Table of Contents
- Take a closer look at your baby’s pacifier
- Sanford mom finds broken pacifier lodged in baby’s throat
- The best pacifiers you can buy
- Check out our other baby gear guides
- What Is a Pacifier?
- Does My Baby Want a Pacifier?
- Choosing the Best Pacifier
- The Best Pacifier Reviews of 2020
- 1. The First Years GumDrop Newborn
- 2. NUK Newborn Silicone
- 3. MAM Newborn Start
- 4. Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier
- 5. WubbaNub Brown Puppy Pacifier
- 6. Bibs Natural Rubber Pacifier
- 7. Natursutten Natural Rubber Pacifier
- 8. MAM Clear Orthodontic Pacifier
- 9. Philips Avent Orthodontic Pacifier
- 10. Playtex Binky Silicone Pacifier
- 11. Philips Respironics Wee Thumbie
- When Should I Introduce a Pacifier?
- Advantages of Using Pacifiers
- Disadvantages of Using Pacifiers
- When Should a Pacifier Be Replaced?
- How Many Pacifiers Do I Need?
Take a closer look at your baby’s pacifier
Pacifiers are an integral part of baby care — a soothing product that is beneficial to infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has even suggested pacifiers may reduce the risk of SIDS. Yet when KID took at look at SaferProducts.gov reports, we found a recent string of incident and injury reports involving pacifiers that raise questions as to whether a review of pacifier safety standards is required.
In the past five years, 12 pacifiers have been recalled. Most were recalled because they failed to meet safety standards or fell apart, posing choking and ingestion. Some pacifiers were even found to be toxic.
A review of recent product injury reports from SaferProducts.gov, the consumer incident database at the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), shows 32 reports involving pacifiers. Common reports indicate that infants have been able to break pacifiers, usually while pacifier is in the infant’s mouth or while child is sleeping, and the pieces may cause lacerations or lead to choking. Common injuries caused by broken pacifier pieces are bruising and bleeding of the roof of the mouth or the gums.
The more frequently reported brands are MAM AIR Pacifiers and Phillip’s AVENT Pacifiers.
Reports have also shown infants choking on pacifiers as they try to insert the pacifier sideways, causing the pacifier to flip while inside the mouth and posing a large choking risk, or as the pacifier breaks within the mouth. It is also possible for the nipple of the pacifier to detach. One incident reports of a child swallowing the nipple of a pacifier and needing to remove it through partial bowel removal surgery. Other infants have choked as a pacifier lodged into the back of their throats. Less common incidences cover a variety of pacifier that sprout mold, regardless of the pacifier being used or not. Within these incidences, no deaths have been reported.
Based on the reports:
- Of 32 incident and injury reports, 72% stated pacifier was a choking hazard, 19% a laceration hazard, and 19% an ingestion hazard (which includes incidences of mold, material chipping, and children swallowing pieces of the pacifier)
- although the age range of the reports were between 3 months and 23 months, the average age of infants in these reports is 8 months
- Thirty-four percent of the incidences involved babies choking on pacifier and/or the pacifier impeding air flow to the child.
- Parents should check pacifiers frequently for wear and tear, and replace older or worn pacifiers
- Check for recalled pacifiers or those with reports of harm at SaferProducts.gov.
- Likewise, if you have an incident with a pacifier, report it at SaferProducts.gov
Because of their potential for choking, pacifiers were one of the only children’s products required to meet a CPSC standard prior to the passage of Danny’s Law in 2008. Yet, with these reports and recalls, it is clear that either the standard should be reviewed and possibly strengthened or more enforcement is needed to keep non-compliant pacifiers off the market and out of our homes.
Sanford mom finds broken pacifier lodged in baby’s throat
SANFORD, N.C. (WTVD) — Pacifiers can be a safe tool to help soothe your crying or teething baby, but a Sanford mom says she never thought her son’s pacifiers could be dangerous.
Kacie McFadden said her son’s MAM pacifiers have led to two close calls with her baby boy Ryder.
“He was about two months old,” Kacie said. “He was gurgling and I ran in the room and I found the pacifier had broken off — it was lodged in his throat and he was turning colors.”
Panicking, Kacie said she tried to get it out of Ryder’s mouth, but the nipple was gone.
“I did the Heimlich and it finally came out,” she said. “It really could have killed him if I had not checked on him.”
