Your body gives your baby all he wants – comfort, warmth, and food. When you avoid pacifiers and bottle nipples your body can do just what it’s designed to do. You’ll love knowing you are your baby’s whole world!

It’s simple. Just tell your nurse that you do not want your baby to have a pacifier or bottle nipples that can get in the way of learning to breastfeed.

  • Keep baby in your room and hold him skin to skin when you can.
  • Do not use infant mittens. Baby needs to suck on his hands and fingers.
  • Whenever you see feeding cues, go ahead and feed your baby.
  • Don’t try to “hold off” feeding the baby by using a pacifier. There is no food in a pacifier and new babies need to eat very often.
  • If your baby needs extra milk for a medical reason, feed it with a spoon, cup, or dropper instead of a bottle nipple. Use your expressed breast milk when you can.

A Time to Learn

During the early days, you and your baby are getting to know each other. You will learn your baby’s special signs he wants to suck or eat. Your baby finds that when he shows those signs you meet his needs. Your milk supply gets started, and baby learns the right way to suck to get your milk. The more practice you and your baby get without other nipples getting in the way, the faster and better it works.

Wait a While

It takes around 3 or 4 weeks for you and your baby to get in sync. Wait until then to offer a pacifier or bottle nipple.

How to Feed Baby in Other Ways

If your baby needs extra milk before then, use a spoon, cup, dropper, or other means. Your doctor or nurse can help you decide which method is best for your baby.

I suck on my hands and fingers when I am hungry.
Right away I am close to you where I can smell your milk. I know my tummy will feel full again soon.
I relax knowing you are there for me.
I’m just learning how to get the milk out, but soon I’ll be a pro!

Breastfeeding goes better when mom’s champion is there to support her.

  • Learn baby’s special feeding cues so you can help mom watch for them.
  • If baby becomes fussy, help mom soothe the baby.
  • You can hold the baby skin to skin, too.
  • Tell your nurse and others that you do not want baby to have other nipples while learning how to breastfeed.
  • If the baby needs extra milk, help mom feed it in a spoon, dropper, or cup.

Why Babies Fuss

Newborn babies often fuss for many reasons. They might not like how a dirty diaper feels against their tender skin. They might be too warm or too cold. They might be hungry. Or they might just need to be close to mom where they feel safe.

What You Can Do

Your support is crucial during this early learning time! You can help explain to family members why baby is not using a pacifier or bottle. You can watch for baby’s special signs he wants to nurse so he does not get too upset. You can help mom calm the baby if he is fussy. You can also help her feed the baby with a dropper or spoon if he needs extra milk.

When you avoid other nipples in the early weeks, you will be better able to meet your breastfeeding goals.

  • Your baby will latch easier at your breast.
  • It will be easier for you to feed your baby on cue.
  • You will make more milk for your baby.
  • You won’t be as likely to get sore nipples.

Why Baby Likes to Suck

Babies need to suck. A lot! Babies use their mouths to learn about their world. They suck to take in food, and this sucking signals your body to make lots of milk. Sucking also releases special hormones in the baby’s belly. These help make the baby feel sleepy and satisfied. Your breast gives your baby just what he needs to satisfy his strong need to suck and feed well AND to help you make lots of milk.

Pacifiers Get in the Way

Pacifiers may calm the baby for a while, but there is no food in them. They block your baby from showing you feeding cues. This means baby has to wait much longer to get what he REALLY wants – to be held, fed, and comforted. Instead of using a pacifier, just watch for baby’s signs to eat and feed him quickly. This teaches baby he can trust you and makes him more content. Baby also gains weight faster and your body makes more milk.

Bottle Nipples Get in the Way

Bottle nipples also get in the way. Your baby uses his tongue in a special way when he is at your breast. This makes feeding comfortable for you, too. When your baby gets a bottle nipple, he has to use his tongue in another way. It’s hard for babies to learn how to do two things at once! Because the milk flows faster from a bottle nipple, some babies prefer it. This can make them upset when they go back to the breast. They may also suck the wrong way and make you sore.

Your Baby is Fussy

New babies fuss and cry for many reasons. At your breast baby feels safe. Offer the breast if your baby shows signs he is hungry or just wants to suck. If baby is still fussy after eating, try changing his diaper or holding him skin to skin for a while.

Your Family Tells you to Give a Pacifier or Bottle

Many people do not know that other nipples make it harder for baby to breastfeed. If they suggest you use other nipples, tell them why it’s best to avoid them.

