23 answers

Newborn Using Me as a Pacifier?

Just wondering if anyone has ideas to help me get my 2 week old (who is primarily breastfed) to stop using me as his pacifier?

He won't take an actual pacifier, we've tried all different shaped ones with no luck in finding one he'll use for more than 2 minutes. It seems to mostly happen at night before bed, after feeding a lot in a couple of hours and he seems to not get full so he'll even get 2 oz of formula to help but he won't stop until I breastfeed him more until he's asleep. I wouldn't think he'd be hungry unless it's because he's not eating as much during the day, but the reason I'm feeling more like a pacifier is because he'll often fall asleep within a few minutes of starting to breastfeed (after the hours of off and on eating).

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

HI B.,

I would highly recommend the book "Baby Wise" by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam. It teaches you how to teach you baby to feed and sleep for the betterment of the whole family. It worked like a charm so far for my 4 month old..

He's two weeks old!!!! Two Weeks! He needs the closeness, he needs the colosterum - which you still have at this point. Let him find and suck his thumb if he wants.

More Answers

I would nix the bottle/formula. It could reduce your milk supply in the long run. At 2 weeks, your milk should be enough (unless he isn't gaining weight, but even well-fed babies drop some off their birth weight before milk comes in). Try to finish feeding on first side before switching, even if he burps in between, so he gets the essential fatty hind milk. It also helps reduce colic.

At 2 weeks, a breast fed baby will want to eat about every 2 hours, almost around the clock. Sleep-deprivation for you, but it won't last forever. And it's perfectly ok for him to use you as a 'pacifier' - its soothing to him. And as his milk needs increase, he'll want to feed more for a few days until your production catches up - which it will only do if you nurse him whenever he wants to!

I honestly look back and sometimes miss the time spent nursing my babies (my youngest is now 5), so enjoy it now. It won't come back again.

2 moms found this helpful

One thing that I learned to accept as a new mom was that breastfeeding IS more than milk. It's human contact, comfort, etc. Plus letting your baby nurse on demand regulates your milk supply so you don't have supplement with formula. Now that my baby is 9 months, I can start adding ways to comfort her so our relationship can expand.

1 mom found this helpful

Congratulations on your new addition!
Consider that your baby has been completely connected to you until just a few days ago, and seeks that reasurring connection again through breastfeeding. How much nicer to snuggle a person who loves you instead of a plastic device, especially at this age! There's time in the future for substitutes as sanity savers, but for now, consider surrendering to the newborn time and just love that baby. It's so short.
Human milk production is all supply and demand, so if you're willing to let this be your "investment" time, your milk supply with meet your baby's needs completely. Sucking and swallowing are reflexes, so just because your baby will take the extra formula in a bottle doesn't mean he's still hungry--breastmilk changes in consistency during each feeding and letting the baby stay on the breast until he falls asleep ensures he receives the high-fat hind milk that helps him grow and put on weight. All that time at the breast ensures your prolactin hormone levels stay high and your body meets his needs; if you limit his time at the breast during these first few weeks or use a bottle it will backfire and you'll end up worryng about milk supply issues. Even if you don't think he could still be hungry, or it seems like he's not getting tons of milk, his time at the breast helps your production and soothes him so he can use his calories to learn and grow instead of complain. I suggest you follow you baby's lead during this early time. Watch urine/stool output for reliable signs that he's getting enough.
Many babies do what's called "cluster feeding," where they nurse very often for a few hours and then have a longer stretch of sleep. It's normal and healthy, and sounds like what your guy is doing. Also, remember that human milk is such a perfect food with no fillers or unnecessary ingredients and it is digested within 90 minutes. (Most forward-thinking anesthesiologists consider human milk a clear fluid and don't limit it before surgery with the same time frame they might limit other foods, you might already know.) AND, a two-week-old baby's stomach is the size of a shooter marble. That's little! So of course he will need to check in with you often, and not with perfectly spaced feedings according to the clock.
You might like using a baby sling to keep your baby close and happy as an occasional alternative to nursing, when you just have to make dinner or do laundry or go to the store, etc. I love my Maya Wrap brand ring sling.
Pacifiers are breast substitutes--so you're not a pacifier, you're a mom, and a dang good one to be so responsive to your little man's needs! This needy time will pass and you'll be glad for the investment.
I suggest getting in touch with your local La Leche League Leader for breastfeeding help and support. You can call and ask even a little question. Their services are all free and friendly and they can really help boost your confidence AND save your sanity. They are also usually experts at babywearing and can give you baby sling tips so it can be useful to help you hold baby while chasing your other little boy! (Seriosuly, a sling is like my third arm--I am chasing three boys.)
Best wishes!

