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Breastfeeding and the Use of Pacifiers


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



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


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.


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.


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. (BIRTH 24:2, June 1997)