Your Baby Needs Extra Milk

Sometimes a baby needs extra milk for a medical reason. There are other ways babies can get the milk without using a bottle nipple. Your doctor or nurse will show you how to feed your baby with a spoon, dropper, cup, or other method.

You’re Going Back to Work

Lots of new moms go back to work and want to be sure the baby will take a bottle. You have plenty of time to teach baby how to do that! Right at first, it’s best to just breastfeed the first month so that baby knows how to feed well and your body makes plenty of milk. You can start expressing milk when baby is around a month old and giving baby small amounts of your milk from a bottle.

What if my baby wants to use ME as a pacifier?

Sucking is a good thing for your baby! This is how he grows and learns about his world. Spending time at your breast helps your baby get plenty of milk so he can gain weight. As your baby gets older, he will not need to suck as often.

Don’t pacifiers help babies feel less pain?

When babies suck they feel less pain. They also feel less pain when they are held skin to skin and nurse! During some procedures you might be able to nurse your baby skin to skin to help with pain relief. If you have a baby boy who will be circumcised, he might be given a sugar solution and offered a gloved finger or pacifier to suck on. The pacifier should be thrown away afterwards. Your baby will be returned to you so you can hold and nurse him.

I gave my last baby a pacifier and he nursed okay.

Some babies are able to take a pacifier and still nurse often and well enough to gain weight. Other babies do not. To be sure, it’s best to just avoid them in the first month or so. It’s much easier to work on get things off to a good start than to have to fix things that aren’t working.

Should I give a pacifier to help prevent SIDS?

Yes, but not until your baby is at least 3 to 4 weeks old. There are many things you can do to lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). One of them is to breastfeed! Focus on getting nursing going well in the first few weeks. Then, when your baby is around 3 to 4 weeks old, you can offer a pacifier. Offer it only when baby is going to sleep at naptime and bedtime. It should not be used while the baby is awake.

What if my baby is premature?

If your baby is born early, your doctor might want your baby to have a pacifier. The hormones that flow when baby sucks can help a preterm baby’s belly to develop. As your tiny baby grows, a pacifier may not be needed.
  • Know the risks of pacifiers and artificial nipples as they relate to breastfeeding success.
  • Educate staff in the postpartum unit and in the NICU on the negative impact of artificial nipples on breastfeeding success.
  • Discourage nurses and staff from suggesting that parents give a pacifier at night.
  • Advocate for policies that support avoiding routine use of pacifiers and artificial nipples.
  • Promote practices in the postpartum unit and NICU that encourage breastfeeding moms to be with their baby 24 hours a day.
  • Educate breastfeeding mothers about the importance of cue-based feedings, rooming in, and the impact of routine use of pacifiers and artificial nipples.
  • If a pacifier is medically indicated for a procedure, educate families about the reasons and discard it after use. Return the baby to the mother for skin to skin care as soon as possible.
  • Consider informed consent for use of bottles or artificial nipples and pacifiers when medically necessary.
  • Encourage staff to use alternative ways to supplement a breastfed baby besides using artificial nipples (ex: spoon, cup, or dropper). Use expressed breastmilk whenever possible.
  • Know safe sleep recommendations. Encourage use of a pacifier at 3-4 weeks to decrease the incidence of SIDS.
  • Advocate for policies against routine use of pacifiers and artificial nipples for breastfed babies.
  • Educate breastfeeding mothers about cue-based feedings, rooming in, and the impact of early use of pacifiers and artificial nipples.
  • Teach mothers calming techniques for a fussy baby that do not involve a pacifier.
  • Teach families alternative ways to safely feed the baby if a supplement is needed.
  • If pacifier is recommended for a painful procedure, educate families about the reasons. Discard it afterwards and return the baby to the mother as soon as possible for skin to skin care.
  • Establish policies and practices for alternative ways to supplement a breastfed baby besides using artificial nipples (ex: spoon, cup, or dropper).
  • Provide staff training and competencies that support breastfeeding without the use of artificial nipples.
  • Track the number of pacifiers and artificial nipples used by your hospital.
You CAN breastfeed without using pacifiers and bottle nipples. Your amazing body can do it all.

There’s no greater pride as a mom than seeing your baby grow healthy and strong because of you! Mother Nature gives you all you need to feed, comfort, and protect your baby without using formula. So you and your little miracle can enjoy being happy and close.

Here’s how to make plenty of milk and keep your baby calm without using formula.

