from 18 to 28 percent.

“As pediatricians and mothers who have breastfed our own children, we know first-hand there are a variety of opinions on pacifier use,” Philippi said, admitting that she was surprised by the results.

“It’s really hard, with newborns, to say that there’s one rule that works for everybody,” agreed Diane Asbill, a registered nurse and lactation consultant with the University of North Carolina’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital, which recently earned the Baby-Friendly designation.

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