Monday, November 22, 2010

Rough Nights and Pacifiers

So I'm going to be really honest, in case you haven't noticed, I really hate my boobs. I hate them A LOT MORE at night. What a strange thing to say right? Except it does make sense...Chase gets super frantic at night about nursing, he's not good about latching, I have to fight his hands, and he's always tucking his chin I can't have that nice, quiet, latch-on and nurse till we both fall asleep experience. I have to turn on some kind of light so I can see (cuz my nipple is not "perky" enough to just find it's way to his mouth), and usually either prop up on an arm or just sit up and nurse him. When we do manage to get PROPERLY and COMFORTABLY latched laying down...I still have to hold my breast away from his nose because of the shape of my breast and because of how he tucks his chin. I know we will grow out of this, he will figure it out. WE will figure it out. But in the mean time...

I had a really crappy night last night. Chase's tummy might have been bugging him, he seems happier today...but he woke up quite a bit last night. We're gearing up for his 3 week growth spurt so he's been nursing... A LOT. My husband is thoroughly annoyed and wants me to give him a pacifier so he'll sleep better. He's been pestering me for a couple of days. But some of you may remember I suspected that Aiden's early weening had at least partially to do with his love affair with his binkies. I'm REALLY struggling to stay away from the pacifiers this time. I'm hoping that by the time we hit about a month his sucking needs will have dropped, but in the mean time, there are situations where all I want is a binky...I almost bought one a few days ago. Not to mention pacifiers mess with the natural rhythm of newborns...all that sucking serves a purpose, after all. The baby has an intense need to suck because this is what stimulates milk production. A baby with a pacifier may not nurse as frequently as is necessary (of course all babies are different and it's not always a problem to have a pacifier...I'm just paranoid).

Last night in particular, because Chase was so crabby about...who knows what, he was also noisy and woke our older son up a couple times. I had to face my husband who doesn't have a good understanding of newborn behaviors, breastfeeding, nipple confusion, etc..."I wish you would just lighten up and give him a binky." Except that the problem last night was that he was genuinely nursing all those times...he really wanted to addition to a suspected upset/gassy tummy. The pacifier was not going to solve either of these issues, but my husband knows EVERYTHING in the middle of the night <<eye-roll>>. So between our two boys last night, we just didn't get a lot of sleep...and this morning he STILL knew everything and needed to complain to my sister about my persistence on the pacifier issue. 

So let's talk pacifiers for breastfed babies...

So I've been planning to avoid bottles AND pacifiers in the first month. First of all, there are two critical growth spurts during this time (at three and six weeks) and giving baby a bottle or pacifier can decrease the frequency with which baby is at the breast, this can impact the milk supply. Second, a breastfeeding relationship is not TRULY established, strong, and secure until about 5 to 6 weeks. I advise clients to avoid pacifiers and artificial nipples until at least 3 to 4 weeks and to keep it minimal until after that second big growth spurt to ensure baby does not develop a preference for the artificial nipples, and that the milk supply does not suffer in these early critical weeks. 

Here's an excerpt from about Pacifiers:

"It is recommended that pacifiers and other types of artificial nipples be avoided for at least the first 3-4 weeks. I'd personally suggest that most breastfed babies - if they get a pacifier at all - would be better off without a pacifier until mom's milk supply is well established (6-8 weeks, usually) and the 6 week growth spurt is over. That way you've established a good milk supply and don't lose any much-needed breast stimulation to a pacifier."

This page goes on to discuss why pacifiers should be used sparingly for breastfed babies. Did you know that pacifiers can increase instances of thrush? Pacifiers are also associated with nipple confusion which can not only impact milk supply, but cause sore nipples for breastfeeding mothers. In addition they are linked to increased ear infections. 

Specifically regarding "rough nights," it's important to understand the cycle of pro-lactin in the female body. Levels are at their lowest in mid-morning and mid day, but at night, pro-lactin levels are at their highest. Pro-lactin is the hormone that triggers milk production. So giving a baby a pacifier at night, especially in place of nursing, will impact milk supply. This is why when weaning most people begin eliminating their night nursings to avoid tells the body to make a little less milk if the baby is not at the breast at night! 

I don't think pacifiers are evil or anything, don't get me wrong. For sure they are handy tools. My mistake with Aiden was overuse and premature use of the pacifier. Aiden used it for sleep, used it in the car, used it when he was was my super overused tool. Chase will likely eventually have a pacifier for using in the jacking up my shoulder to reach behind my seat and into the car seat while I'm driving to let him suck a finger to settle down has got to stop. But it will be a couple more weeks yet and hopefully I can escape a rotator cuff injury during that time. 


  1. i don't think it's wrong to use pacifiers for emergencies... like your "bad night" last night. problems with the paci tend to happen because of overuse. however i don't really have any experience, because my son would never take a paci! he always sucked on his thumb (and, at 15 months, still does). if he was sick or teething, he would sleep in the swing, because the swinging motion would soothe him better than anything else. pacifiers were nothing but interesting toys to him, which was fine with me. he did get addicted to that thumb and his swing though.

  2. lol, i don't know which is worse- a "Know-it-all" midnight 'helper, like your hubby... or a "Sleeps-like-a-log-even-when-both-kids-are-screaming" midnight 'helper'. one things men will never understand... besides the whole pregnancy/labor/delivery stuff - is nursing. it doesn't make sense in their little man brains lol.
    we used a binky on both our kids but neither of them had any interest after about 3 or 4 months... good luck!

  3. I couldn't be more excited that Chicklett is 6 weeks old so I can finally get a car-paci. I am soooo tired of pulling the car over just to take her out, have her LOOK at my boob, and then fall asleep. She won't buy the finger trick...

  4. I agree Ballerina :) LOL... Mikey took a paci and weaned at 9 months or so... :( My HUGE mistake.. Aiden refuses a paci (just chews on it LOL) and refuses to take a bottle either.. perhaps there is a happy medium there somewhere but we missed it LOL :)

  5. It's funny that you wrote about this Meg. Obviously, as you all know, I'm in a totally different situation. With having a preemie baby, a paci is very helpful because it helps with their suck/breathe practice and strengthens their jaw. So Ella has had a binky since she was able to start sucking on one...even when she was on the vent she would get it occasionally. Well, she's almost 37 weeks gestation and while she still gets it, I've stopped giving it to her when I'm holding her and she gets super fussy and cranky and when the nurses aren't looking, I pop the boob out and let her nuzzle and if she wants to latch and eat she can. So far, she just wants to nuzzle so I figure if they "catch" me, I'd rather ask for forgiveness then permission. Not that I feel I SHOULD ask for forgiveness because it's just like kangarooing...except it's at my breast. If they make a big stink, I'll tell them she's burning a heck of a lot more calories while screaming her head off then she is sleeping with my nipple in her mouth.