Pacifier and bottle use while breastfeeding

There are times that babies want the comfort that comes from sucking but aren't hungry. If your baby is sucking for comfort, her sucking pattern will be different. There is sucking but rarely any swallowing. The rate may start out rapid and then slows as your baby feels comforted.

It's OK to offer your breast or finger or your baby's hand for comfort. It is best to delay offering a pacifier until latch-on is effortless and your milk is well established.

The more time your newborn spends nursing in the first weeks of life, the more milk you will make. Regular pacifier use in the early weeks may affect milk supply and cause slow weight gain.

In general, it is best to wait to use a bottle until breastfeeding is well-established (typically in three to four weeks).

If your baby cannot latch-on or eat due to medical reasons, you can still express breastmilk and feed your baby from a dropper, spoon, cup or bottle. If you use a bottle, use a nipple that is slow flow.

Call your lactation resource before you start using a bottle.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5 Years Old, fifth edition. To avoid awkward sentences, instead of referring to your child as "he/she" or "him/her," this guide will alternate between "he" or "she" and "him" or "her."
Reviewed By: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts, including the Pediatric Department of Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic
First Published: 02/01/2010
Last Reviewed: 01/01/2016

mother infant photo for torticollis page

The more a baby uses a pacifier, the less time the baby is at the breast telling the mother's body to make a full milk supply.