Before my son was born, I was one of those people who said I would never give my baby a pacifier. I mean, do babies really need a pacifier? I had heard they were hard to get rid of as your child gets older and figured the easier option would just be never to offer one. Simple! Then I had a baby. A baby that cried ALL. THE. TIME. You really only need to listen to the sound of a newborn crying inconsolably for a couple of short minutes before you realize you will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to stop the crying and comfort that baby. And as a breastfeeding mother, I also quickly realized that I was being used as a dummy for comfort anyway, so why not try offering a pacifier and save my already sore nipples from unnecessary pain?
As a health and hygiene note, babies younger than 6 months old should only use pacifiers that have been properly sterilized. After this age, you can offer pacifiers that have been thoroughly washed with hot soapy water, but not actually sterilized, as babies generally have stronger immune systems by this point. Also, always check to see if the pacifier has any damage before offering it to your baby, and if it has, it’s time for it to be replaced.
Like so many parents, we bought and tried so many different pacifiers to find one that we were completely happy with and that our baby actually liked. So what is the best pacifier for newborns? And for breastfeeding mothers out there, what is the best pacifier for breastfed babies? I’ve put together a review of five different pacifiers and want to share with you specifically why our favorite is the Nookums Pacifier and Paci-Plushie“>Nookums Pacifier and Paci-Plushie.
This pacifier comes with a cute little Plushie Toy animal that attaches to the outside of the pacifier and can be removed for easy cleaning as needed. As they get older, it is so simple for your little one to learn how to put their pacifier back in all by themselves, though it doesn’t fall out all that often because the plushie does help to hold it in their mouth. I love the simple, silicone nipple that is completely safe for your baby and their natural oral development. I also love that your child will probably grow an attachment to the Nookums Plushie as a comforter, which means that when it comes time to take pacifiers out of the equation, your child can still keep their Plushie with them as a positive sleep association for as long as needed.
Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier 0 – 3 months
Made from BPA and latex free hospital grade silicone, this pacifier is an easy to clean, smooth one piece design with a simple unpatterned look. The silicone is odor and tasteless and designed to maintain its shape and color throughout use.
This pacifier comes with a snap on plastic cover to give protection when not in use and both the cover and pacifier itself are dishwasher safe. The shape of the nipple is approved by orthodontists and does not inhibit natural growth and development of your baby. The Philips Avent Soothie is often what is given to babies when in hospital and this particular model is designed for use up until baby is 3 months old.
Ryan and Rose Cutie PAT Pacifier Stage 1
This pacifier is made from nontoxic BPA, PVC, Latex and Phthalate free silicone and has a simple, seamless, solid look. The Stage 1 PAT is for babies without teeth, though the bumpy silicone handle is useful for teething babies to chew on and rub against their gums. They come in neutral unpatterned colors. The nipple is soft and round and can actually be popped in while your baby used the handle as a teether.
The handle is also quite easy for the baby to hold onto and practice putting into their own mouth. Unfortunately, the silicone does get a lot of dust and hair stuck to it very easily and therefore needs to be cleaned regularly. This pacifier is dishwasher safe.
Nookums Pacifier and Paci-Plushie 0-6 months
Our favourite Pacifier! This Pacifier is known for the detachable plushie toy that joins to the pacifier handle making it easy for your baby to replace their pacifier if it falls out themselves. It also allows your baby to practice their fine motor skills in picking up and putting their pacifier back in using the Nookums plushie.
The plushie toy actually fits a range of different pacifiers. It is another pacifier made from BPA, latex and phthalate-free silicone and is also dishwasher safe for cleaning. The plushies are 100% polyester and can be machine washed. If your baby sleeps with their pacifier than the plushie can also serve as a comforter for them.
BIBS BPA-Free Natural Rubber Baby Pacifier
This pacifier, designed and made in Denmark, has a very simple, classic design with a hinged handle the folds flat against the pacifier when needed. The nipple is made from BPA, PVC and phthalates-free natural rubber. It comes in a range of neutral, matte vintage inspired colors. The shape of the nipple and guard are specifically designed to mimic the shape of the mother’s breast, making the pacifier even more of a comfort to baby and reducing the chance of nipple confusion or breast refusal.
The nipple and guard are separate pieces stuck together so sometime water can seep inside and get stuck inside the nipple, which is a hygiene concern. These are a more expensive option but when I tried these with my son, I actually noticed the nipple does have a noticeable rubber taste which seemed to put him off. Perhaps your baby won’t mind this!