Broken MAM pacifier’s Kacie says she found in baby Ryder’s mouth
After she calmed down, she called MAM. The company responded:
“‘This is very rare, was the pacifier used by another child?’ And I said that’s not possible, this is a brand new one,” Kacie said.
MAM apologized and sent Kacie a package with new pacifiers and a note asking her to send in the broken one. She didn’t send in her old one, but she gave her baby the new one.
There seemed to be no problem until two months later.
“He was going like this with his tongue trying to get something out of his throat and I realized the piece of the pacifier was sitting on his stomach,” she said.
Kacie said it happened again. She says the nipple tore apart from the base and was stuck in Ryder’s throat, this time she got it out just in time.
“Had the scare of my life twice and now I’m not going to use them anymore,” Kacie said.
Consumer Product Safety Commission Reports
We looked into Kacie’s issue with MAM pacifiers and found that she was not alone.
There are several reports filed with the CPSC when it comes to MAM pacifiers, across different model numbers and types.
One of those reports claims that part of the MAM pacifier came off in their baby’s mouth.
Another report says that the hard part of the pacifier had detached from the teat, which was found in the baby’s mouth.
Photo taken from incident report on saferproducts.gov
Other reports like this one detail how they noticed the teat ripping before it actually came off in the baby’s mouth.
Photo taken from incident report on saferproducts.gov
We found 10 reports total on the CPSC concerning the choking hazard of MAM pacifiers.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission does have safety requirements for the manufacturing of pacifiers, called thepacifier rule.
This issue isn’t just here in the U.S.
I heard from a mom in the United Kingdom, Caoimhe Henry, who said her 13 month old daughter, Eireann, choked on a MAM nipple after it broke off the base.
Caoimhe and baby Eireann
She said she contacted MAM, and the company did send her a complimentary toothbrush for her troubles.
MAM had this to say about the problems consumers were having with their products:
“MAM USA has placed the highest priority on the safety of our products since our company was founded four decades ago. That’s why we make sure that each MAM product exceeds strict U.S. and international standards and is subject to extremely thorough testing procedures to ensure quality and performance. For example, each pacifier undergoes a tensile strength test, and is batch coded for complete traceability.
MAM USA estimates that there are currently 12 million of its pacifiers in use in the U.S., and the company has never had to recall any of its pacifier products. The instructions that are included with each pacifier we sell — and posted on our website — direct parents to carefully inspect the pacifier and perform a “pull test” before each use – especially when the child has teeth; and to throw it away at the first signs of damage or weakness. We also instruct customers to replace the pacifier every two months to ensure safety and hygiene.
We have had several conversations with Kacie McFadden and Jeremy Hedlund, and expressed how sorry we are for the stress the family has endured. We are working to fully understand the issue with the pacifiers their son Ryder used, and have requested that the family send them to us so that we can carefully test and analyze them. After we finish our review, we will share our findings with the family, and return the pacifiers to them as they have asked.
MAM USA is aware of a very small number of reports from consumers in which the pacifier nipple wore and became detached from the shield. In each of these cases reported to us or to SaferProducts.gov, we asked the customer to return the pacifier for thorough examination in our laboratories to determine the cause of the detachment. In every case in which the customer returned the pacifier to us, testing and analysis found that the pacifier had been damaged by prolonged use over time by teething babies, or by abrasive cleaning products, rather than any sort of manufacturing defect.
We do not know at this time the root cause of the problems with Ryder’s pacifiers because the products have not been returned to us for testing and analysis.
MAM USA’s baby products unify design, technological innovation and medical know-how, and the health and well-being of babies is our top priority.
Since you asked about similar cases in the UK, the company would like to add that MAM UK has received a similarly small number of reports about detached pacifier nipples over the years – including one from Caoimhe Henry, and the testing and analysis it conducted on all of the pacifiers customers sent back to MAM UK found the same causes as articulated in the above statement.”
Tips to Make Sure Your Pacifier is Safe to Use
If your baby does use a pacifier, it’s key to check it each time before use. Make sure you look at the age recommendation for the pacifier and it matches the age of your baby. Also look for wear and tear, and replace older or worn pacifiers.
Check the pacifier often with the pull test. All you need to do is grab the nipple of the pacifier and make sure it’s not broken or torn. When it comes to keeping the pacifier clean, wash it often in water, don’t use soap or harsh cleaning products.
