Preterm Birth, Pacifier use and Breastfeeding: is there a Relationship?

Abstract The immaturity of born to preterm infants may predispose to sucking difficulties. This research aimed to evaluate if pacifier use is associated with preterm birth and influenced in type of infant feeding. This comparative cross-sectional study was conducted in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and evaluated 250 children aged 3 to 5 years. As a sample, two groups were established: the normal term children group (n=125) was selected at a day-care centre and the group of preterm children (125) was identified at a public university hospital with a preterm care project from birth to seven years of age. To collect data, a pre-tested questionnaire regarding information on gestational age, infant development, infant feeding and non-nutritive sucking habits was used for both groups. Bivariate and multivariate Poisson regression was used for the statistical analysis. Pacifier use was more prevalent in the preterm group (PR=1.20, 95% CI=1.02-1.42) who used the bottle (PR=1.38, 95% CI=1.15-1.64) and were breastfed for less than six months (PR=1.19, 95% CI=1.01-1.41). The majority of breastfed infants were of normal term birth (PR=1.14, 95% CI=1.04-1.20) and had monthly family income greater than USD 450.28 (RP= 1.10, 95% CI=1.01-1.20). In this study, pacifier use was more prevalent among preterm infants and associated with less than six months of breastfeeding and used of bottle. Monthly family income was associated with a prevalence of breastfeeding.