One of the first things they told us before we left the hospital with our newborn was to wait to introduce the pacifier. Perhaps the most important task of the newborn is to learn to be a good eater. If you are breastfeeding, introducing the pacifier too early can burn too many calories leaving the baby too tired to eat. The concern being that the baby may become overly dependent on the pacifier initially at the expense of healthy suckling on the breast and weight gain.
Another concern is that new mother’s may miss feeding cues if the pacifier is always in the baby’s mouth. Since baby’s generally lose some of their birthweight in the initial few days, intensive feeding sessions at the breast are important in helping to increase the mother’s milk supply. I remember wondering if it was at all possible that a tiny little baby could eat so much. That’s when our lactation consultant Renee Beebe explained to me the art of cluster feeding. Just when you think you’ve mastered your little ones schedule they begin to feed frequently and tirelessly to expand their little bellies and make more milk.
Around six weeks, we identified that our little one was having a hard time soothing away from the breast. Not that I minded, but it was becoming difficult if not impossible for anyone else to soothe the little one. I wasn’t sure about the pacifier to begin with because I had heard it could lead to orthodontist work, but I read in Dr. Sears bible The Baby Book that it was in fact sucking on the hand or fist that could create buck teeth down the road. At around six weeks, we gave the Ecopiggy soother (chemical free) a try and it was a shoe in allowing dad to comfortably hang out with the little guy and mom to have free hands for more than moments at a time.
Another key point I read in Dr. Sears book is not to use that pacifier to soothe the baby in lieu of the human touch. So we always make sure the baby is well fed, happy and held while he is using the pacifier as opposed to using the device to stop cries and appease him. Our baby loves to eat so he never accepts the pacifier if the least bit hungry, but his intense sucking needs between feedings have been greatly helped by this little device. As Dr. Sears says “pacifiers are for the comfort of babies, not the convenience of parents.”