Lastly, check for recalled pacifiers or those with reports of harm at SaferProducts.gov. If you have an issue with a pacifier, you can file a complaint at SaferProducts.gov
Report a Typo
The best pacifiers you can buy
Check out our other baby gear guides
The best strollers you can buy
With the right stroller, you and your young one are ready for anything, from a quick trip to the stores to a week-long overseas vacation. The Bugaboo Cameleon Stroller is our top choice because of its versatile configuration, its ease of steering, and its many handy accessories and enhancements that let you customize it for your family.
You should also consider the , the Summer Infant 3Dlite Convenience Stroller, the UPPAbaby G-LITE Stroller, and the BOB Revolution FLEX Jogging Stroller.
The best breast pumps you can buy
If you’re a nursing mom who plans to spend more than a couple hours away from your baby, pumping is a necessary evil: It keeps your milk supply up and ensures your kiddo has enough to eat. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced is a great option for moms who want to get their pumping done quickly and easily.
You should also consider the Spectra Baby USA S1, the Freemie Freedom, the Medela Swing, and the Philips Avent Manual Comfort Breast Pump.
The best cribs and cradles
A good crib or cradle can buy you some much needed time to yourself while your baby takes a nap or snoozes the night away. Of all the cribs and cradles we’ve researched, the DaVinci Kalani is our top pick. This crib is attractive, sturdy, versatile, and inexpensive enough to free up your budget for other baby essentials.
You should also consider the Babyletto Hudson, the Stokke Sleepi, the BabyBjorn Cradle, and the Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib.
The best car seats
Car seats are one of the most critical pieces of gear parents with young kids need, but they’re also one of the most overwhelming items to buy. We’ve cut through the confusion to find the best ones for kids of all ages. The Chicco KeyFit 30, the Chicco NextFit, the Britax Frontier ClickTight, and the Graco Affix are slam-dunk seats that are all safe, comfy, and easy to install.
You should also consider these budget-friendly options: the , the Evenflo Triumph LX, the Evenflo Maestro, and the Harmony Youth Booster.
The best diaper bags
It’s no secret that babies require a lot of stuff for a successful outing, so a good diaper bag is one of the most important purchases a parent-to-be can make. Based on personal testing and research, the Skip Hop Duo Signature is the best diaper bag for most parents, with a reasonable price tag, loads of pockets, several stylish patterns, and easy-to-wipe fabric that can take a beating.
You should also consider the Ju-Ju-Be B.F.F. Backpack, the Storksak Elizabeth Leather Bag, the Skip Hop Grand Central Bag, and the Diaper Dude Messenger Bag.
The best baby monitors
Keeping tabs on your little one has never been easier. Based on our research and tests by experts, the LeFun C2 720p Wi-Fi Video Monitor is the best baby monitor you can buy with its low price and high-tech features.
You should also consider the NestCam Wi-Fi camera, the VTech DM221 Audio Baby Monitor, and the Phillips AVENT SCD630/37 Video Monitor.
The best nursing pillows
Breastfeeding is natural and amazing for your baby, but that doesn’t mean it always comes easy. We’ve tested and researched many nursing pillows, and the My Brest Friend is the best one for keeping your baby in the right spot during feeding, and it gives you great back and arm support.
You should also consider the Dr. Brown’s Gia Nursing Pillow, the Boppy Nursing Pillow, the Blessed Nest Nesting Pillow, and the Twin Z Pillow.
The best baby bouncers
You may have a baby now, but you still need a little time to yourself. A baby bouncer can be a real lifesaver when you need a break. In our experience, the Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Deluxe Bouncer is the best bouncer for providing a safe, comfy, reasonably priced place for your baby to stay contained, entertained, and — if you’re lucky — drift off to dreamland.
You should also consider the BabyBjorn Bouncer Balance Soft, the 4moms mamaRoo Baby Bouncer, the Fisher-Price Infant to Toddler Rocker, and the Ingenuity ConvertMe Swing-2-Seat.
The best baby carriers you can buy
A baby carrier lets you and your little one explore the world together. You’ll be glad to have your hands free and your child nestled close, while babies love feeling warm and secure. The ERGObaby Three Position ADAPT Baby Carrier is our top choice because it’s adaptable, comfortable, and very easy to use.
You should also consider the Infantino Flip Advanced 4-in-1 Convertible Baby Carrier, the Clevr Baby Backpack 202 Cross Country Carrier, the Moby Wrap Baby Carrier, and the Stokke MyCarrier Front/Back 3-in-1 Baby Carrier.
