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Breastfeeding and dummy use - how and when? [Dumb post!]

(16 Posts)
Essie3 Tue 15-Jul-08 12:25:18

Ok, the dummy definitely soothes my DS who sucks hard on most things - nipples, fingers (not his own), arms, t-shirts.

My dilemma now is how and when to give him a dummy. My original plan was to give it to him to settle him to sleep at bedtime only - this works, he sleeps, the dummy falls out, he wakes for a feed.

However, he also screams all day, and is basically inconsolable. If I've fed him, changed him, cuddled him, walked him in the pram etc and he's still crying, should I stick the dummy in? Or is this a slippery slope? How will I know when he needs feeding rather than a dummy?

DS is four weeks old and a good feeder. (I don't want to wreck the feeding but I've got a cracked nipple from comfort sucking.)

needahand Tue 15-Jul-08 12:56:40

bumping for you Essie. I have posted my thoughts on this on our postnatal thread but don't want you to be ignored wink

wolfear Tue 15-Jul-08 13:09:29

DS was similiar - he was a real sucker. I had an issue with using a dummy and resisted for about a week until the health visitor told me I'd have no nipples left unless I gave in. I too had been comfort feeding. DS is 1 on Monday. He has his dummy for sleeping and when he's ill but that's it. Are you following a feeding routine? Again, I fought hard against getting into a routine, believing my intuition would tell me what to do. I ended up following (loosley) Gina Ford's routine and I've never looked back to be honest. I needed someone to spell out times that DS needed feeding. I had no idea if I was doing too litte/too much and I was getting conflicting advice from every direction. I breatsfed, and as a loose guide, I fed him every 3.5/4 hours. If he cried in between those times I deduced it was for a different reason. Within a couple of days, we were in a good routine - I swear by it.
I also worried, DS would be sucking his dummy 24/7 if I ever introduced one - he doesn't. Do what you have to do to keep yourself sane at this early stage essie. It will all fall into place.

isaidno Tue 15-Jul-08 13:14:47

If he needs feeding he will not be happy with a dummy so you needn't worry about that.

IME (2 ds with dummies) you need to set yourself rules for dummy use to avoid that slippy slope of constant use. I only gave it for tiredness, most of the time. Do not stick it in as a matter of course! As long as you control the use of it your DS will be fine.

Lansinoh is great for healing nipples.

idontbelieveit Tue 15-Jul-08 13:31:58

At four weeks if he's sucking all the time it's because he's trying to boost your milk supply. I would leave it another couple of weeks before you introduce a dummy as your milk supply won't be stabilised and dummies have been shown to have an adverse effect on breastfeeding. Here are some links on cluster feeding (when they feed for hours and don't seem satisfied) which can be mistaken for comfort sucking and normal very frequent nursing in the early weeks.
frequent nursing
pacifier use
cluster feeding
growth spurts
The info is from kellymom, an evidenced based resource for breastfeeding mums. I found it really useful when I was starting out with breastfeeding.
Hope the info is helpful. smile

idontbelieveit Tue 15-Jul-08 13:32:50

isaidno is right about lansinoh, it's great!

anonymama Tue 15-Jul-08 13:39:34

I'd second idontbelieveit. At 4 weeks let him suck and get your milk supply up.

In contrast to the other posters, I am not a fan of dummies because you do risk your LO getting a bit of nipple confusion, and later on there is evidence to suggest the delay speech development. Even at 4-5mths when your baby is gurgling and grunting unintelligibly, those non-verbal noises are part of the continuum of speech development, and are important milestones. Dummies inhibit that. I've seen 2 year olds with dummies who cannot communicate verbally at all, or have had their speech delayed because of a reliance on dummies that lasted into their second year.

As you LO gets bigger, he should learn other ways to soothe himself and be soothed, e.g. rocking, singing, a favourite rag/toy. In the meantime you could use a clean little finger to give him something to suck on if you are sure it is a comfort suck he is after. However at this stage, it is really common to have a baby who wants to suck all the time - it's just nature.

Good luck to you - you're doing a great job and it's a difficult time. It will get easier.

dal21 Tue 15-Jul-08 13:51:12

Am not an expert on this subject, and have no first hand experience of nipple confusion. But that is not to say that it could happen. My personal experience is that I BF DS for 6 months and used a dummy to soothe him. When he needed feeding, the dummy did not soothe.

Your DS is only 4 weeks old, you are not going to build bad habits when he is this young. Right now he needs comfort - some babies are more sucky than others. If the dummy helps - then use it!

I think it was another thread of yours that I said I got rid of the dummy cold turkey at 10 months old and DS only took a day to adjust. From 12 weeks I only used it to assist DS sleeping (so only at naptimes) - it was instrumental in helping him learn to fall asleep by himself. But at 4 weeks, use it when you need to. That is my advice.

Essie3 Tue 15-Jul-08 13:54:39

The only problem with getting my milk supply up is's massive! I'm donating to a milk bank, and doubling up on breast pads!

needahand Tue 15-Jul-08 14:01:58

idontbelieve it. The links you referred to are really useful the one about cluster feeding is my DS down to a T. really reassuring to know.

une Tue 15-Jul-08 14:09:53

Go for the dummy, it's worth it! At four weeks there is (according to the research I've read) no danger of confusion. And if he's a good sucker, the risk is even smaller.
One tip though, is trying with the latex-ones first: They give a more similar feeling to the nipple than the silicone.

suey2 Tue 15-Jul-08 14:13:23

totally agree with dal21. My experience was exactly the same- when DD wsa gneuinely hungry, the dummy was spat out.

don't give all your milk away! it may be plentiful now, but you might find you need a little in reserve when your LO starts drinking a litre a day - that was my experience. I would stick some in the freezer

idontbelieveit Tue 15-Jul-08 20:39:21

needahand, glad they were useful. I found the cluster feeding an absolute marathon until dd reached 12 weeks. It made me feel quite crazy after she'd been on for 5 hours! It did get better though I promise.

needahand Thu 17-Jul-08 11:07:37

Thanks *idonbelieve it*, I was starting to feed there was a problem with DS or my milk or something until I read this information. At least now it gives me an excuse to flop in front of the tv while he feeds. It is a bit exhausting mentally when he feed for what seems to be three hours in a row. But at least now I know it is not unheard of and am not tempted to give him a dummy anymore.

Essie sorry I hijacked your thread a bit

Essie3 Thu 17-Jul-08 12:28:45

No, go for it - here to help!

ElmMum Thu 17-Jul-08 14:49:33

My DD is 7 weeks and has just developed nipple confusion. It's no fun at all and is threatening to derail BF completely. We have been giving her a dummy quite a lot and today have decided to stop until the BF probs are sorted.

I'd say, resist for now if you can. A clean index finger is closest to a nipple and would give your nipple a break if your DS will take it. Maybe continue hugging DS to your boob but substituting index finger for nipple? Doesn't give you much of a break but gives nipple a chance to recover poss?

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