Forbidden Binkies?

The Baby Friendly Initiative, meant to foster successful breastfeeding, has had some unintended consequences. Pacifiers are forbidden. Sending the baby to the nursery so the parent can sleep is also out. While promoting breastfeeding is a worthy endeavor, mothers and families are contending with more than ever right now. While we wish successful breastfeeding for all, families may have different goals.

Your baby may enjoy keeping busy with a pacifier when they aren’t hungry. It allows the baby to learn the gentle act of self-comforting while parents attend to the million other things. And the binky gives mom’s nipples a break.

Not all of us have the perfect breastfeeding experience we anticipated, and when my daughter asked me how long I’d breast fed her, the answer was six months. I went back to work when she was six weeks old, she refused to get on the breast by 3 months, and when my mother died when she was six months old, the winter infection season was over, and I was done pumping. I am pro-breastfeeding, pro-mom, pro-family. You know your baby, yourself, and your family best.

There’s more about families and Baby Friendly at

About Lisa M. Asta, MD

Lisa M. Asta, M.D. is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, for which she is also a Media Representative (she has been interviewed for “Kids Health” on Health Radio, and quoted in Parenting Magazine, USA Today, and the New York Times, among other publications). She is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco and past pediatric chair at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. She graduated from Temple University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Asta is also a writer whose fiction has appeared in Inkwell, Philadelphia Stories, Schuylkill, and Zeniada. Her essays have appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Hippocrates, the San Jose Mercury News, and The New Physician Magazine. She is an occasional contributor to KQED public radio’s Perspectives series, and has written articles for Bay Area Parent, Valley Parent, Parents’ Press, and Parents Express, as well as online at,, and She wrote a chapter in The Field Guide to the Normal Newborn, ed. Gary Emmet, M.D. currently has two how-to videos for parents in production which feature Dr. Asta. For more on Dr. Asta’s writing, visit
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