The best baby gates you can buy
If you have a baby in a home that has stairs, sharp corners, breakable objects, potentially unstable furniture, or any other common household hazards, you need a baby gate to fence off unsafe areas. The Summer Infant Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate is our top choice because it opens easily, closes automatically, and adds safety with a touch of style.
You might also like the Munchkin Wide Spaces Expanding Baby Gate, the BabyDan Guard Me Retractable Gate, the North States Arched Decor Metal Superyard, and the Regalo Home Accents Extra Tall Walk Thru Gate.
Are you worried your new baby will cry so much that neither of you will get any sleep?
Do you want to be able to have a meal at a restaurant in peace or have a friend over for a conversation once your baby is born — without loud crying interrupting you?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, you might want to consider buying a pacifier.
The best pacifiers can do wonders when it comes to keeping your baby content — sucking on them can instantly calm down a fussy baby.
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What Is a Pacifier?
In a nutshell, pacifiers are nipples that babies can suck on, but they differ from bottles because they aren’t used for feeding at all — they are solely used for comfort.
And when you have an angry baby who won’t stop crying, a pacifier can be one of the best tricks you have so you’ll both get some comfort.
Does My Baby Want a Pacifier?
Since babies can’t talk and tell us what they want, we’re left guessing and trying to decode their behavior.
If your baby continues to suck on a bottle even after it’s empty or seems to suckle your breast without any intent of drawing out milk, they might want a pacifier. The same is true if you see them sucking on her fingers or on toys.
Choosing the Best Pacifier
Pacifiers vary in size, nipple mater, and style. Here are the factors you’ll need to consider when choosing the best pacifier.
- Size: Most packages will tell you what age group they are made for. Usually, the breakdown is for 6 months and under; 6 to 18 months; and older than 18 months. This is important because a smaller pacifier with a bigger baby can be a choking hazard because they can fit the whole pacifier in their mouth.
- What the nipple is made out of: Nipples are usually made out of silicone or latex. Latex is generally softer, but some babies may have latex allergies, so you’ll have to weigh your options about what type of material you want to use. Silicone is the more popular choice for pacifiers and it can also be put in the dishwasher.
- The shield: The shield is what stops your baby from sucking the pacifier fully into their mouth, which is a choking hazard. It needs to be big enough to prevent that from happening. A good benchmark is that the guard should be 1.5 inches or bigger.
The Best Pacifier Reviews of 2020
Now that you know what to look for, let’s take a look at the top brands currently on the market.
1. The First Years GumDrop Newborn
Best Pacifier for Breastfed Babies
Pacifiers for breastfed babies should not interfere with a baby’s breastfeeding. For that reason, you should look for a nipple that doesn’t cause confusion between the pacifier and the breast. Remember if you’re introducing a pacifier for a breastfed baby to wait until they are at least a month old and their latch is well established.
The First Years GumDrop come in a two-pack and are designed to stay away from your baby’s nose. That will allow them to breathe easier when they use their pacifiers and it will make you feel more comfortable with them using their pacifier.
The pacifier is made of silicone and it is a one-piece design. That’s nice because you won’t have to worry about any parts breaking off.
These are BPA free, phthalate free and latex free. These are made for babies who are newborns to 3 months. But as your baby ages, you can find this brand in bigger sizes which would be more appropriate for older babies.
- Compatible with many attachments.
- Gives your baby room to breathe.
- Since it’s silicone, you won’t have to worry about latex allergies.
- Hair tends to stick to these pacifiers.
- Some moms have had trouble with their babies’ fingers getting stuck in the holes.
2. NUK Newborn Silicone
Best for Babies with Colic
When your baby has colic you would do anything in your power to get her to stop crying, even for just an hour. Sometimes babies with colic just need a pacifier they like. That can soothe their crying long enough for both of you to get some sleep.
If your baby has colic, you’ll be relying on a pacifier a lot to soothe him. For that reason, you might want to hedge your bets by getting an orthodontic pacifier. The shape of the pacifier was designed to fit into a baby’s palate naturally. That helps with proper dental development.
The NUK orthodontic pacifier uses silicone materials and comes in a two pack. The shield is heart-shaped, which is nice because it dips right under your baby’s nose, giving more breathing room.
You’ll be pleased to know they’re made in the U.S. and are BPA free.
- This shape of nipple exercises your baby’s tongue and jaw.
- It is a one-piece construction, meaning there are no parts that could be removed and become a choking hazard.
