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If you're not breastfeeding, your baby can use a pacifier from the get-go. If you are breastfeeding, when to give your baby a pacifier depends on how much you think it might interfere with nursing.
Experts used to advise women not to introduce pacifiers or bottles until breastfeeding was well established to prevent nipple confusion. But now researchers say that using a pacifier doesn't affect breastfeeding as much as previously thought. (However, introducing a bottle too early does have a negative effect on breastfeeding.)
There are pros and cons to offering your baby a pacifier. For example, using one at nap time and bedtime can reduce your baby's risk of SIDS. One of the strongest reasons against introducing a pacifier is that children sometimes have a hard time breaking the binky habit.
When offering your baby a pacifier, do it at a time when you know he's not hungry. If your baby gets a pacifier rather than the nourishment he needs and wants, he might become so upset it will be difficult to feed him.
Also, not all babies want a pacifier because some are able to satisfy their sucking urges with the breast or bottle. "Don't feel like you have to give your baby a pacifier at all," says Howard Reinstein, a pediatrician in Encino, California, and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
You can try other techniques to soothe your baby, such as carrying him in a front pack, rocking him, playing soothing music, and singing.