Pacified: Dummies were not found to discourage babies from breast feeding in two randomised controlled trials
Babies who use pacifiers do not have problems breast feeding, experts have found.
The finding by American researchers contradicts previous warnings by the World Health Organisation that giving breast feeding infants pacifiers can discourage nursing.
A team from Oregon Health & Science University in fact found that taking dummies away from infants in some cases discouraged breast feeding.
The researchers looked at the feeding habits of 2,249 newborns over a 14-month period.
They reduced the number of dummies available between June 2010 and August 2011 thinking it would improve breast-feeding rates, but in fact they found the opposite was true.
Breast feeding rates declined from 79 per cent to 68 per cent, while babies receiving formula in addition to breast milk increased from 18 per cent to 28 per cent.
'Our observations suggest routinely removing pacifiers may negatively impact exclusive breastfeeding rates during the birth hospitalisation,' said co-author Dr Carrie Phillipi.
It is possible that instead of causing breastfeeding problems, dummies are more likely to be used by women already having difficulties breastfeeding.
The authors therefore concluded that if a mother was well-motivated to breastfeed it was up to their own personal preference whether they used a dummy or not.
However, the review, published in The Cochrane Library, did not look at whether dummies might promote shallow suckling habits leading to cracked nipples and breastfeeding difficulties. It was also based on research from just one hospital.
The authors admitted they did not yet have enough data on the long-term effects of dummies on babies' health and development.
Therefore co-author Dr Jacqueline Ho said 'mothers should not use pacifiers if they have an alternative way to deal with crying and fussing.'
The World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund recommend that hospitals caring for newborns follow Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. One of the steps states that artificial teats or pacifiers should not be provided to breastfeeding babies.
Co-author Dr Laura Kair said: 'Our goal with publicising this data is to stimulate conversation and scientific inquiry about whether there is sufficient evidence to support the universal recommendation of not offering pacifiers to breastfeeding infants in the first few days to weeks of life.'
Using a dummy after six months has been linked with a decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2137400/Good-news-tired-mums-Dummies-DONT-interfere-breastfeeding.html#ixzz1tYtdWFwk