The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends hospitals worldwide follow its Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding to ensure they’re providing the necessary support to help mums to breastfeed. One of these steps is that artificial teats or soothers shouldn’t be given to babies who are being breastfed.
Researchers from Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) wanted to see if not providing dummies on the hospital’s mother-baby unit increased the rate of exclusive breastfeeding.
They analysed feeding data on 2,249 babies born between June 2010 and August 2011.
Results showed the rate of exclusive breastfeeding actually dropped by 11% after dummies weren’t handed out, from 79% of babies to 68%.
In addition, the number of breastfed babies receiving supplemental formula increased from 18% to 28%.
Dr Laura Kair, who led the study, said: “Our goal with publicising this data is to stimulate conversation and scientific inquiry about whether there’s sufficient evidence to support the universal recommendation of not offering dummies to breastfeeding infants in the first few days to weeks of life.”
Dr Laura added, “This subject poses an additional dilemma for parents and pediatric providers as pacifier use is associated with a decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends using a pacifier for sleep after breastfeeding is established.”