1 mom found this helpful

The behavior you are describing is totally normal for a two week old baby. He is new to this world and needs lots of comfort and reassurance, to say nothing of his great need for food. Babies grow very quickly and they need lots of calories to do so. That said, I don't think that supplementing with formula is the answer, if you feel like you are not making enough milk to satisfy him then you need to make sure that you are eating well, staying hydrated, nursing frequently (that doesn't seem like a problem for you) adn possibly taking the herbal supplements fenugreek and blessed thissle. You did not mention how your baby sleeps at night, it could be that he is filling up on milk before bed time so that he can sleep for a long stretch (5-7 hours is a very long stretch for such a young baby) this is acctually a great habit if it is the case. Just try to relax, your baby is way too young for you to even think about cutting down on the time he is nursing, it is good for him to nurse as often as he wants at this age. As he gets oleder your baby will require fewer calories and he will naturally need to nurse less often. Good luck and congratulations on your precious baby!

P.S. to all moms out there, stay AWAY from "Baby Wise" and anytijng else written by Gary Enzzo, I am convinced that his methods are bad for babies!

1 mom found this helpful

babies don't just nurse for hunger, he might just need to be with you. different babies are different, as you probably well know, having more than one, and why not let baby do all the sucking at the breast? effective birth control? time with mom, nutrition for the brain and the body. there' no reason he HAS to have a pacifier and it's okay for baby to fall asleep at night at the breast. if you're resenting it, then you might need to make a change, but he's a little young to be starting any sort of schedule really, other than maybe nursing him to sleep, then taking him off and if he won't stay asleep, letting daddy rock him to sleep or something. good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I think a couple of things here -
#1 - your baby is only two weeks old, and will definitly use you as a pacifier. This is normal, healthy and a short, sweet time.
#2 - when you are sleep deprived it doesn't feel short or sweet, so I sometimes used my finger or my husband's finger with my son until he was a little older and would take a pacifier.
#3 - Skip the formula - breastfeeding is a supply & demand thing, so skip the formula. Nurse you son if he wants to nurse, and your body will respond by making the right amount of milk for him.
#4 - hang in there because it really IS a short time and he will want something besides you and you will be a little sad (though sometimes relieved).

I like the comments that breastfeeding is about more than just feeding - it is really good bonding time for you and your new baby. Your son is most comfortable and feels the safest and most secure at your breast. Breastfeed him to sleep while you can. You have a few months to change that routine up if you want to. Hang in there. You're doing the right thing!

1 mom found this helpful

HI B.,

I would highly recommend the book "Baby Wise" by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam. It teaches you how to teach you baby to feed and sleep for the betterment of the whole family. It worked like a charm so far for my 4 month old..

All three of mine were like this. I would agree to drop the formula and look at it in a positive way. I was always grateful not to have to worry about weaning from the binky! My 1st breast fed for 20 min every hour! She had no growth problems and was very healthy. My second two were a bit more reasonable, but I totally understand what a dramatic change it can seem like. Try to go with it and in the long run (they grow soooo fast) you will be glad you did!


If getting him to fall asleep is your primary concern, I would suggest letting someone else rock him or hold him until he falls asleep. He might smell your milk and want to nurse even if he isn't still hungry. My sister was here visiting for the last couple weeks and it seemed like she could get my baby to go to sleep within two minutes when she rocked him, but when I held him when he was tired, all he wanted to do was nurse. So if dad is willing, I would ask him to help. It will also give dad a chance to bond with baby too. ;)

Hi B. - nothing to worry about, trust me. He's only 2 weeks old so he is doing what comes naturally. You will be thankful he does not take a binky. Our second refused one completely and it made life so much easier than with our first. Cluster feeding in the evening is textbook and he may be eating more than you think - even if you are feeding him for just a few minutes before he falls asleep, he could easily get an ounce or two or even more of that thirst-quenching foremilk. You might consider consulting with a lactation specialists for tips on cluster feeds and other issues.

