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It is important to understand the very real impact that the vanilla scented hospital provided pacifier can have on the breastfeeding relationship.

By: Tami Schlosser CLC CLE

Image of babies with pacifiers

The hospital supplied vanilla scented pacifier, AKA binky, AKA soothies, AKA dummy, is not the friend of the breastfeeding mother. They are problematic in MANY ways, and their use is to be discouraged. They have many drawbacks in regards to their impact on breastfeeding.

The Scent
Many hospitals provide the vanilla scented pacifier. Have you noticed that smell? Hold the pacifier to your nose. Take a deep breath. Smells like cookies doesn't it? The scent is very strong.

While the smell is somewhat pleasing and sweet, it causes huge issues for the breastfeeding mother. Babies who are receiving the vanilla binky in the hospital, or worse yet, taking it home to use, have a high risk of rejecting the breast. The reason for this rejection is simple.

The breast and areola smell of a light scent of amniotic fluid. A soft phermone, yet a scent that draws the newborn baby to the breast like a magnet. The vanilla pacifier is troublesome because that heavy vanilla scent sticks with the baby, getting in the way of their ability to smell that soft scent of the breast.

Of course, no studies have been done, and all the evidence is all anecdotal (what we see client to client) but it compelling nonetheless. I can assure you, trying to wean a baby from this pacifier and back to the breast is difficult, exasperating, and very unpleasant, for baby and mommy! Image of pink hospital pacifier

The Shape
Look at your nipple in the mirror. Turn to the side, look again. Cause the nipple to become erect, and look again. Does it share any traits in common with the shape of a pacifier? Not really. And remember, babies BREASTfeed, they don't NIPPLE feed

A baby will accept the shape of the nipple it is first offered. A baby knows no different. Thick, thin, long, short, wide, narrow, flat, pointy, inverted....a baby knows nothing different! If we do not invade baby's mouth with the shape of a pacifier or bottle, and keep baby to the natural shape of his mother's breast and nipple, baby is much more contented at the breast! The baby knows nothing else, and accepts that the shape mama has to offer is the only shape in the whole world, and is perfect for him!

Soothing On The Pacifier Instead Of On Mommy's Breast
A pacifier is a substitute for mother's breast. A mother is NOT a replacement for the pacifier. I loathe that saying, "Your baby is using you for a pacifier." NO. Your baby is suckling his mother, something he as a mammal is hard wired to do. He is bonding. He is building your milk supply. He is establishing his connection with your smell, your body temperature, your energy. He is NOT using you as a pacifier. Babies "ask" to go to breast because they need their mothers. They need to suckle the breast. They need the VITAL skin-to-skin contact. They are not using you as a binky.

Image of hospital pacifierChoosing to offer your baby a pacifier is a huge decision, and not one to be taken lightly. It can, and often does, have a very negative impact on breastfeeding, milk supply, weight gain, and the mother baby bond. Think long and hard before choosing to use a pacifier, and please, if you do choose to use a binky, DO NOT offer one until breastfeeding is very well established (4-5 weeks) and DO NOT USE the vanilla scented hospital provided pacifier.

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