Buying Guide for Pacifiers
Why buy a pacifier?
It’s no secret that babies have an innate sucking reflex. But unless you want to be tasked with holding or feeding your baby at all times (which is not recommended), giving them a pacifier can help them learn to self-soothe. Likewise, there are instances such as when you’re taking flights, when a pacifier can help to combat painful pressure in their little ears.
What should you consider when shopping for baby pacifiers?
The right pacifier will come down to your kiddo and what they like best, so expect a bit of trial and error. However, when purchasing, consider these few key points:
- Size and Shape: Pacifiers are sized from newborn and up all the way to toddler. When it comes to the nipple shape, some will be rounder, others kind of flat. A good rule of thumb is to try to find one that matches the shape of the bottle nipples you use or that mimics mom. Make sure the shape is compatible with your little one, easily fitting under their nose for easy breathing.
- Safety: It’s important to look for pacifiers that are specifically labeled as orthodontically safe. While it might seem weird to worry about this when your baby has no teeth, the reality is that many allow their babies to continue using pacifiers long after they sprout teeth. An orthodontically approved pacifier is less likely to create dental issues further down the road.
- Extra Features: It is beneficial if the pacifier has vents that will keep it from sticking to your little one’s face and holding spit against their skin, which can lead to a rash. If you find yourself fumbling for a pacifier in the middle of the night, consider a glow-in-the-dark pacifier. Some models come attached to little stuffies so that they’re easier to keep track of and offer another means of comfort.
- Material: Pacifiers will be going into your little one’s mouth, so make sure there are no harsh chemicals like BPA or latex. Most pacifier nipples will be silicone, but you will occasionally find rubber or plastic nipples.
How do you sterilize a pacifier?
Pacifiers can be sterilized just like baby bottles. If you have a sterilizer, you can put the pacifiers in a sterilizer and set it for the appropriate time as outlined by the manufacturer. Alternatively, you can boil the pacifiers. Just be sure that they’ve safely cooled before giving one back to your baby, of course.
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Our Picks for the Best Baby Pacifiers
NUK Orthodontic Pacifier Value Pack
A trusted set of pacifiers that glow in the dark and allow for an easy latch.
Pros: Most parents are familiar with the brand NUK. They make some reliable baby products, including these pacifiers. They’re available in multiple cute colors and prints and come in a convenient three-pack. Each offers a flat design that allows for a more natural sucking motion. They are orthodontic and shaped like mom for an easy latch and fit. The material is BPA-free silicone and top-rack dishwasher safe for simple cleaning. These pacifiers also glow in the dark and feature a heart shape that easily fits beneath your little one’s nose.
Cons: While most parents loved these pacifiers, many parents noted that the nipple tends to retain water after washing, which can increase the risk of mold if not dried fully.
Bottom Line: NUK is a fan favorite brand that has a well-deserved place in parent’s lives. With a wider, flatter nipple that’s orthodontically approved, this is a solid choice.
Nookums Paci-Plushies Buddies Pacifiers
A medical-grade silicone pacifier that comes with a cute plushie attached.
Pros: With many adorable little animals to choose from, it will be easy to find a buddy that suits your little one! The plush toy attached to the pacifier helps you keep track of them much easier, especially when you’re scrambling to stop the crying. It also aids in developing fine motor skills with textured touch. The pacifiers are safe and easy to clean as they are 100% medical-grade and dishwasher safe, and you can detatch the toy and connect it to other pacifiers as needed.
Cons: While the brand promises that the plush buddy is compatible with most pacifiers, parents noted that it’s not compatible with Aventi pacifiers. Others noted that the buddy doesn’t do the best job at preventing little hands from pulling the pacifier from the holder.
Bottom Line: If you like the idea of a cute little buddy connected to your baby’s pacifier, this is a great option. Just be aware that it might not offer universal compatibility.
Tommee Tippee Day and Night Pacifiers
A larger design with wide breathing holes to comfortably fit older kids' mouths.
Pros: When your kiddo isn’t quite ready to give up the pacifier, these colorful pacifiers are great for children over 18 months. The design includes the same baby-approved nipple with a symmetrical design that aids in oral development while also helping them balance and hold the pacifier in their mouths.
Cons: Quality control seems to be the biggest issue parents had with these pacifiers. Some pieces didn’t glow in the dark (even when the packaging said it would).
Bottom Line: For older tots that aren’t quite ready to let go of their binkies, this is a solid choice from another well-known brand.
Itzy Ritzy Sweetie Soother Pacifier Set of 2
A silicone teether that can stand up to the chewing of teething babies.
Pros: Ask any parent who’s been there—teething is a less than enjoyable milestone to reach in early parenthood. You need a pacifier that can stand up to the serious gnawing that babies can dish out. The Itzy Ritzy is made from food-grade safe silicone and comes in a smart two-pack made with ventilation holes.
Cons: While this might be ideal for older babies who have achieved more control and can hold heavier objects, parents noted that this wasn’t ideal for younger babies that don’t have that kind of strength, especially when napping.
Bottom Line: Need something that can stand up to the frustrations of a teething baby? This pacifier is designed to do just that with a food-grade silicone construction. But for very young babies, this product might be too heavy and is prone to slip out.
Dr. Brown's Advantage Symmetrical Pacifier with Air Flow and Pacifier Clip
A complete solution to make sure those pacifiers don't get lost under the couch.
Pros: Pacifiers end up falling out or being thrown by your little one quite often.Having a pacifier clip like this pick from Dr. Brown’s ensures that you’re not constantly hunting down pacifiers and having to clean them after retrieving them from dust piles or under the couch.
Cons: As is common with many pacifiers, you may find that water and soap can get stuck in the nipple.
Bottom Line: If you’re tired of chasing lost pacifiers around the house, the inclusion of a pacifier strap is quite attractive.
A pacifier may not be a necessity, but many parents swear by using them. From aiding in self-soothing to even helping you get through the rough teething days, pacifiers can be a parent’s best friend. Just be sure to pick the right sizes for your baby’s current age and be sure to routinely clean them for better hygiene.