Pacifiers are so helpful when you’re a new mom. Sometimes the best way to soothe a cranky, screaming baby is to just insert a pacifier into your baby’s mouth. Babies have a natural instinct to suck; many infants in utero suck their little thumbs. The sucking action can calm your baby and help him or her sleep. Some babies are suckers – these infants will suck on their thumbs or fingers if there’s no pacifiers around. Plus, another benefit of using pacifiers is that it may reduce the risk of SIDS – sudden infant death syndrome.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents use a pacifier throughout your baby’s first year of life to help prevent SIDS. The pacifier should be used when you’re first placing your little baby to sleep, but if the binky falls out, do not reinsert the pacifier into your sleeping baby’s mouth.
Though it may be tempting to coat the pacifier in something sugary or sweet, please don’t do this, because this can ruin your baby’s teeth. (Yes, baby teeth can rot).
If you are breastfeeding, the AAP highly recommends that you avoid using a pacifier until your baby is one month old and he or she has already established his or her breastfeeding routine.
Give baby his or her pacifier at bedtime or nap time, since this is when there’s the highest risk of SIDS. You’ll need to stop using pacifiers once your child reaches two years old, because pacifier use can cause dental problems – like an overbite, and it can stop the jaw from correctly developing.
How to Choose the Best Pacifier for Your Baby
Baby pacifiers come in all shapes and sizes. The newer pacifiers on the market are all one-piece pacifiers, made of either molded silicone, a combination of silicone and plastic, or natural rubber latex.
When choosing a pacifier, make sure that the nipple of the pacifier is securely attached. If you can tug and detach the nipple, then your baby can too, and this may pose a choking risk.
As a rule of thumb, you’ll probably want to avoid any liquid filled pacifiers, because they can be messy and the liquid inside might be harmful to your baby if your baby’s teeth happen to bite through the nipple.
Baby pacifiers are sold depending on your baby’s age. For example, for infants, you will want to buy a newborn size pacifier, and then upgrade to a larger size pacifiers as your baby grows older. The packaging of the pacifier should tell you what it’s age appropriate for.
When you’re buying a pacifier, you should pay attention to a design of it. There are many babies who get rashes from the moisture underneath the pacifier shield, so it’s a good idea to find a pacifier with ventilation holes that allow air to get to your baby’s skin.
Different Types of Pacifiers
There are many types of pacifiers on the market. Some are made with silicone; others are made from latex or natural rubber.
Natural rubber pacifiers, such as the bestselling HEVEA Pacifier – which is incredibly popular in Europe, and now has started to become a favorite in the USA – are typically darker in color, more tan or brown, whereas silicone pacifiers are lighter in color and can be clear.
The choice between a silicone or latex pacifier is up to you and your baby. Some infants are very particular about pacifiers, while others don’t care about what pacifier you put in their mouth. Some babies won’t put up with a pacifier at all. It just depends on your particular child and how they respond to your choice of pacifier.
Silicone has been a popular favorite for pacifier material for years, because it’s durable, harder for your infant to bite through, doesn’t retain scents or odors, and it’s easy to clean. Silicone pacifiers aren’t soft in your baby’s mouth, though, and that’s why some babies may prefer latex or natural rubber pacifiers instead.
Latex pacifiers are soft in your baby’s mouth. However, it doesn’t hold up as well, because it comes from a natural source – a rubber tree, so you have to replace your latex pacifier every couple of months. Natural rubber pacifiers are becoming more popular because it’s more eco-friendly and natural.
Orthodontic Pacifiers or Regular Rounded Pacifiers
There are two primary types of pacifiers on the market – the orthodontic pacifier and the conventional pacifier.
Orthodontic pacifiers, which are highly recommended to prevent teeth problems down the road, are uniquely shaped pacifiers with a flattened nipple. These are designed to be similar to the shape of a mom’s nipple when baby is nursing; the nipple is flattened in the mouth during breastfeeding, which encourages natural sucking and it also aids in proper oral and jaw development. Research has suggested that babies who use orthodontic pacifiers have a lower risk of developing an overbite or an open bite, compared to those who used conventional pacifiers.
A regular pacifier is rounded and look like a bottle nipple.
Some babies prefer rounded pacifiers; others like orthodontic pacifier.
You may want to avoid buying too many pacifiers before your baby is born because you won’t know which type your baby likes or if your baby will like pacifiers at all.
My Favorite Pacifier
I suggest finding a pacifier that is BPA-free, phthalate-free and with as natural ingredients as possible. I’m a fan of the HEVEA Star and Moon Orthodontic Pacifier, because it’s BPA-free, PVC-free, Phthalate-Free, has no artificial coloring and it’s made with 100% natural rubber latex. It also has ventilation holes too.