Top Baby Pacifiers

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When a new baby is on the way, it seems as though pacifiers are a must-have if parents are going to be able to achieve some quiet every now and again. A baby’s natural affinity for sucking makes pacifiers a good choice for most, including my first and third child.

However, there are downsides to pacifiers including the fact that prolonged use can affect oral development and some babies just don’t take to them, like my daughter. This can make things difficult for parents at times and can lead to thumb sucking, which can be a bigger problem.

With so many different types of pacifiers on the market, you shouldn’t give up if your baby doesn’t take to it right away. In fact, you may find yourself going through several types before you find the one they like, and here you will find some of the best choices available.

When Should You Introduce a Pacifier?

During your baby’s first year, there isn’t really a time that is too late to introduce a pacifier. Some babies prefer the feel of a real nipple and won’t take to a pacifier until they start eating some solid foods.

On the other hand, there is a time that is too early to introduce a pacifier. Feeding routines – particularly if you are breastfeeding – should be well-established before introducing a pacifier. Pacifiers do not teach your baby to latch properly (nipple confusion) and may affect their weight gain or your milk supply if it is introduced too early.

You also want to wait to give your baby a pacifier until after they have eaten. This will ensure that your baby is satisfied, just sucking because they want to suck instead of expecting milk and not getting any. Giving a baby a pacifier when they are hungry will cause frustration and may affect proper weight gain.

Pros and Cons of Pacifier Use

There are two sides to everything, including pacifier use. While there are some good points, you do need to weigh the cons before deciding to give your baby a pacifier.

Pros:

  • It appeases your baby’s desire to suck. Rather than having your baby constantly at the breast when they aren’t feeding, a pacifier can keep them happy on its own.
  • It can possibly lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). While the pacifier itself may not be a means of prevention, there is a strong link between the two. It may be due to the fact that the pacifier keeps your baby’s airway open.
  • It is an easier habit to break than thumb sucking. After all, you can throw a pacifier away; you can’t do the same with your little one’s thumbs. My middle child – who didn’t like pacifiers – still sucks her thumb at 5 years old and will need braces in the near future.

Cons:

  • You may run into potential oral development issues. Improper sizing or prolonged use can lead to misalignment with teeth, small palatal arch, and the need for orthodontic intervention in the future.
  • Babies can become overly dependent. Even if you only use the pacifier for sleeping, as I do with my son, your baby may not be able to go without it and wake up crying if it falls out during the night.
  • Some evidence shows pacifier use may cause ear infections. This was the case with my son. He ended up with an ear infection when he was 4 months old. It cleared up on its own and it wasn’t clear that the pacifier caused it, but we changed to bedtime use only just in case.

When Should Babies Stop Using a Pacifier?

The right time to wean your baby may be different from someone else you know. Every child is different and the circumstances behind their pacifier use as well as their level of dependence will help you determine when is best to start weaning.

If your baby is prone to ear infections, weaning earlier is better than later in case the pacifier is part of the cause. Most doctors say between ages 6 to 12 months is best in these cases.

If your little one has no issues associated with pacifier use, you will want to try to stop by age 2 or 3 at the latest. Most babies are ready before this, but some have a harder time giving up the pacifier. Continuing its use beyond this age can lead to unwanted dental problems.

Why Do Babies Like Pacifiers?

All 3 of my children liked to suck, but only two wanted to take a pacifier. Some babies don’t like pacifiers and some just don’t need them. They are perfectly capable of self-soothing or they are easily calmed by rocking or singing.

Other babies prefer to have something to suck on in between feedings, which can be a lifesaver for you so your baby doesn’t hang off your breast all day!

Best Baby Pacifiers

1. Wee Thumbie

Though it is best to wait until feeding routines have been established before introducing a pacifier, this is not always so easy when it comes to preemies. Oftentimes, they aren’t able to breast or bottle feed right away due to their small size and underdeveloped reflexes. Doctors usually resort to feeding tubes instead.

In these cases, it can be difficult to find a good pacifier for these tiny babies that fit right and satisfy their natural desire to suck. Thankfully, the Wee Thumbie by Philips is a good solution.

It may be expensive, but it is overall highly rated and recommended by most preemie parents. The nipple is just the right size, mimicking the size and shape of a preemie baby’s thumb.

The shield shape is a bit unusual, but it fits just right over that tiny face and even has notches that allow it to be used with any sort of tubing or ventilation necessary.

Some parents claim they also use these for their normal-sized newborns, but these are intended specifically for babies who are less than 30 gestational weeks when they are born.

Pros:

  • Perfect for preemies
  • The nipple is the size and shape of preemie’s thumb
  • The notched area allows for use with tubing or ventilation
  • Fits preemie’s tiny face size

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Unusual shield shape
  • Still may be too long for some tiny babies

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2. Philips Avent Soothie

The Philips Avent Soothie – which also happens to be the same type of pacifier used with the Wubbanub – is one of the most commonly used by parents and doctors alike. In fact, they are typically distributed in hospitals nationwide.

