Medical Definition of Pacifier

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Pacifier: An artificial nipple, usually made of plastic, upon which an infant can suck to gain some solace and quiet down. A pacifier is called by other names in other countries including a "dummy" in the U.K.

Pacifiers have been claimed to cause early weaning. However, a study (JAMA, July 18, 2001) was done of women who were planned to breastfeed for at least 3 months. All of the women were told how to soothe a crying or fussy child, but one group of women was told to avoid giving their baby a pacifier. Advising women not to give their baby a pacifier had no effect. The rate of early weaning was the same in both groups. The use of a pacifier does not cause early weaning.

Reviewed on 9/7/2018

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