Pacifiers Don’t Cause Early Weaning

Pacifiers Don't Cause Early Weaning

My local new-baby nursery is decorated with signs that say, “no pacifiers”. Parents and professionals alike want breastfeeding to succeed. Many studies conducted over the past decade have found an association between pacifier use and early weaning – but these studies have not shown whether pacifier use causes early weaning or vice versa.

An excellent randomized, controlled clinical trial, published in the July 18, 2001 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, concluded that pacifier use does not cause early weaning, it merely becomes more common among babies who are already weaning.

This fits with what I have observed in working with families: as long as pacifiers are not used as substitutes for meeting babies’ needs, they can be offered to soothe fussy young babies without interfering with nursing.

Different babies are calmed in different ways; learning what works best for your baby is part of the adventure of having a newborn.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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