- This shape of nipple is also supposed to soothe babies more.
- They make a slight squeaking noise for some babies when they suck on them.
- These are a heavier pacifier which your baby may not appreciate.
3. MAM Newborn Start
Best for Newborn Babies
When shopping for a newborn pacifier, you’ll want to find something that is small and light enough for newborns to keep in their mouths. If the pacifier is too big or heavy, it’ll fall out every few minutes, if it makes it that long. That will mean a lot of extra cleaning for you.
These MAM newborn pacifiers, which are perfect for babies up to two months old, come in a set of two. They have a curved shield to allow your baby a better airflow. This pacifier also has big air holes in the shield to help even more with making sure your baby can easily suck and breathe at the same time.
It has a convenient button on the end of the pacifier so both you and your baby can easily grab onto the pacifier. It also allows you to attach it to a clip.
The silicone nipple is soft and it has an anti-slip surface that will help the pacifier stay in your baby’s mouth instead of falling out.
- Small in size and lightweight for newborn babies.
- Comes with a sterilizing case.
- The nipple is softer like a mom’s nipple.
- When you wash the pacifier, water gets trapped inside.
- Some moms have had problems with the sterilizing container melting in the microwave.
4. Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier
Best for Down Syndrome
When you’re looking for a pacifier for a baby with Down Syndrome, you should avoid orthodontically correct pacifiers. The shape of those pacifiers doesn’t seem to work well for babies with Down Syndrome. They often will reject them. You should go with a different shape to ensure he’ll take to his pacifier.
You’ll get a six-pack of pacifiers when you buy Philips Avent Soothie pacifiers. You don’t need to be worried that it’s too many though.
I had three pacifiers with my first daughter and it wasn’t enough for me. I could never keep track of those things and I frequently had panicked moments where I was searching every nook and cranny of the house before heading out for the day. Having 6 pacifiers would have reduced my constant worry over where they were.
These are a lighter green color, which is better than clear ones in my opinion — it’s too easy to overlook clear pacifiers. They tend to blend into their surroundings.
- These are only one piece pacifiers.
- They are made out of hospital grade silicone.
- They can be used with pacifier clips.
- The base is easily wide enough so your baby won’t suck the whole pacifier in her mouth and choke.
- Moms have had problems with their babies’ fingers getting stuck in the holes on these.
- These are a very rigid pacifier — some babies won’t like that.
5. WubbaNub Brown Puppy Pacifier
Best for Cleft Palate
Babies who have cleft palate have trouble forming the suction that’s needed to keep a pacifier in their mouths. If you want your baby to have a pacifier, you might have to hold it in place for her. You’ll probably be most successful with a soft, silicone pacifier.
The nipple on the WubaaNub is made of soft medical-grade silicone. And to top it all off, there’s a stuffed animal attached at the other end. So your baby is essentially getting a pacifier and a toy all at once.
The weight of the stuffed animal may help keep the pacifier in place for a baby who struggles to keep suction going. At the very least, the stuffed animal will be more comfortable for you to hold in place than the tiny end of a pacifier will be.
- Easy for your baby to grab.
- They have no latex, BPA, PVC or phthalates.
- Because of the attached animal, it’s much more difficult to lose.
- It’s more expensive than traditional brands.
- This will be harder to use for babies who squirm around a lot.
6. Bibs Natural Rubber Pacifier
Best Classic Pacifier
Combining a classic design with modern features, this pacifier set makes a perfect baby shower gift and will be adored by babies and moms alike.
They’re made from natural rubber, which is soft and pliable to help mimic the feel of your breast. The rounded tip of the nipple has also been designed to feel as natural as yours as possible. Babies can instinctively suck, allowing them to self-soothe more readily.
Natural rubber is also free from toxic chemicals you definitely don’t want in your baby’s mouth, such as BPA, PVC, and phthalates.
WIth many pacifiers, saliva can become trapped underneath the shield. Rashes and bacteria love this type of environment, leading to major skin irritation. These pacifiers have three open holes around the shield, allowing air to flow freely to prevent this problem.
The beautiful blue, mint, and beige color schemes will also put a smile on any mom’s face.
- Stylish, classic design loved by moms.
- Natural rubber mimics the feel of the breast.
- Air holes prevent skin irritation.
- The nipple may be too long for small babies.
7. Natursutten Natural Rubber Pacifier
Best One-Piece Pacifier
Little hands can cause big breaks. Prevent your baby from breaking their pacifier while simultaneously giving them more control over it with this special one-piece design. Unique and hygienic, it’ll change the way you see pacifiers.
