Pacifier Use May be Sign of Breastfeeding Problems

Nursing mothers are often advised to keep pacifiers from their babies in order to avoid early weaning. A new study, however, finds that pacifier use may not lead to early weaning, but rather be a sign of problems with breastfeeding.

Researchers from Montreal’s McGill University studied 281 breastfeeding women and their healthy, full-term infants at a hospital in Montreal, Quebec. The women and babies were split into two groups – one group was told to avoid pacifier use, while the other group was not.

Although the researchers found an association between pacifier use and early weaning (defined as weaning within three months of birth), their results also suggest that pacifier use is a marker of breastfeeding difficulties or a reduced motivation to breastfeeding, rather than a true cause of early weaning.

“The use of the pacifier, in and of itself, is not likely to have anything to do with how long the infant can, will, or will want to breastfeed,” study author Dr. Ronald Barr told

The researchers also found that pacifiers do not do a very good job at calming a fussy baby. There was no significant difference between the amount of crying and fussiness between the babies that used pacifiers and those who did not.

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