When I first gave birth to my son in 2012, other mothers (when relevant to our conversation) would ask if he was EBF (exclusively breastfed/feeding). I would answer, ‘yes,’ but then the question if he was also using a binky would also be asked. I would answer, ‘um, yeah.’ I thought that was strange so many mamas would mention if their baby was “fully EBF” and did or did not use a binky. Besides my own mommy guilt settling in and making me feel insecure, I thought why would any mama not let their baby use a binky if it’s used at appropriate times? If it’s given in a way that the mom is still communicating and listening to her baby’s needs then she could still be successfully EBF her baby.
I then decided to start paying even more attention to a) how I gave the binky to my son (and daughter, later), b) how using a binky does not change my hard-earned title of EBF, and c) find out more about the most talked about nipple confusion. Although, my babies never really experienced nipple confusion, I have noticed one of my babies preferred binkies a little more over the other. They have both loved to nurse, too. My son took to them quickly but he was in the NICU his first two weeks earthside, which monitored and managed even allowing him to be Exclusively Breastfed, forget nursing him on demand. My daughter on the other hand, was nursing like a champ right away and never left my side, and she hated binkies at first. It took a couple months of trial and error to find the right binky and even then I could only get her to maybe take them when I needed a (very) short break.
Why I Chose to Use Binkies while Breastfeeding
For my sanity, I cannot take the torture of hearing my babies cry. Especially while in the car. After knowing they just nursed enough to be okay with taking a little break, having a binky near just in case is helpful to calm and soothe them. My son was better at soothing himself and liked the constant sucking, even after nursing many, many times, which left him full. For me, as a new mom binkies were my savior when I wanted to take 30 minutes to shower and get ready, which took me a few months to get back in schedule of doing again. Once my son and I were home from the hospital, we nursed almost 24/7, building my supply back up and cosleeping day and night. He only used his binkies while out and about, in the car, when I was in the shower, or when I needed to get some chores done real fast (if I wasn’t baby wearing him). To me, this never substituted for breastfeeding time. Once he was older and weaned at 15 months old, he loved his binkies. He used binkies (all called Mr. Binky) until he was 2.5 years. I cut off all the nipples after that and he only slept with the partial binky for the next 4-5 months for comfort and out of habit, as he was never upset about it. In fact the first day I cut them, he laughed and said, “Oh no, mommy, my binky broke.” I told him it must be because he no longer needs to use it and he said, “yeah!”
My daughter on the other hand wanted nothing to do with binkies at first and only wanted to breastfeed 24/7, seriously. She still wants to nurse all the time at 21.5 months. But she had bad reflux her first month and she’s always been vocal when she wants what she wants. It took SO much trial and error but I finally found binkies she would take when I needed a short break, when we were in the car, when daddy babywears her, or just when she needs to soothe herself and I can’t.
How to choose a Binky?
If you are okay with using binkies while breastfeeding, you’ll have to find out what kind and what shape of binky your baby will want and need. First thing you should find out is are you allergic to any of the binky product materials? If so, your baby could also be allergic. For example, I am allergic to latex, so I knew not to give my babies latex binkies, which many are still made out of (what!).
Are you not sure? First, here’s what you need to know about latex:
Although only 1% (3 million people) of the general population is know to be allergic to latex, many people are not aware they are sensitive to what makes up latex and do not know the more exposure to it, they will eventually have an allergic reaction. The more a latex sensitive person is exposed to it, the more you are at risk of developing the allergy. Read more statistics and facts here and here.
To sum up about using binkies while breastfeeding, from my experience, I still don’t really know much about nipple confusion because my babies never really had an issue; you can be Exclusively Breastfeeding and still use a binky; to find the right binky for your babe, there might be some painful and frustrating trial and error; and, stay away from latex binkies! Better safe than sorry.
Happy nursing and binky using, mamas!!
We would love to hear from you! What has been your experience with Exclusively Breastfeeding and using a Binky? Share it with us in the comments below!
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