Unlike normal pacifiers, which often have an attached handle or shield, this one is a single piece of all-natural rubber. A single rod connects directly to the shield which blends perfectly into the rounded nipple. With no joints or cracks, dirt and bacteria can’t get trapped and accumulate.
Your child will also have an easier time grasping on it so they can hold it in their mouth or remove it when they don’t want it. While moms may not always appreciate this independence, your baby sure will.
The super soft and supple shield is designed to touch your baby’s nose to mimic the feel of your breast. This not only helps to prevent nipple confusion for breastfeeding babies but also comforts and self-soothes.
- Unique, one-piece design offers multiple benefits.
- Made of all-natural rubber that’s soft and supple.
- Simulates the feel of your breast.
- The all-rubber design can emit a strong scent when it becomes hot in the sun.
8. MAM Clear Orthodontic Pacifier
Best Orthodontic Pacifier
Orthodontic pacifiers can give peace of mind to moms who are worried about future dental issues. If you plan to use a pacifier right up until your child turns 2, you should go with orthodontic pacifiers. That will help your baby’s developing mouth avoid as many dental problems as possible.
The orthodontic nipple this pacifier uses will protect your baby’s teeth and jaw while they are still developing.
It uses a silicone nipple that feels more like the real thing. The shield has a textured surface and several holes which help the air circulate and reach your baby’s nose. It can also stop your baby from getting a sweaty face when using the pacifier in the summer.
These pacifiers also have a knob on the back which makes them easier to grab. Children ages newborn to 6 months can use these pacifiers, which come in a set of two.
- Can be used with a pacifier clip.
- Comes with a sterilizing case.
- Won’t make any marks on your baby’s face when he’s sucking on it.
- Some of the holes in the pacifier are big enough for your baby to get a finger caught.
- These shields might be a little too big for smaller newborns.
9. Philips Avent Orthodontic Pacifier
Best Pacifier for Lip Tie
This set has two pacifiers that have a bigger-sized nipple that babies with lip tie will be able to hang on to. The silicone nipple is BPA free. When it comes time to cleaning the pacifier, you can pop it in the dishwasher which is a nice time saver for busy moms who want to make sure the pacifiers are being thoroughly cleaned.
These even come with a cap that you can snap on to keep them clean between uses.
Because these don’t have a taste or smell to them, they even work well for babies who are breastfeeding.
- These are affordable.
- They have a ring handle which will be easier for older babies to grab.
- There are air vents in the shield.
- Some moms have complained about problems with mildew with these pacifiers.
- These nipples are harder.
10. Playtex Binky Silicone Pacifier
Best for a Fussy Baby
When you have a fussy baby on your hands, you need to find a pacifier that she really likes because fussy babies can get irritated by almost anything — even their pacifiers. You may need to work to find ones she won’t spit out, but don’t give up. You’ll find something that works for her.
Some babies fuss a lot more than others and that can continue from the time they’re born to when they reach the Terrible Twos.
This pacifier will sit in a baby’s mouth well, especially those who are breastfed, because they are shaped like a mom’s nipple is. It’s shorter and stubbier than those long bulbous nipples on other pacifiers. This works well for babies who seem to gag on those bigger nipples. It’s especially effective for newborns who tend to be fussier than older children.
It has vents in the shield that help protect a baby’s skin from constant irritation. These pacifiers come in a two-pack.
- Easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
- BPA free.
- Won’t gag infants and smaller babies.
- Pricier than some other pacifiers.
- Babies who are used to pacifiers with big nipples may not like these.
11. Philips Respironics Wee Thumbie
Best for Preemies
Everything about a preemie is small, even her mouth. So you need a small pacifier that will work well with the smallest of babies. You’ll want a short nipple that won’t gag your baby when she’s trying to suck. It won’t take a very big nipple for that to happen.
This tiny pacifier is made for babies who are less than 30 weeks old, according to their gestational age.
These pacifiers were specially designed to comfort and soothe the smallest of babies. The pacifier was designed to be the size and shape of a preemie’s thumb.
For your baby’s safety and to ensure good hygiene, the company recommends that you replace this pacifier every four weeks. If your baby is an older preemie, that won’t mean many replacements. But if you have a younger preemie, you could be replacing this three times.
- It will fit tiny preemie mouths.
- It’s BPA free.
