Baby pacifiers, also called soothers or dummies, have several benefits that extend beyond pacification of a crying infant. Perhaps that’s why several pediatric experts recommend it. But what makes a good pacifier? How do you pick the right type of pacifier for your baby? In this article, MomJunction addresses these questions and acquaints you with 15 best baby pacifiers you might want to choose from for your little one.
When To Give A Baby A Pacifier?
The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends offering a pacifier to babies when they are at least one-month old. That is the age when breastfeeding gets established and the baby will not confuse a pacifier to a breast nipple and vice-versa
What Are The Types Of Pacifier?
The following are the common types of pacifiers available in the market:
- One-piece pacifiers: These pacifiers are molded from a single piece of plastic, and do not have multiple parts attached to one another. This pacifier minimizes the risk of choking and is most recommended by pediatric experts.
- Three-piece pacifier: These pacifiers have three components viz. the nipple, mouth guard, and ring. These are attached tightly to complete the pacifier.
- Glow-in-dark pacifier: It has a glowing mouth guard that is easy to spot in the dark. These pacifiers are best for night time usage.
- Feeder pacifier: The nipple of the pacifier is hollow and perforated. You can place fruit or a thick puree in the hollow, for the baby to eat slowly. These pacifiers are ideal for babies older than 12 months.
- Fancy pacifier, pacifier with a toy: These pacifiers may have decorative designs on them or come attached with a small toy to keep the baby engrossed. If you are looking for unique pacifier options, consider these.
How To Choose The Best Pacifier?
Remember the following points when buying a pacifier for your infant or toddler:
- Select pacifiers with minimal components: Choose a pacifier with few parts or joints since they are easy to clean and also reduce the risk of choking. Overly complicated pacifiers may be fragile and have crevices, where saliva is deposited and bacteria thrive.
- Stay away from flavored ones: Avoid flavored pacifiers that can contain artificial, chemical-based flavoring agents and fragrances that can be harmful to the baby.
- Select one appropriate for the baby’s age: Pacifiers come in different sizes, designed for babies of different age-groups. Picking the right-sized pacifier will minimize the risk of choking while serving the intended purpose.
TOP 15 Best Pacifiers For Babies
We have categorized the pacifiers as per the infant’s age group.
Best pacifiers for 0-3 months
These are the best pacifiers for newborn babies up to the age of three months. The nipple is specifically designed to fit into the tiny mouth of the young infant.
1. Nuk Newborn Pacifier
- One-piece design and made from 100% sterile silicone that is soft on the baby’s palate.
- The orthodontic shape of nipple ensures healthy oral development and also prevents discomfort during long-term use.
- Has a heart-shaped shield that prevents the nipple from sliding deep into the baby’s mouth.
- The bottom side of the nipple has a scoop to leave space for the baby’s tongue.
- The integrated ring makes it safe and gentle to pull the pacifier out of the baby’s mouth.
- Free of fragrances and BPA-free.
2. Mam Newborn Start Orthodontic Pacifier
- Lightweight, silicone-based construction that is comfortable for newborns.
- Comes as a pair, in a microwave-safe sterilization box. Put the pacifiers in the box, fill it with water and put it in the microwave oven to sterilize it.
- The curved shield snugly fits around the baby’s mouth and makes it convenient to use for a longer duration.
- Large holes in the shield help circulate air so that the pacifier does not restrict the baby’s breathing.
- Manufactured after research inputs by pediatric experts. Free of BPA, phthalates, and other harmful chemicals.
3. Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier
- One-piece design; made of medical-grade silicone.
- Used and recommended by medical professionals, it is the most popular pacifier found in children’s hospitals across the US.
- Designed specifically for newborns. Orthodontic design that facilitates healthy oral development.
- Dishwasher-safe and sterilizable in water.
- Durable and long-lasting. Free of BPA, latex, fragrance, and other harmful chemicals.
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Best pacifiers for 3-6 months
Pacifiers ideal for babies growing to reach the sixth-month milestone of their life.
4. The First Years GumDrop Orthodontic Pacifier
- Nipple designed to comfortably fit in the mouth of an infant aged three to six months.
- Made from latex-free, durable silicone that does not crack or break even after repeated usage. Comes in a pack of two.
- Holes in the nipple shield facilitate airflow to the baby’s nose.
- Shield guard is also designed in a way that it does not poke the little one’s nose.
- Free of odor, BPA-free, and does not contain any other harmful chemicals.
5. Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Moda Pacifier
- A bright, attractive color scheme will certainly grab the attention of the infant.