Made with 100% hospital-grade silicone, you can rest assured knowing that your baby is safe from harmful chemicals and materials, including BPA and latex. This silicone is also highly durable, so they last a bit longer than the typical pacifier.

Its one-piece design is ideal for a few reasons. It is safer for babies since there are no small parts that can break and cause choking. It also makes these easier to sanitize without compromising quality or water getting into the nipple.

The biggest downside to these pacifiers is their age limits. There are only two sizes and they aren’t that different. It is actually recommended that you stop using these once your baby’s teeth erupt, which means you will need to discontinue pacifier use early or search for something else that your baby will like.

Pros:

  • Easy to sterilize
  • Hospital-grade silicone
  • Durable
  • BPA and latex-free

Cons:

  • Too stiff for some babies
  • Difficult to keep in the mouth

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3. MAM Clear Orthodontic

MAM pacifiers are some of the best on the market, and the 94% acceptance rate by babies proves it. They are not only good quality pacifiers but also recommended for breastfed babies.

The nipple is symmetrical, which means there is no need to worry about putting it in the wrong way. It is also made with soft, flexible silicone that feels good against your baby’s mouth and tongue.

One of the best things about this pacifier system is the case they come in. Not only will it hold a clean extra pacifier when you are on the go but it also makes sanitation easy. Just put two pacifiers in the case, fill with water to the indicated line, and microwave for 3 minutes. It’s that simple.

The strap system for these pacifiers is also a nice feature. With a unique button and loop clip system, the pacifier stays put better than some other standard, universal straps.

Pros:

  • Accepted by 94% of babies
  • Unique carrying case and microwave sanitizer
  • The strap keeps pacifier firmly attached
  • Symmetric shape

Cons:

  • Need to follow sanitation instructions carefully
  • No handle or ring attached
  • Water can get into nipples

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4. Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature

The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature pacifier is similar to the MAM in nipple and shield shape, but it does not have the same acceptance rate.

The nipple is symmetric which is good for proper insertion every time, but it is shaped like a bottle nipple rather than a breast nipple. This could be hit or miss with babies; it may be fine for bottle-fed babies, but breastfed babies may not like it so much.

Though Tommee Tippee has a few types of their Closer to Nature pacifiers, these, in particular, are great for nighttime use. The ring on the shield glows in the dark, so it is easy to find without turning on an overhead light and waking your baby more than necessary.

Pros:

  • Available in 3 sizes
  • Symmetrical, orthodontic nipple
  • BPA-free plastic
  • Glow in the dark handle

Cons:

  • Can’t choose the color/design you want when ordering online
  • Color wears off quickly
  • Nipple shape is hit or miss with breastfed babies

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5. MAM Sensitive Skin Orthodontic

Pretty much everything about the MAM Sensitive Skin pacifiers is the same as the MAM Clear. You still have the same nipple shape and feel as well as the carrying case and strap system.

The main difference here is in the shield. The Sensitive Skin shields have large openings that allow for better airflow. Most pacifier shields are solid, which means drool can get caught underneath causing a rash. The openings in these pacifiers help to prevent some of the irritation.

Pros:

  • Open shield to allow air flow
  • Prevents irritation and rash
  • Symmetric shape
  • Accepted by most babies

Cons:

  • No handle or ring attached
  • Need to follow sanitation instructions carefully
  • Water can get into nipples

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6. NUK Orthodontic

One of the biggest problems with pacifiers is the fact that babies spit them out all the time. This is mostly due to the tongue thrust reflex, which is necessary for proper breastfeeding.

The NUK Orthodontic pacifiers have kept this in mind in their pacifier nipple design, creating a scoop cavity on the underside that allows for more tongue movement to keep the pacifier in your baby’s mouth where it belongs.

Now, of course, this means that the nipple is asymmetric in shape and can be inserted upside down, so you have to pay close attention to make sure it is incorrectly to prevent developmental issues.

Another great thing about these pacifiers is their range in sizes. There are smaller steps between the sizes and the nipple bulb – which goes up to 36 months – helps to create light pressure on the palate to promote proper development.

Pros:

  • Scoop cavity allows tongue movement
  • Orthodontic shape for proper oral development
  • Comfortable for baby
  • Larger sizes for older babies/toddlers

Cons:

  • Water can get trapped inside
  • The asymmetric shape may result in an incorrect insertion
  • Clip rattles when moved

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Conclusion

While there is no one pacifier that is a fool-proof match for every baby in existence, I would have to say that the MAM series is a great place to start when trying pacifiers with your baby.

They are accepted by 94% of babies, which means there is a higher chance that you won’t have to try a bunch to find one that your baby likes. They are also easy to take with you and easy to sanitize in the included carrying case.

What are your thoughts on pacifiers? Did you find one worked better for your baby than another?

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