- It helps babies learn sucking motions that are usually learned before they are born.
- You have to boil it for five minutes before the first use.
- It needs to be replaced often.
- It’s fairly expensive.
When Should I Introduce a Pacifier?
Your baby shouldn’t have a pacifier right from birth. It can cause problems if you introduce it too soon. Because breastfeeding and pacifiers use different sucking motions, implementing one too soon may cause confusion and issues with learning a proper latch for breastfeeding (1).
Try introducing a pacifier around the one-month mark, provided your baby is gaining weight and appears to be doing well with breastfeeding. If your baby is still having issues with breastfeeding at this age, hold off on introducing the pacifier, as at this point, they might have latch confusion.
Advantages of Using Pacifiers
One of the biggest advantages of using pacifiers is that they could potentially save your child’s life.
Studies have shown that babies who use pacifiers while they are sleeping are less likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), with some studies saying the risk is possibly decreased by up to 90 percent (2).
Other advantages of pacifiers include:
- To soothe and distract during vaccinations: Vaccinations are hard on your baby. There’s that instantaneous pain they feel and then there is that discomfort they go through in the first day or two after vaccinations. Pacifiers can help with that.
- It could help your baby fall asleep: If you have a baby who fights sleep, pacifiers are a good way to help fall asleep while cutting back on their crying. It helps them self soothe, especially breastfed babies who get a lot of comfort from their mother’s breast.
- They’re good for flights: Pacifiers are perfect for helping babies feel more comfortable during the flight. The sucking motion may help their ears pop, which can reduce crying.
Disadvantages of Using Pacifiers
If your baby continues to use the pacifier past her second birthday, there may be dental implications. They may develop what is known as pacifier teeth, which are tooth and dental complications caused by using a pacifier for too long.
To cut back on the risk of future dental problems, make sure you’ve broken your baby off her pacifier habit by the time she is 2 years old (3).
There are other disadvantages too:
- They can be filthy: Babies are constantly dropping pacifiers and often they do it when they are away from home and there is no good way to clean them. I’ve seen parents put the pacifier in their own mouths as a way to clean them. But if you are sick, especially with things like strep or mono, you shouldn’t do that — you risk introducing your baby to bacteria from your mouth (4).
- Weaning your baby off of them can be hard: It can take months just to break the habit. That’s rough on babies and on parents who have come to rely on the pacifier as their top way to soothe their baby.
- Heavy use might lead to a bigger risk of ear infections: Some studies have linked pacifiers to ear infections — a common problem in babies. But if you want to reduce your baby’s chance of ear infections, you can just limit their use to times when they are trying to get sleep and then remove them once they are fully asleep (5).
When Should a Pacifier Be Replaced?
Pacifiers can wear out with use and pose as a safety risk, especially if your baby begins chewing on them instead of just sucking on them.
Here are some common signs that you need to throw out your baby’s pacifier and get a new one:
- If the nipple is beginning to tear.
- If any part of the pacifier is broken off or seems to be loose.
- Its nipple is sticky.
- If the pacifier is discolored.
How Many Pacifiers Do I Need?
Pacifiers are incredibly hard to keep track of. They are so little that it’s easy to lose them. You’ll want more than one, especially if your baby becomes dependent on them. If you only have one and you lose it, you’ll have a cranky baby on your hands until you can replace it.
I would recommend having a minimum of three or four pacifiers. And if your baby has a style that she prefers, you should have multiples of that particular style too. If she’s used to one kind and you lose it, she might not be happy with the replacements you have if they don’t feel the same.
You’ll need to keep one or two pacifiers in your diaper bag and have two at home. They are cheap enough that it won’t hurt your budget if you buy some extras. You would be better off having too many than not enough.
I have always provided plenty in the crib because it makes it easier for your older baby to find one at night and go back to sleep!
Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC
Our top pick for the best pacifier is the First Years GumDrop. They can be bought in a 5-pack at a reasonable price, and that will give you spares if you lose some or if some wear out.
The bright colors are easier to spot than the clear ones are when you’re on a pacifier hunt in your house. Since they are made out of silicone, you won’t have to worry about latex allergies.
And with their one-piece design, there aren’t any spare pieces that can break off and become choking hazards.
When looking for the best pacifier for your cute little bundle of joy, don’t be disturbed if they don’t like the first couple of brands you try. Babies can be surprisingly picky about their pacifiers. Keep looking and you’ll be able to find one that they love.