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Effect of dummy on breastfeeding?

(18 Posts)
AngelDog Sun 24-Jan-10 18:03:57

I have a DS age 3 weeks and I'd like to be able to use a dummy to help him settle to sleep at night if necessary (ie when I get desperate!). However, I've heard recommendations to avoid dummy use until 6 weeks or when 'breastfeeding is established'.

How will I know whether breastfeeding is 'established'? DS has always fed enthusiastically, and his latch seems to be okay. I don't generally have pain when feeding, unless he changes position, in which case I unlatch him and put him back on again. However, he has started to use me as a dummy after he has finished actively feeding, which is not pleasant and is starting to make me a bit sore. He will often happily suck on my or DH's finger instead, though. He takes quite a while to feed - usually about 40mins+ per feed, but I don't think he's a 'lazy' feeder. He will sleep for up to 4 hours after feeding and when he falls off the breast he will dribble milk out of his mouth, so I can tell he's taking in both fore- and hind-milk.

My questions are:

1. How likely am I to suffer problems with feeding if I start using a dummy now rather than waiting till 6 weeks?

2. Will him sucking on my finger be likely to cause the same problems with feeding that a dummy might?

3. Are there any makes of dummy which are better for not confusing babies between dummy & nipple?

Thanks a lot!

BertieBotts Sun 24-Jan-10 18:24:26

1. I think that the problem comes from replacing the sucking at the breast, as any stimulation is stimulating your supply at the moment. I started using a dummy at 2 weeks and had no problems, however, DS wasn't wanting to suckle me for comfort, he would latch on and cry when the milk came out, and only be happy sucking my finger instead. So it wasn't replacing any "comfort sucking" at the breast IYSWIM. You need this stimulation to set up your supply which is why 6-8 weeks is recommended.

2. I don't know but I found it pointless to get him to suck my finger when he might as well be feeding, then at least I had both hands free!

3. I doubt it, any kind should be fine

AngelDog Tue 26-Jan-10 05:43:38

Thanks, Bertie - that makes a lot of sense.

MrsVidic Tue 26-Jan-10 09:35:52

Had no effect on my ability to Bfeed. In fact it helped me calm her enough for a feed when she was hysterical sometimes. Really good for colic too!

Poledra Tue 26-Jan-10 09:45:11

I used to let DD1 suck my finger from 2 weeks old as my poor abused breasts could not take any more! With DD2, I cut out the middle man and gave her a dummy from 3 weeks. She was a better feeder than DD1 anyway. DD3 had a dummy from about the same time, bfed till 16 months old.

Don't think the make will make any difference - probably worth trying a few till you find one your baby likes. DD1 definitely preferred a flatter shape.

silver18 Tue 26-Jan-10 12:34:37

DS1 had dummy from about 4 weeks and has always fed with no problems. He just likes to suck on something! Think the cherry shaped dummys meant to be easier for them to keep in but, as a dentist, thought I best give him the flat (orthodontic) type as I already felt guilt guilty for him having one! (not convinced makes any difference btw).

ClaireGJB Tue 26-Jan-10 21:14:43

Gave my DS a dummy at 4 days old as he didn't go to sleep until 6:30am the first two nights at home - just kept feeding and comfort sucking. I also wanted to wait until 6 weeks however I felt getting some sleep was more important at this point! Am still BF at 9 weeks; the dummy didn't seem to make a difference to feeding. Also my HV said she had only ever seen one case of 'nipple confusion', with someone who had a v.low supply of milk. Obv this may not apply to everyone but you have to weigh up the pros and cons for you and your baby.

moaningminniewhingesagain Tue 26-Jan-10 22:00:54

Both my Dcs had dummies as soon as I was out of hospital really, definately within the first week.

Made no difference to BF for us, I sometimes let DS have a dummy for a few mins to calm him down for a feed if he was agitated, still feeding now at 13mo but mostly keep dummy for naps/bedtime.

He prefers Morrisons own brand ones, with a bear on, or Asda ones, the cheapskate. Hated tommee tippee ones and better with one piece ones here.

eagerbeagle Wed 27-Jan-10 15:05:52

My LO had a dummy from 2 weeks and made no difference whatsoever to his BFing (still going strong at 8.5mo). He was and is a "sucky" baby and those first couple of weeks was trying so hard to get his fingers in his mouth but mostly just smacked himself in the face, waking himself more and winding himself. When he managed to get a finger or thumb in he would suck away until he twitched it out and it would all start again. I pretty reluctantly (I don't really know what I was reluctant as it saved me and DH's sanity) gave him a dummy which help settle him no end.

