Is My Baby Using me as a Pacifier – Myth Busted

When you are in the early period of motherhood and postpartum, you hear this term the most, that the baby is using you as a pacifier. Is my baby using me as a pacifier actually true?

Let’s learn what it is.

What is a pacifier?

A Baby’s sucking reflex develops before it’s born. Some babies suck their thumbs or fingers even in the womb. They need something to suck on when they are born to stay calm. And hence they get satisfied by breastfeeding. When a newborn sucks on the nipple, most of the time, it is for nutrition, but sometimes it is only to satisfy that sucking reflex, mainly known as comfort feeding.

It is a very strong statement to say that my baby is using me as a pacifier. Pacifiers are made to satisfy a baby’s sucking reflexes; hence, they mimic the breast. So be sure your baby is not using you as a pacifier.

Babies cannot manipulate a mother; they need their mothers around most of the time to feel safe and protected.

Why Do I Think My Baby is Using Me as a Pacifier?

As a part of co-regulation, babies suck. Their suckling reflex is not always for nutritive purposes; sometimes, it’s just for calming themselves. Babies cannot be calm by themselves; they always need their mothers. All of this is part of the learning process for the baby. Babies learn how to calm themselves by seeing and feeling us being calm.

Interestingly, non-nutritive suckling also helps in the regulation of the nervous system of the baby. While it helps the baby to calm down and feel safer, they can process their surroundings. Besides, non-nutritive suckling also helps lower the blood pressure of the baby and mother, lower the stress level, and activate the brain’s reward center.

The problem arises when the baby starts suckling now and then to stay calm. You feel like you have no time left for anything; all you do all day is breastfeed the baby. That’s when you think that my baby is using me as a pacifier. The truth is pacifiers are literally made to mimic the breast nipple. It actually is the other way around. Mommies, your baby is not using you as a pacifier; he is just doing what he is meant to do.

Benefits of Using a Pacifier

Everything comes with its pros and cons. The decision to use a pacifier or not is always yours. Some of the pros are given below.

Calm the Baby

Since they mimic the breast nipple and babies soothe by sucking on the breast, pacifiers also help in soothing and calming the baby. Pacifiers also help distract the babies if they are in pain. When a baby gets a vaccination shot or is sick, pacifiers come in handy.

Sleeping Baby

Who doesn’t like a straightforward approach to making the baby sleep? Pacifiers are a source of satisfaction for the baby and can be used to help them sleep.

Reduce the Risk of SIDS

Infants and babies have a significantly high chance of being affected by sudden infant death syndrome. A baby who takes a pacifier during sleep has a reduced risk of getting affected by SIDS.

Can be Disposed

The good thing about pacifiers is that you have finished using them. You can easily dispose of them off.

Drawbacks of Using a Pacifier


Most babies, when given pacifiers, get too attached and dependent on them. They soothe themselves with the pacifiers. Although it becomes easier for a baby to take a pacifier in mouth and sleep, too much dependence on it is very harmful.


When a baby depends on pacifiers, he/she might have a higher risk of ear infections and tooth decay problems. Older babies taking pacifiers are more prone to infections and tooth decay than younger babies.

Hunger Cues

When babies are too young and are given pacifiers, it is very difficult for parents to learn about hunger cues. Mostly it happens that when a baby is crying due to hunger, parents give them a pacifier to calm him down. Due to this reason, doctors suggest not introducing pacifiers to babies as young as six weeks old. Once the breastfeeding routine is established, babies can be given pacifiers ( Read More: ).


Pacifiers are one of the major cause that causes of disruptions in breastfeeding. A baby becomes too dependent on an artificial nipple, due to which he/she may reject the breast.

Although not a good thing to begin with, if you have already given pacifiers to your babies, clean them daily. Never offer a pacifier for sleep, and do not offer it if the child is crying due to hunger. The most important thing is never to sugarcoat or honey coat the pacifier just because the baby may accept it. Weaning the baby off the pacifier as early as you can be a good thing.

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