A new study from Oregon Health & Science University’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital raises questions about a link between pacifier use and breast-feeding.
The study found that after the hospital limited pacifier use, the rate of newborns who were exclusively breast-feeding declined from 79 percent to 68 percent. The study was based on data from 2,249 babies born from June 2010 to August 2011.
The World Health Organization has a Baby-Friendly hospital initiative, which outlines many policies hospitals should adopt, including the elimination of routine pacifier usage. The idea is to increase exclusive breast-feeding. The findings of this study would appear to contradict the idea that pacifiers have a negative impact on breast-feeding.
The research measured infant feeding data from June to November 2010, when the hospital still regularly distributed pacifiers, and compared them with data after January 2011, when pacifiers were only used in special circumstances.
The percentage of infants who were exclusively fed formula did not change during this time, but the percentage of infants who were breast-fed but received formula supplements increased after the no-pacifier policy change.
The researchers involved in the study are not calling it a cause-and-effect relationship, but are suggesting more research be done on this topic.
— Alandra Johnson, The Bulletin