This happened several times over the years of following patients. A family would offer their baby a pacifier, not really thinking anything about it (or hospital staff would without parent’s consent–policies differ) and then have great difficulty getting their baby to go back to breastfeeding.
One particular mother said, “I wish I had known”. Her point was, if she had known how difficult it was going to be to get her baby back to breastfeeding after offering a pacifier, she would have never done it. It is so important to be aware that some babies cannot go back and forth between breastfeeding and using a pacifier/bottle. By the time they are 2-4 weeks old, depending on your source of information, often they have no difficulty.
Breastfeeding and pacifier/bottle feeding each use a different kind of suck. Just like us, sometimes babies can only do one thing at a time. Once they are more practiced with breastfeeding–at 2-4 weeks–they can learn another way to suck and you can preserve breastfeeding, while giving a pacifier/bottle as you need or want to.
There are a variety of guidelines amongst professionals, but we observed, over a period of 17+ years of following thousands of mom’s and babies, that babies who were: 1. Gaining weight, 2. At least 2 weeks old, and 3. According to mom, breastfeeding well– seemed to have little difficulty going back and forth between breast and pacifier/bottle.
Some kids just had an opinion and wouldn’t take one at all, others were happy to do either. Take it from this mom, if you know it can create a problem; give it more time before you start.