Breastfeeding and the use of pacifiers

Birth. 1997 Jun;24(2):116-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-536x.1997.tb00351.x.


Background: This study was designed to test the hypothesis that incorrect sucking technique and pacifier use are factors contributing to breastfeeding failure.

Method: The nursing patterns of 82 exclusively breastfeeding mother-infant pairs were observed 4 to 5 days postpartum on the maternity ward at University Hospital in Malmö, Sweden. The breastfeeding outcome and pacifier use was assessed by regular telephone contacts during a 4-month follow-up.

Results: The breastfeeding rate at 4 months was 91 percent in the nonpacifier group and 44 percent in the pacifier group (p = 0.03). An incorrect superficial nipple-sucking technique at the breast from the start combined with pacifier use resulted in early weaning in most cases.

Conclusion: To promote successful breastfeeding and to reduce nursing problems, an incorrect sucking technique should be prevented or corrected, and the use of pacifiers should be avoided or restricted.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Behavior*
  • Nursing Assessment*
  • Sucking Behavior*