The habits he forms are the ones that you allow. In the months to come, the cluster feeding will subside and it will be easier to regulate his feeding times. In the meantime, you might offer him his hand if or the back of your finger.

You're doing great new momma!!

Both my kids were not into the pacifier at first. The key is to find the one they sorta like and keep giving it to them consistently. What you describe sounds like a need to suck as they go to sleep -- both my babies were the same way and a pacifier is a life saver. As for the hours of off and on eating, try to wait a couple hours between feedings so he is hungry enough to do more than snack at a feeding. Remember that eating is not the only way to comfort, but with a toddler it may be that eating is the only time you really hold your baby super close and give attention to him (which may be what this ends up being about.) Good luck to you. Love those little ones, they grow too fast!

I would not worry to much about this at 2 weeks old. He has been warm and snuggling inside of you for 9 months. He is probably just needing that extra bit of security.
There is a book called The No Cry Sleep Solution. I highly reccomend it. There is a section in there on breastfeeding your baby to sleep and making sure they do not associate having to nurse to go to sleep. You can get it at Barnes and Noble or on-line at Amazon.com. Make sure you get the one for infants and not toddlers. Good luck!

If he's only two weeks, don't worry about it. It's totally normal. Congrats on your new baby!

my newest baby is a week older than yours, so i'm going through the same thing. i have tried to change the way i do things since my first baby because i had a tough time since my milk supply was too small for him. i was so sleep deprived because of his snacking and pacifying instead of filling up and sleeping. and i felt so guilty about using a bottle because everyone told me that the key to increasing the milk is breastfeeding more. so i stuck with the frequency of breastfeeding, but because he still wasn't full and therefore was unhappy, i supplemented with a bottle after every feeding for months. i hated this method and have tried to avoid it ever since. my milk did not increase this way. for my second baby, my milk came in stronger, so i rarely had this problem. but my 3rd has done the same as the first even though she likes pacifiers. it's because she's hungry. i tried pumping after feedings like my pediatrician suggested, but it was all taking too much of a toll on me. so i've started using fenugreek and i have noticed an increase in my milk and things are going much more smoothly. the baby still wants to nurse for hours sometimes, but for those times i just set a limit, give her a bottle when i feel the nursing has gone on too long, then go to sleep with her in my arms if necessary. so please try the herbs too, not just feeding and pumping constantly (that can lead to a nervous breakdown!). good luck! :)

I agree that his still just a little guy. If the habit doesn't break at the two month mark I would suggest inrtoducing a bottle. Our daughter had a similar trait but as she got older and we started using the bottle she stopped, and never used a pacifier. Pushing him to a pacifier will mean that's just another habit to break down the line.

Good luck and enjoy him being a little guy...

Hi B.!

Congrats to you and your family! Since you work in the hospital you should take advantage and go talk to the lactation nurses. Most hospitals have free lactation groups that meet and the nurses offer free advise. Its a great thing!

My lactation nurse actually recommended that my son use me as a pacifier. The theory behind it is, it will help stimulate your milk supply. I found that I did have a lot of "extra" milk and that was nice for me because I was able to pump after the feeding and get a few ounces here and there. Before you knew it I had a HUGE stockpile of breastmilk. That was nice to have around when I wanted to get away for a while.

When my breastfeeding infant did take a pacifier, he liked the SOOTHIE by First Years. It was what they started giving to him in the hospital. The backside of the pacifier allows you to get a finger inside and hold the pacifier in their mouth for a while so they can really get the feel for it before they just go ahead and spit it out.

Heres the link for that product at Babies R US


Again, congrats!

He's two weeks old!!!! Two Weeks! He needs the closeness, he needs the colosterum - which you still have at this point. Let him find and suck his thumb if he wants.

