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Although the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative advises that no pacifiers be given to breastfeeding infants, both breastfeeding and pacifier use may protect against sudden infant death syndrome. The International Child Care Practice Study data set on child care practices associated with sudden infant death syndrome risk from 21 centers in 17 countries was used to describe infant-feeding practices and pacifier use and assess factors associated with breastfeeding. At approximately 3 months of age, rates of breastfeeding only (4%-80%) and pacifier use(12.5%-71%) varied between centers. Pacifier use was negatively associated with breastfeeding, and a dose-response effect was noted. Other negative (multiple birth, smoking by mother) and positive (intention to breastfeed, bed sharing, mothers' education) associations with breastfeeding only were identified. Although causality should not be inferred, these associations are consistent with previous studies. Advice on pacifiers should include potential benefits as well as risks.

Original publication




Journal article


J Hum Lact

Publication Date





289 - 295


Breast Feeding, Female, Humans, Infant, Infant Care, Infant, Newborn, Male, Mother-Child Relations, Pacifiers, Sudden Infant Death, Time Factors