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Are Breastfeeding Problems Related to Incorrect Breastfeeding Technique and the Use of Pacifiers and Bottles?


Lennart Righard MD, Department of Pediatrics, Lund University, University Hospital, S-20502 Malmö, Sweden.



In Western countries during the 1960s and 1970s, sore nipples and insufficient milk were common problems that made it hard for mothers to maintain breastfeeding for long. This study investigated the relationship of breastfeeding problems to nursing behavior and pacifier use.


Fifty-two healthy mother-infant pairs with breastfeeding problems were referred for observation of nursing behavior to a breastfeeding clinic at the Department of Pediatrics of Malmö General Hospital, Malmö, Sweden, from August 1987 to July 1989. The infants ranged in age from 1 to 17 weeks. A faulty nursing pattern was corrected as necessary. Forty mother-infant pairs with no breastfeeding problems provided a control group.


In most cases the nursing problems were related to incorrect sucking technique. The difference in technique of the study group compared with the control group was significant (p= 0.0001). The continuation of breastfeeding was poorer if the infant already had become used to bottle-feeding. Pacifier use was more common in conjunction with breastfeeding problems and in cases with a faulty superficial nipple-sucking technique.


Breastfeeding problems may be prevented by the adoption of hospital routines that do not interfere with the start of breastfeeding and by the avoidance of extensive use of pacifiers. (BIRTH 25:1, March, 1998)