- Pacifier’s orthodontic nipple comes with two differently-shaped ends. You can choose what works best for baby.
- Large shield guard, with two big holes, ensures maximum air circulation while also keeping the pacifier securely in the mouth.
- An ideal pacifier for tongue-tied babies – babies with ankyloglossia, a condition where the tongue stays attached to the lower palate.
- Free of BPA, harmful chemicals, and fragrance.
6. Dr. Brown Silicone Pacifier
- Nipple shaped like a bottle nipple to make pacifier adoption faster and to prevent confusion in the infant.
- Curved shield lets the baby breathe freely.
- Made from 100% medical-grade silicone. Dishwasher-safe.
- Simple, one-piece design that is easy to clean.
- Comes in a pack of two so that there is a spare pacifier when you need it.
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Best pacifiers for 6-12 months
Six-12 months is the age when your baby starts eating solids, which means you can introduce some interesting pacifiers to your little one. Here are the best pacifiers for babies in that age group.
7. Ashtonbee Baby Fruit Feeder Pacifier
- An easy-to-use baby food strainer and pacifier.
- The nipple has a lid, where you can put foods like fruits and purees. A sieve in the nipple allows small bits of food to trickle into the baby’s mouth, which makes introducing solid food easier and safer.
- The nipple is soft and squishy, which means it also relieves teething irritation.
- A stain-resistant build material, which means it will not catch the color of the food you feed.
- Free of harsh chemicals like BPA, latex, phthalates, and lead.
8. Philips Night Time Pacifier
- Ideal night-time pacifier made from the BPA-free material. Features an orthodontic nipple.
- Pacifier handle glows in the dark, which makes it easy for the parent to spot it during night time.
- Robust silicone nipple does not lose its shape even when the baby chews it while teething.
- Dishwasher-safe and can be sterilized in boiling water. Comes with a nipple cap to keep it clean.
- Odour-free materials. Comes in a pack of two.
9. Chill Baby Mustache Pacifier
- Adorably quirky design for some lighthearted fun for the parents.
- Made of sturdy plastic materials that are free of BPA, PVC, added flavors or fragrances and other harmful chemicals.
- Nipple made from strong, baby-safe silicone.
- Mouth shield has two holes that let the passage of air preventing any obstruction of breathing.
- The attached ring allows parents to remove the pacifier from the baby’s mouth without damaging the plastic mustache.
Best pacifiers for 12-18 months
Even toddlers can be soothed with the help of a pacifier. Here are some pacifiers that are best for toddlers.
10. BabyHuggle Giraffe Pacifier
- A pacifier for toddlers with a soft plush toy attached to it. The toy is lightweight and can be detached from the pacifier.
- One-piece construction pacifier with an orthodontic nipple.
- Scooped nipple cavity leaves adequate space for tongue movement and makes longer duration usage convenient for the toddler.
- No taste or odor. Made from medical-grade silicone, and free of chemicals like BPA, phthalates, and lead.
- Soft toy is washable. Contains a clip that you can attach to baby’s crib.
11. Chicco NaturalFit Pacifier
- Made from single piece of silicone that renders a safe, one-piece design.
- Ridges and grooves on the nipple prevent slippage from the toddler’s mouth.
- The nipple flexes a bit, which ensures a perfect fit when the toddler moves his mouth.
- The narrow base of nipple facilitates proper closure of the mouth.
- Pack of two that comes in a sterilization case. Place the pacifiers in the case, add water, and heat in a microwave oven for sterilization.
- Horizontal pacifier ring does not fall on the toddler’s face even when he is lying down. It also makes gentle pulling out the pacifier easy when the toddler sleeps.
12. Philips Avent Free Freeflow Pacifier
- Orthodontic nipple pacifier with a shield guard containing six holes that ensure optimum flow of air to the baby’s nose.
- Dishwasher-safe and can be sterilized. Features a nipple cap that lets you keep the nipple clean.
- Symmetrical nipple design lets you place the pacifier in the toddler’s mouth from any direction.
- A secure ring handle allows older toddlers to remove the pacifiers from their mouth themselves.
- BPA-free, no harmful chemicals, and free of odor.
Best pacifiers for 18+ months
Even older toddlers need some comfort and pacification. Here are some pacifiers that work well for toddlers older than 18 months (1.5 years).
13. Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Pacifier
- Larger orthodontic nipple to suit older toddlers.
- Symmetrical nipple design ensures that the pacifier can be inserted from any direction.
