baby pacifiers

Pacifiers and Formula Supplementation

While establishing breastfeeding, it’s best not to use pacifiers or supplement with formula. Here’s what you need to know:


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises waiting 3-4 weeks until breastfeeding is well established before using a pacifier.

Studies indicate that the quantity of milk a mother makes in the long term is largely determined by how well the baby drains the breasts in the first weeks.

According to the AAP, pacifier use can break the milk production cycle and result in chronically low milk production. In addition, some babies find it difficult to adjust to the differences between the breast and a pacifier. If you need to use a pacifier in the early days and weeks of breastfeeding, try to limit it to short periods of time and infrequent occasions.

Supplementation with formula

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding (that is, giving no other food, beverage, or formula) for the first 6 months. Many of the health benefits of breastfeeding come during these first few months from the protective antibodies found in breast milk.

There may be times, however, when it is medically necessary to supplement with formula. For example, if the baby has low blood sugar, jaundice, significant dehydration, has a low birth weight, or is premature, formula supplements may be necessary.

Administer supplemental feedings using a cup, syringe, or teaspoon instead of a bottle so as to not interfere with your baby's ability to breastfeed. As with pacifiers, it is best to wait until your baby is 3-4 weeks old before introducing bottles and pumping for supplemental feedings. It takes time for your milk supply to become well established and for your baby to learn how to nurse well. Additionally, some babies have difficulty going back and forth between breast and bottle, especially in the early weeks.

Updated December 29, 2017

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