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If Breast Is Best, Why Do Many New Mothers Give Up?

So babies don't mind getting a bottle one time, a breast the next?

"Many babies will adjust easily to going back and forth from breast to bottle," McCoy tells WebMD. "Many lactation consultants believe that there's an issue of nipple confusion, but I think many babies will adapt very easily as long as it's more often breast rather than bottle. The other thing I find helpful is for someone other than mom to give the bottle. ... There are many babies who won't take a bottle from mom at all, if they're breast-fed, but they will take it just fine from dad or grandmother."

Also, some bottles are designed to be more similar to a natural nipple, McCoy tells WebMD. "They've been very helpful with babies who are lazy in sucking at the breast. ... It actually helps to train them with those because they have to do that deeper draw rather than a chewing motion." Ask your doctor or lactation consultant which brands of bottles are best.

What about pacifiers?

They're not a good idea, at least not at first, the experts say. In the early days, the baby needs to suck. Also, the baby needs to nurse to stimulate milk flow, Garrison says. "Once the milk is in a nice volume, because nursing takes longer than bottle feeding, babies don't need pacifiers because sucking will take care of that need. Pacifiers were created for babies who were fed by bottles, because they were full before they knew it and yet their sucking need wasn't taken care of." If mothers want to use pacifiers, they should wait until the baby is gaining weight and has plenty of wet diapers, so it's evident that feeding is going well, she says.

Generally, McCoy encourages new mothers "to try not to let the baby have a pacifier, because they will develop that shallow suck, which will not work when they get back on Mom." But, she adds, "for babies who have an additional need to suck and for moms who don't like to be the pacifier, I do encourage moms to use a pacifier to give them little bit of a break.

"I support a mom in whatever she decides," McCoy says. "In the end, she has to feel comfortable with it and enjoy being a mom. Sometimes you have to know when to say when. But it's important that they know there are people they can talk to -- the lactation consultant, the pediatrician -- when they have problems."

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