MAM Glow in the Dark Pacifiers, Baby Pacifier 0-6 Months
This pacifier is known specifically for its special glow in the dark feature that means it is easily found during naps and night time, however it is quite a low and subtle glow that fades by the early hours of the morning as they require exposure to light to ‘charge’. It is suitable for babies from 0 to 6 months of age and comes with a plastic case that keeps the pacifier clean when not in use and can also be used to sterilize it in the microwave.
The nipple is symmetrical meaning that you (or your baby) cannot insert the pacifier the wrong way. It is made from a soft BPA, BPS and lead-free silicone that mimics the feel of skin and is also odorless and tasteless. The shield around the nipple is slightly curved, to fit comfortable over your baby’s face and it is approved by orthodontists and promotes natural oral development. There are a range of soft pastel colors available.
Something to be wary of is that this pacifier is made from several pieces put together and so there is a risk these will come apart or water or saliva could get inside the nipple which could then breed bacteria.
Why Do Pacifiers Soothe Babies?
Babies are almost always comforted by the sensation of sucking something in their mouths. Pacifiers can become a comfort object for your baby into their childhood years; something that they associate with calming down and managing their stress. That said, there are absolutely babies out there that just don’t like the pacifier.
Doesn’t matter what shape, size or material you try – the baby just flat refuses every pacifier you can find! If this is the case for your little one, don’t stress, it just wasn’t meant to be! It’s possible your baby will find something else that is soothing for them instead like a blankie or comforter.
When Should You Give A Newborn Baby A Pacifier?
Bottle-fed babies can be offered a pacifier from birth. Premature babies are often given a pacifier while in hospital to help them learn how to suck, especially when they can’t spend all of their time with their mother or learning to breastfeed. If you are breastfeeding your baby, it is a good idea to wait a few weeks before offering a pacifier, until your milk supply is well established, and you and your baby are confident with breastfeeding.
Before offering your baby a pacifier to try, make sure they are fed, dry and warm enough so that you know you have met those primary needs first. Trust your mother instinct as to when you should introduce a pacifier, or if you even need to at all.
As your baby grows, you may consider limiting pacifier use to only at bedtime, only in the car, or only in an emergency when the baby is really struggling to settle. You will know what system will work best for your family and when you are both ready to start weaning the use of a pacifier altogether.
Can Newborns Fall Asleep with A Pacifier?
Yes, it is safe for your baby to fall asleep with a pacifier. Many sleep consultants and health professionals tend to encourage parents to get rid of the pacifier once your child starts waking up and becoming upset every time it falls out of their mouth. At this point, the general consensus is that the pacifier has now become a negative sleep association that will disrupt everyone’s sleep more than it will help.
Are Pacifiers Good for Breastfed Babies?
As mentioned above, lactation consultants will often encourage breastfeeding mothers to try and avoid using a pacifier until their newborn baby is 4 weeks of age, to avoid nipple confusion. The concern is that sucking a pacifier requires a different muscle movement to breastfeeding and in the early days of establishing the mother’s milk supply and the baby learning to latch correctly, a pacifier could be a distraction as well as hinder the mother from learning her baby’s hunger cues.
In extreme cases, the worst-case scenario would be that the baby actually refuses to drink from the breast as they prefer to suck on a pacifier and therefore perhaps also the teat of a bottle. That said, once a good feeding relationship has been established, it is probably fine to introduce a pacifier if you know your baby isn’t hungry but still seems very unsettled between feeds and looking to suck for comfort.
As in my case, this can give an exhausted mother’s nipples a well-deserved break and be a great tool to use to help calm the baby and help them sleep in a variety of settings (including settings where the breast may not readily be available) – at home, in the pram, in the car, at a friend’s house. Keep in mind it is normal for a breastfed baby to want to breastfeed for more than just the milk – they may simply be lonely, bored, tired or just want some snuggles and if breastfeeding for comfort isn’t a problem for the mother, then it’s not a problem.
Can Babies Choke on Pacifiers?
Well-designed, good quality pacifiers should be made to ensure they provide no choking hazards for babies. However, if the pacifier becomes damaged or worn out, smaller pieces could break off and pose a choking risk so please always check your baby’s pacifiers regularly and replace them if there is any damage at all.
There is nothing quite like the sound of a crying newborn baby to really get a parent’s heart racing to want to rush and comfort that little person. I still get a little bit twitchy when I hear a new baby crying in the supermarket! There is no denying that pacifiers have helped so many parents soothe and calm down a crying baby, whether breast or bottle-fed.
Many mothers and fathers would argue a pacifier (or three, or four, or five!) is ESSENTIAL even packed in the hospital bag. Bearing in mind the reviews and information we have shared with you, we think the best pacifier is the Nookums Pacifier and Paci-Plushie“>Nookums Pacifier and Paci-Plushie 0-6 months and trust that you and your baby will love it!