My wife and I had our first 6 days ago and have been having a lot of trouble to get him to sleep at night. We were exclusively breastfeeding until we found we needed to supplement a bit to get him the correct amount of food, at least until my wife's milk had come in. Now her milk is in, but the bottle has seemingly already caused some damage, and seemingly led to some nipple confusion.

We were told from lactation consultants and some literature that pacifiers can further lead to nipple confusion, but it seems that many claim Soothies do not, or at least minimize it. Can anyone offer insight on this? Ideally we'd be able to use the soothie at night to help with him falling asleep during his screaming stage. I don't see how using a soothie over a pinkie finger would be any different, we're already using the pinkie finger to help calm him down, but the angle of your wrist can get quite painful while holding him for 20-30 minutes at a time trying to calm him.


3 Answers 3


Failure to sleep at night in newborns is usually caused by a lack of (or failure to establish) a circadian rhythm; in other words, it's as normal as can be, and a source of great consternation in new parents (I mean, who explains this to new parents? Hardly anyone.)

I have cared for hundreds of newborns, and I can honestly say I do not believe in nipple confusion. This may be controversial, but I believe it's a myth.

Babies may prefer the bottle (supplemental feeding) because it's easier to get the formula. Formula comes instantly on sucking rather than waiting for letdown, etc.

I would advise, though, that when feeding, offer the breast and breastfeed before "topping off" with the bottle. His 'screaming' should not be because of hunger. If you're sure that the baby is getting adequate feedings (weight gain appropriate to age, etc.) use the Soothie if it helps.

  • 1
    I agree with this. I would like to supplement (haha, get it) by an experience my wife and I had. Kids are stubborn. Wifey and I were all sorts of worried because our first kiddo was having trouble eating early, so we tried a few things and ended on using a nipple shield. After a couple months we decided he should be done. He didn't want to be. We ended up saying enough is enough, and just making him stop cold turkey. He threw a fit for 7 hours before deciding he was hungry enough to eat anyway, and he never had any problems eatng after that.
    – Jeff.Clark
    Jul 1, 2016 at 15:45

I don't thing passifiers cause nipple confusion.

Our 1st is 1yr old now. We weren't planning on using passies, but from the minute our son was born, he was a "sucker" as our midwife called him. He couldn't be soothed unless he was sucking on something: breast, a finger, and by necessity, a passy. So, we caved. I also had to go back to work after only 6 weeks, and my husband stayed home. I pumped, and my son was fed half from breast and half from bottle, by my husband. We have had absolutely no problem w/ "confusion", and it's been a year now.


I agree. It is much faster and easier to get milk from a bottle than from the breast. Remember nursing is demand and supply. The more you supplement with a bottle the less supply your wife will have (unless she is aggressively pumping) because the baby saliva provides feedback to mom via the nipple and the suction stimulates production. It's a vicious cycle. I say throw out the formula now! It is quite literally what nature intended. It is very unlikely that the baby needed supplementing anyway. It is a common misconception that frequent feeding means you aren't producing enough. That's totally normal! Latching on for 45 mins then sleeping for 15 and waking up wanting to nurse again is normal. I highly recommend side lying to nurse. I chose to cosleep with both of my babies. They both nursed to sleep. Neither used a pacifier. A pacifier is literally a fake nipple. Why not use the real thing? Cant lose them under the couch! But if it works for your family, go for it. I agree with @anongoodnurse about nipple confusion is more likely due to bottle use being easier. This amazing site is the holy grail of breastfeeding. If you google "kellymom breastfeeding and night waking" or "kellymom nipple confusion" you will get a list of article titles that will provide some great info.

Way to be a supportive partner! I have breastfed for 4 beautiful years and I bet my husband has never asked a single question about breastfeeding.

Look for a le letche league nearby or a breastfeeding support group. The greatest thing i ever did was meet up regularly with other women who i could ask all the strange questions like what is this white blister thing on my nip? And "omg she wont stop playing with my other nipple while she nurses! (Answers: a bleb, and to stimulate letdown. Strange, annoying but normal)

  • Never underestimate the power of a good, strong booty pat getting a baby to go to sleep.
    – Jess
    Oct 2, 2016 at 2:11

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