- The handle of the nipple glows in the dark, which makes it an ideal pacifier to use during night time.
- Six holes in the shield guard make sure that the toddler gets an adequate flow of air to the nose during sleep.
- Does not contain harmful compounds like BPA and lead colors.
14. Nuk Natural Shape Orthodontic Pacifier
- Soft silicone orthodontic nipple with a scooped out surface at the bottom that provides adequate room for the tongue.
- Nipple does not interfere with teeth development in a growing toddler.
- Pacifier shield is cut in a way to prevent it from hitting the nose. Two large holes allow adequate flow of air.
- The concave shape of the shield offers a perfect fit.
- Available in an assortment of colors that can be enticing for the little one.
15. Mam Animal Orthodontic Pacifier
- Simple and easy-to-use design that contains a nipple, a shield, and a handle to remove the pacifier from the toddler’s mouth.
- Soft silicone nipple with a smooth texture that is gentle on the toddler’s palate.
- Multiple small holes in the shield of the pacifier allow optimal air circulation.
- Odor-free and robust materials used in construction. BPA-free and free of other harmful chemicals.
- Comes as a pair, in a sterilization box that is microwave-safe.
Pacifiers are an excellent parenting tool to calm a cranky and colic baby. However, you have to keep in mind some essential points about their usage.
Seven Tips On Baby Pacifier Usage
When using a pacifier for a baby or toddler, do remember the following points:
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- A pacifier is a tool, not a toy: Most pacifiers are designed to withstand rough handling but the primary purpose of a pacifier is to soothe and calm the infant, not to aggravate him. Avoid using it as a toy to prevent causing irreversible damage and affecting its use as a soother.
- Check periodically for damage: Check for signs of damage or corrosion on the pacifier, as a broken pacifier could become a safety hazard. Gently tug the nipple to see if it is broken or chipped. In case of two-piece pacifiers, check for loose attachments and the presence of mold at the joints and inside the crevices.
- Do not dip the pacifier in sugar syrup or honey: The American Dental Association states that dipping a pacifier in sugar syrup or honey can negatively affect teeth and gum development of infants (2). Giving honey to a baby less than 12 months old can also lead to a life-threatening ailment called infant botulism (3).
- Note the expiry date: Pacifiers come with an expiry date, and it is essential to take a note of it. Check for the expiry date when purchasing pacifier and ensure that your baby does not use it beyond the expiry date.
- Replace every two months: Pacifiers should be replaced every two months (4), before they are damaged and become unhygienic for use by the baby.
- Do not use bottle nipples as pacifiers: Bottle nipples may look like pacifiers, but they are not an alternative to pacifiers. A feeding bottle nipple is not designed to withstand prolonged insertion in the baby’s mouth and can rupture. Therefore, never use a bottle nipple as a pacifier. Leaving the baby with a formula bottle in the mouth for pacification is also not advisable since it can cause dental caries (5).
- Do not tie pacifier around baby’s neck: A string around the neck can be a strangulation hazard to the baby.
In addition to these tips, remember to always clean the pacifier before use. Keeping the pacifier clean is essential to prevent transmission of germs.
How To Keep Pacifiers Clean?
Here is how to do it:
- Wash the pacifier thoroughly with soap and water.
- Pour fresh water into a cooking pot, deep enough to completely submerge the pacifier. Bring the water to boil on a stove.
- Once the water starts boiling, turn the flame to medium. Use a tong to submerge the pacifier entirely into the water and boil it for five minutes. Make sure you immerse the pacifier completely, including the holder ring.
- Remove the pacifier and let the excess water drip. Place the pacifier on a clean and sterile towel or tissue paper to let it dry before use.
You can also sterilize the pacifier in the microwave-safe sterilization box that comes with it. Place the pacifier in the box, fill it with water and put it in the microwave for two minutes, or until the water boils. For precise instructions, refer to the manufacturer’s instruction manual.
Sterilize the pacifier once every two days if your baby uses it often. Pediatric experts state that boiling is necessary to sterilize a pacifier used by infants below the age of six months (6). If the baby is over a year old, you can sterilize the pacifier using disinfectant soap and water or in a dishwasher. Boiling once in a week is still advisable for maintaining hygiene. Never use alcohol-based hand sanitizers to clean pacifiers.
Once you have identified the right type of pacifier for your baby, choose at least two to three options and let the baby pick one he likes. Babies and toddlers can be picky so it is always good to get about three pacifier options that you feel would work best. Once the baby loves a pacifier, he will immediately learn to self-soothe with it, giving you the much-needed relief!