  • Hold your baby skin to skin in the first hour until he latches by himself.
  • Pump or hand express your milk if you are not able to be with your baby in the first hour.
  • Keep your baby in your room and hold him skin to skin so he can feed when he wants.
  • If baby is fussy, hold him skin to skin instead of giving formula or a pacifier.
  • If the doctor advises giving baby extra milk, feed your own milk in a spoon or dropper, whenever possible.

How Your Body Makes Milk

The more milk that is removed from your breasts, the more milk your body makes. It really is that simple! It starts during the first hour after birth when special hormones tell your body to start making milk. After that magical first hour, feed your baby every time he shows signs he is ready. Keep your baby close, skin to skin. This gives him lots of chances to learn how to breastfeed well.

How to Calm a Fussy Baby

All new babies are fussy. This does not mean they need formula. In fact, babies cry for lots of reasons! Babies cry when they are too cold or hot. They fuss when their diaper is dirty. They fuss on the second night when they are tired of all the noise and people in the hospital. Home is in your arms. So instead of giving formula, calm baby the way he wants most – skin to skin with you.

If Baby Needs Extra Milk

In some cases the doctor may ask you to give your baby a little extra milk for a medical reason. If this happens, the best milk to give is your own milk. You can pump or hand express your milk to give to your baby in a spoon, cup, or dropper.

It’s the second night of my life, and I have had enough of the lights and noise.
I cry to tell my mom I want to be in her arms where I feel safe.
She brings me to her and holds me heart to heart.
Now I feel calm and content again.

Your support will help mom breastfeed without using formula.

  • Help her keep her baby in her room with her so she can feed her baby often.
  • Talk with visitors about her need for privacy to breastfeed.
  • Remind family and friends who mean well that it’s best not to use formula in the early days and weeks.
  • If your doctor or nurse advises extra milk for the baby, ask if she can use her own milk. Help her feed it to the baby in a spoon, cup, or dropper.
  • Praise her. Often! She needs to hear she’s a great mom.

Helping Mom get Privacy

Most new moms do not want an audience while they breastfeed. You can help her nurse in private. Suggest visitors grab a bite to eat or go for a walk. Ask your nurse for a sign to place on the door. Request “quiet time” so you and mom can spend time alone with the baby.

How to Encourage Mom

Many moms blame their milk supply if baby is fussy. They may even feel they need to give formula to make baby happy. When mom feels upset, this is a great time to remind her how much her baby needs her milk. You can also help her calm the baby without formula. Hold the baby skin to skin. Rock the baby. Or sway baby gently until he calms. Tell mom she’s doing a great job.

It’s great to know you can feed and comfort your baby with your milk. When you avoid formula, you are able to protect breastfeeding with the best start possible.

  • Baby is able to breastfeed better.
  • You protect your baby from illness, disease, and allergies.
  • You are able to make more milk.
  • You become more confident you are a great mom.
  • You have fewer breastfeeding problems.

The Power of Your Milk

Your milk is perfect! It has the right balance of vitamins and minerals to help baby grow. It’s also more than food. Every golden drop gives your baby cells that fight disease. There’s no formula that comes close to what only you can give your baby!

Formula Changes Things

Even a little formula changes things. When formula is given, germs and bacteria get into the baby’s tummy more easily. This may increase baby’s risk of allergies or getting sick.

Formula Changes the Amount of Milk You Make

Giving formula also changes how your body makes milk. When you follow your baby’s cues and feed only your milk, your body makes enough milk to meet your baby’s needs. When you give formula or other foods and drinks, your baby takes less breast milk. This tells your body to slow down and not make so much milk.

Your Baby Wants to Eat All the Time

Many babies “cluster feed” or eat several meals back-to-back. This is normal! Your new baby’s tummy is very tiny, and the milk goes through his system quickly. Just follow your baby’s cues and hold him skin to skin. Your baby will take the lead and show you when he needs to eat.

Your Family Suggests You Give Formula

Your family and friends mean well, but may offer advice that does not help you meet your feeding goals. Explain to them that you want to breastfeed. Tell them that giving formula will make it much harder.

You Want to “Do Both”

Your milk is all your baby needs for the first 6 months. If you decide to use formula, too, it’s best to delay it until your baby is around 3-4 weeks old. This gives your body time to get your milk flowing well. It also gives your baby time to learn how to breastfeed well.

You Are Going Back to Work

Moms in all kinds of jobs keep giving their milk after they return to work. Today, laws require your employer to give you a private space to express milk at work. Talk with your nurse or your local WIC office to find out how to get a breast pump.

You aren’t sure your baby is getting enough.

