MONDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- Widely held wisdom that pacifier use among newborns interferes with breast-feeding is wrong, a new small study suggests.
Analyzing feeding data on nearly 2,250 infants born between June 2010 and August 2011, Oregon Health & Science University researchers learned that limiting use of pacifiers -- also known as binkies, corks and soothers -- may actually increase babies' consumption of formula during the birth hospitalization.
"The overarching belief persists that pacifiers interfere with breast-feeding, even though research hasn't concretely showed they cause a problem," said study co-author Dr. Laura Kair, a resident in pediatrics at the university's Doernbecher Children's Hospital. "We like to rely on our best evidence as physicians, so when we see these results jibe better with our own personal experience than evidence-based practice in our field, it makes us take [note]."
Kair and co-author Dr. Carrie Phillipi, medical director of the hospital's mother-baby unit, are scheduled to present their findings Monday at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meeting in Boston.
Seeking to determine if eliminating routine pacifier distribution on the hospital's mother-baby unit would increase the rate of exclusive breast-feeding, Kair and Phillipi learned that this rate actually dropped significantly -- from 79 percent to 68 percent -- after pacifiers were restricted.
Additionally, the proportion of breast-fed newborns receiving supplemental formula rose from 18 percent before the policy change to 28 percent afterward, while the percentage of babies fed only formula remained statistically unchanged.
To encourage exclusive breast-feeding, which benefits both mothers and babies, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) recommend that hospitals caring for newborns follow their "Ten S
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