Congrats on the new baby! What a wonderful thing! :)

He is too young to really use you as a pacifier. May I suggest you DO NOT give him a pacifier if he doesn't want it, seriously, one less headache and neither of my kids wanted much to do with one.
It is a good idea not to feed them until they are asleep, however at 2 weeks the slightest thing can make them fall asleep. I wouldn't worry much these first few months.

If you are concerned he is using you to fall asleep, then pump and give him a bottle before bedtime. Now is a good time to get him used to a bottle to if you need to free up yourself ever.
Make sure his nose isn't congested either.
My daughter at 6 weeks was feeding very weakly, slept a lot and it made me nervous, turns out she had a cold and was super congested so when she started feeding it was too much work for her and she couldn't breathe well through her nose and fell asleep.
Good luck, he is just finding his groove! :)

Why force one on him if he doesn't want one? It sounds like he just wants to be held. Try rocking him until he falls asleep without nursing him. I agree with the other comments, hold him close and snuggle him. He just wants you and your smell. My daughter is 10 and she still says that she knows my smell.

at 2 WEEKS old, it isn't the time to train them or anything of any kind- it is the time to give them all they want/need. They do exactly what they need only at this age. You are there to give him everything he needs at 2 weeks old.

If he was 4 months old or something, I wold advise differently.
As a matter of fact, I just recently posted about my 13 month old using me as a pacifier, but you have a 2 week old baby, and that is a newborn. Still acting on pure instinct. She needs mommy!

Stop supplementing! Nurse every 90 minutes, if you feel the letdowwn reflex you know he is getting milk. And no, don't offer the breast in between the 90 minutes. At this age they need to nurse often, they are ensuring an ample supply( hence supply and demand). I know it is hard now but it will get easier, maybe he needs to be burped and that is why the fussing. Also at this age they love to be with you and that's why they fall asleep, so happy and comfy and warm with mom! If you offer the bottle now he may wean himself off the breast and you will be done with that. It will get easier, and so worth it!

When I first had my daughter, I nursed her and didn't set any limitation on how long etc., but when literally it felt like she was nursing/suckling almost constantly I asked my Dr. (this was about the same time/age that your boy is). He suggested that I use a timer to set a specific amount of time I would nurse her on each side and that would teach her to be a "more efficient eater" (and potentially reinforce the EATING part). She was what I called a "clock kid", woke at the same time, nursed every two hours almost to the minute, so the timer worked well for us and kept me from becoming a (chapped) pacifier etc. We held her a LOT and she only took a pacifier from my father and only that first week when he was around. We would let her suck on our pinkies if she needed to suck. She never did take a pacifier, or suck her own thumb and after a couple months, didn't want a pinky either. She's very secure and brave and I think that the holding and tight swaddles when she was little helped her feel secure.

I do not think that you need to be a human pacifier if you don't want to be. I know there are a lot of moms that will disagree with me - and all I can say is that we are all entitled to our opinions. Don't let anyone feel like you are doing something wrong - regardless of what you choose about this - there is no right & wrong when it comes to this issue. There will be no damage to your child if you choose not to allow your child to nurse around the clock whenever they feel like it.

If you have made that choice, as I did, I have some suggestions for you. As soon as possible, get into a pattern of feeding him as soon as he wakes up, having some awake time, and then putting him down the minute he looks tired. This breaks the cycle of breastfeeding him to sleep. Don't rock him to sleep - let him fall asleep on his own - it will pay off BIG TIME later on. If he learns to fall asleep on his own, he will be able to fall back to sleep on his own in the middle of the night when he is ready for that. If you nurse him or rock him to sleep, he will need that to fall back to sleep in the middle of the night & you will be waking up all the time.

I had one child that took a binky and 2 that refused. One of the ones that wouldn't take a binky actually learned to suck my thumb. It worked well. I would put him down & let him suck my thumb for a couple of minutes - then I would pull out my thumb & let him sleep. It only lasted a couple of months & then he weaned himself off of that. The other child just learned to pull himself to sleep without any sucking. But at about 8 months when he started having a light blanket in his bed, he started sucking his blanket & now has an attachment to that. The point is that there are other options besides a pacifier & you. Good luck!

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