Baby gets enough if he eats at least 8-12 times every 24 hours. Let your baby nurse as long as he wants until he drops off on his own. You can also watch for poopy diapers. Baby should have at least one poop on day 1, two on day 2, and three on day 3 and beyond. The color will change from black to greenish brown and stools will be looser by day 5.

What if my baby acts hungry?

Your baby has a very tiny tummy in the first few days. He can only hold around 1-2 teaspoons of milk at a time. That’s just how much your body makes for him! You may not feel like you have any milk, but you have what he needs. This small amount of milk passes through your baby’s tummy quickly. Follow your baby’s lead and nurse when he shows signs he wants to eat.

What’s going on the second night?

Many babies become very fussy on the second day or night. This is because they start to wake up more on the second day. The people and noise in the hospital begin to bother babies and they become annoyed. If your baby is extra fussy on the second day or night, just give your baby what he wants most – to be held and comforted in your arms skin to skin.

Does formula help my baby sleep better?

Studies show this is not true. Formula is harder to digest so babies might eat slightly less often. But drinking formula does not make them sleep. Formula also has many risks. For instance, babies who get formula are at higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Breastfeeding helps lower the risk of SIDS. Babies need to eat very often to grow and gain weight. Even at night. As they get older, they will sleep for longer stretches at night.

What does “medically necessary” mean?

You will be able to fully breastfeed in most cases. If a medical situation occurs, the doctor or nurse might suggest that your baby get some extra calories. Ask about using your milk when possible. If formula is needed, you can often go back to full breastfeeding again after the medical issue is resolved.

If my baby needs extra milk, what should I feed him?

The best milk to feed your baby is mom’s own milk. You can pump or hand express your milk to feed to your baby. Once your milk volume grows, you can try using a breast pump to remove milk. If you are not able to get extra milk, ask if your hospital uses donor milk provided by an approved milk bank. Formula is the last choice to consider.

How should I feed the extra milk?

In the early days, breastfed babies should get extra milk in another way besides a bottle. Try a spoon, dropper, cup, or tube. The easiest way is to express milk directly onto a spoon and place it near the baby’s lips. The baby will lap it up with his tongue. Your nurse or lactation consultant will help you find the best way of giving extra milk for your baby’s situation.
  • Advocate for policies that keep mothers and babies together, skin to skin, from birth through hospital discharge.
  • Document the mother’s feeding decision in the medical record.
  • Encourage mothers to pump or hand express their milk in the first hour after delivery if they are separated from their babies.
  • Educate parents about the reasons to avoid formula supplementation during the hospital stay and after discharge.
  • Know the medical indications for supplementation. Use expressed breast milk whenever possible as the supplement.
  • Examine policies for acceptable infant weight loss without supplementing, including when mothers receive fluids during labor.
  • If supplementation is medically indicated, explain to parents the rationale and advise them when they can resume full breastfeeding again.
  • Assure that NICU staff are educated about the risks of using formula, bottle nipples, and pacifiers.
  • Advocate discontinuing free samples of formula, if currently provided by the hospital.
  • Encourage the hospital to develop a donor milk program to use human milk when supplements are needed.
  • Provide training for staff in practices that support exclusive breastfeeding and how to address skills for resolving breastfeeding difficulties without resorting to supplementation.
  • Provide resources for staff on drugs that are compatible and incompatible with breastfeeding.
  • Educate mothers about the importance of exclusive breastfeeding.
  • Advocate for policies that keep mothers and babies together, skin to skin, from birth through hospital discharge.
  • Encourage mothers to pump or hand express their milk in the first hour after delivery if they are separated from their babies.
  • Educate parents about the reasons to avoid formula supplementation during the hospital stay and after discharge.
  • Know the medical indications for supplementation. Encourage the mother to provide her milk as the supplement whenever possible.
  • If supplementation is medically indicated, explain to parents the rationale and advise them when and how to resume full breastfeeding.
  • Teach mothers how to use a spoon, dropper, cup, or tube to feed the supplement to the baby.
  • When formula is used, maintain records to track its use and distribution.
  • When mothers request formula, assess and provide information about potential risks to ensure informed consent. If formula is given, document the reason in the medical record.
  • Teach new families how to calm a baby without using formula or pacifiers.
  • Counsel mothers who want to “do both” (breastfeed and use formula) to wait until breastfeeding is established around a month of age.
  • Work to remove gifts of free formula to new mothers.
  • Keep all formula and formula company messaging out of patient rooms, care areas, and other public areas.
Your baby only needs a few things after birth – safety, warmth, comfort, and food. You don’t need formula. You only need your arms and your love.
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