Best Pacifier For Breastfed Babies, Toddlers & More (2017 Reviews & Buyer's Guide)
Last Updated September 3, 2017
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 may want to consider buying a pacifier for your baby. Pacifiers can do wonders when it comes to keeping your baby content -- sucking on them can instantly calm down a fussy baby.
Quick Picks: Our 5 Best Pacifiers In 2017
- For Breastfed Babies: First Years GumDrop
- For Colic: NUK Newborn
- For Teeth: MAM Clear Orthodontic
- For Toddlers: BabyStache Pacifier
- For Cleft Palate: WubbaNub Brown Puppy
*All links above will take you to the latest prices on Amazon.com or you can read our in-depth pacifier reviews below.
What Is a Pacifier and How Is It Used?
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.
How Do I Know If My Baby Wants 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 suck your breast without any intent of drawing out milk, your baby might want a pacifier.
He might also want a pacifier if you see him sucking on his fingers or on toys.
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 a pacifier too soon may cause issues with learning a proper latch for breastfeeding (source).
If you want your baby to have a pacifier, try introducing it 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. If you give her a pacifier at this point, your baby might become a lazy sucker.
What are the Advantages To Using a Pacifier?
One of the biggest advantages to 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 (source).
Why pacifiers seem to protect from SIDS isn’t clear. And frankly, as a new mom, I didn’t need to know why -- the fact that it did appear to work was good enough for me. I started using a pacifier for my daughter as soon as she was born.
Breastfeeding her wasn’t smooth sailing and that may have been one of the reasons why, but I was willing to screw up the breastfeeding process in order to gain protection from SIDS.
Like many women, the idea of losing my baby was my worst nightmare. I can’t even begin to count how many times I slept right next to my baby’s crib just so I could make sure she was still breathing throughout the night. It was uncomfortable, but I was so worried about SIDS that I would have gladly slept on a bed of nails if it meant I could keep a close watch on her.
But there are other advantages to using pacifiers as well. These advantages 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.
They’re good for flights: If you fly with a baby, pacifiers are good for helping her feel more comfortable during the flight. Opening her mouth to put the pacifier in and the sucking motion may help her ears pop. That will lead to greater comfort for her.
What Are the Disadvantages of Using a Pacifier?
If your baby continues to use the pacifier past her second birthday, there may be dental implications.
Your baby 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 of her pacifier habit by the time she is 2 years old (source).
There are other disadvantages of using a pacifier are:
They can be filthy: Babies are constantly dropping pacifiers and oftentimes they do it when they are away from home and there is no good way to clean them. I’ve seen parents put the pacifiers 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 (source).
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 pacifier use to times when your baby is trying to get sleep and then remove them once they are fully asleep (source).
When Should a Pacifier Be Replaced?
Pacifiers can wear out with use, 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 to Find the Pacifier That’s Right for Your Baby
All pacifiers aren’t the same -- they vary in size, nipple materials and style. Here are the factors you’ll need to consider while selecting them for your baby.
Size: You’ll want to find a pacifier size that is appropriate for your baby. 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.
What the nipple is made out of: Nipples are usually made out of silicone or latex. Latex is usually softer, but some babies may have latex allergies, so you’ll have 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 an important part of a pacifier. It is what stops your baby from sucking the pacifier fully into his 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.
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 pacifiers 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.
The 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.
These pacifiers 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 about 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 pacifier 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.
The Best Pacifier 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 naturally fit into a baby’s palate. 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.
For people who like to support the U.S. economy, you’ll be pleased to know this pacifier is made in the U.S. It’s 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.
The Best Pacifier for Newborns and Infants
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 good 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 newborns.
- 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.
The 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 definitely 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 button 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.
The Best Pacifier for Toddlers
Toddlers need a bigger pacifier than newborns do because the smaller ones present a choking hazard for them. But toddlers are also big enough that you don’t always have to stick to the same old pacifiers you always see. Their sense of humor is beginning to emerge at this age so you can give her something fun to laugh at.
This pacifier is sure to draw some looks and laughs from strangers, family members and maybe even your own toddler. If she’s still too young to appreciate the humor of this moustache and kissy lips pacifier now, she’ll get a laugh out of it in the future when she sees it in pictures.
When you’re busy laughing over how silly your baby looks with this thing in her mouth, you can also smile knowing that this pacifier uses an orthodontic nipple that won’t mess up your baby’s mouth.
The nipple is made of silicone and the pacifiers are free of BPA, phthalate and PVC.
- These pacifiers are funny and make great baby shower gifts.
- The pacifier is dishwasher safe.
- They have air holes in them.
- A little more expensive than other pacifiers.
- The crevices make this one a little harder to clean thoroughly.
The Best Pacifier 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 this many 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.
The Best Pacifier 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 good 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.
- 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.
The Best Pacifier for Lip Tie
If your baby has lip tie, or the tongue tie that sometimes accompanies that condition, it can mean that they have difficulty breastfeeding. Their lips and tongue often can’t reach the position they need to in order to take enough breast tissue into the mouth to actually latch on successfully. So shorter nipples on pacifiers may be a challenge for babies with 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.
The Best Pacifier 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.
The Best Pacifier 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 this pacifier is made of soft medical-grade silicone. And to top it all off, there’s a stuffed animal attached at the other end of the pacifier. 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, you shouldn’t lose this pacifier.
- It’s more expensive than traditional pacifiers.
- This will be harder to use for babies who squirm around a lot.
My Favorite Pacifier Is...
I love the Philips Avent Soothie as do many other moms. You’ll get a lot of pacifiers for a good price when you buy these. That will give you spares if you lose some or if some wear out.
The light green color will be easier to spot than the clear ones are when you’re on a pacifier hunt in your house.
These pacifiers only have one piece so there aren’t any spare pieces that can break off and become choking hazards. Since these are made out of silicone, you won’t have to worry about latex allergies.
When looking for a pacifier for your baby, don’t be disturbed if he doesn’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 he loves.