However he only likes MAM ones and any others got spat out and projected across the room.

arolf Wed 27-Jan-10 15:19:31

my DS had a dummy from about 5 weeks old. still bf at 17 weeks, and no confusion between dummy/breast

however, we went through several brands to find one he'd suck - tommee tippee and avent were both rejected immediately; MAM brand he likes. Speaking to a paediatric radiographer the other day though, and she said they use dummies when x-raying, and most babies spit the dummy out very quickly. something to do with muscle tone and not being able to hold it in place. anyway, be prepared to hold the dummy in place a lot to begin with

(and a friend waited until 13 weeks to introduce a dummy - her dd will not take it at all - so not sure if there's an optimal dummy introduction time?)

Mareta Wed 27-Jan-10 16:05:53

We tried to introduce a dummy when my DD was two weeks old. I say we tried because she never really like it. We decided to give it to her because she was using the breast for comfort and I was the whole day with my breast out. Didn't really understand about till "breastfeeding is stablished", when is that? hmm.

At the end, she found her thomb and she loves sucking on it. We sill have dummys but she won't take it at all except if it is to take it out of her mouth, turn it around and bite the hard bits of it. Of course she is teething at the moment but even now it won't stay in her mouth.

Just try, you know your child better than anyone else smile

CarrieHeffernan Wed 27-Jan-10 16:17:31

We're always told that dummies cause nipple confusion but some of the most successful bf-ers I know have complete dummy addict children!

Punky79 Wed 27-Jan-10 17:59:55

I started my LO on a dummy at about 4 weeks as he was SO sucky and couldn't find his hands properly. No nipple confusion here!

willowstar Thu 28-Jan-10 00:01:19

I gave my daughter a dummy at 4 weeks because she is just so unbelievably sucky! she loves her dummy and uses it when she needs it, she lets me know when she wants it rather than my boob after a feed now. didn't affect BF at all.

AngelDog Thu 28-Jan-10 03:33:33

Thanks everyone for the helpful replies. I ended up using one tonight in the end, as DS was hysterical due to over-tiredness. (He had woken up 2 hours early from his nap by weeing through his nappy, clothes & bedding, and in that kind of situation there are generally 2 hours of hysterics before he'll calm down and sleep.)

At first it was great as it meant I could hold & pat him at the same time as he had the dummy - the alternative would have been DH standing behind me with a finger in his mouh! However when I replaced it a little later, it was repeatedly spat out. hmm

Maybe I'll try some different makes - it is reassuring to at least have another technique to try on occasions like this - even if it's not mega succssful, you feel better for being able to try something when he's screaming the place down.

AngelDog Thu 28-Jan-10 03:36:21

arolf, interesting what your radiographer friend said. Next time I'll see if holding it in place makes a difference.

He doesn't half look funny with it in, though - he is so little that it seems to cover half of his face!

msmiggins Thu 28-Jan-10 09:16:18

I agree with the other posters. There is some potential for problems when introducing a dummy, but many mothers use them successfully with no problems at all.
As long as you are aware of what could happen and watch out, the I see no harm in introducing a dummy early.
As mentioned before a dummy can affect your supply,as it can make a baby lessinterested in feeding, your supply may drop, and baby's weight can become a issue.
Also regarding nipple confusion- when a baby suckles from the breast, the nipple becomes very elongated in the baby's mouth and reaches back to the soft upper pallate just in front of the throat- you can feel that in your own mouth with your tongue.
When a baby uses a dummy or artificial teat, then the part of the baby's mouth that rubs against the teat is the ridged roof of the mouth just behind the front teeth- again you can feel that with your own tongue.
Problems can arise when a baby tries to use your nipple like an artificail teat, and it gets rubbed against the ridged roof, instead of further back on the soft pallate.
THese ridges can make the nipple very sore, and that is one of the symptoms of nipple confusion, as well as a baby not milking the breast well.
Again having said that some babies have no problems realising the difference between a real nipple and an artificial one, even from an early age, athough by 6 weeks most babies
can switch back and forth.

So as long are you are aware of the possible pitfalls regarding weight and nipple soreness, then you can give it a go, you may find giving a dummy at this age is a huge benefit!

Twobabyboys Sun 19-Dec-10 07:30:07

Hiyaa., my 5month old boy is very agitated when feeding (bottle fed) to a point were he will only feed whilst been sat in his chair .,he does have acid reflux could that have anything to do with it?? Could anyone help x

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