The thought behind not using a pacifier for the first 3 weeks is that baby needs to be suckling at the breast in order to bring in a good milk supply for mom and to achieve optimal weight gain for the baby. Pretty good reasons to breastfeed as much as possible! Also, did you know that the act of sucking produces a hormone called cholecystokinin (or CCK) that will make a baby feel full, even when they are sucking on a pacifier
While I agree that these are legitimate concerns, there are also costs to consider here. Imagine baby has been cluster feeding for hours. You haven’t slept much in days. You are exhausted. It’s 9pm and you ask your partner or Doula to take baby for a little. You get to sleep by 9:30, and by 10:15 they are bringing baby back to you to feed again. You wake up, not rested at all...the thought of the formula in the kitchen crosses your mind, if you can just get a little sleep. We see this a lot as Doulas.
Sometimes offering a pacifier can give you the break that you need in order to find the strength to keep going. Sometimes it gives your partner something to be able to soothe the baby when perhaps you aren’t ready to begin pumping and offering a bottle.
Use sparingly, but not using pacifiers at all in those emergency situations can make your life a lot harder than it needs to be. It’s not something to be offered every time baby cries; if you are awake, feed the baby. But in those times where you just need a good solid stretch of sleep, having your partner or Postpartum Doula offer a pacifier can be a life-saver for your breastfeeding relationship.