Breastfeeding moms often don’t know the best pacifiers for breastfeeding babies or even if it is ok to use one. They may have heard they are terrible and should be avoided by some moms and that they are life-savers from others.
If your baby is at least a month old and has mastered breastfeeding like a champ, you may want to give one a try. You may want to introduce a pacifier to calm your baby on occasion, but which one should you choose? Anything that has a nipple should be chosen with care because you don’t want that artificial nipple to compete with your own. These tips will give you the information needed to make an informed decision on pacifiers, and we’ll even suggest five of our favorites.
Finding the Best Pacifiers for Breastfeeding Babies:
Wait! Aren’t Pacifiers Bad?
While pacifiers have a good reputation with most parents today, there are some concerns that have been raised by some parents. There are also some concerns that are specific to breastfeeding parents. Let’s take a quick look at some of those concerns so that you can make an educated choice on behalf of your baby.
- Using a pacifier in the first few days can sometimes cause nipple confusion.
- Babies may wean from the breast at an earlier age if they are routinely given a pacifier (Pediatric Child Health, 2003.) This isn’t a problem for all babies, and there are ways to use a pacifier that don’t involve overuse. We’ll discuss some of the reasons that breastfeeding parents do use pacifiers in a moment.
- Some people are allergic to latex, which is a common material used in cheap pacifiers. Parents worry that they will find out that their babies are allergic after giving them a pacifier with latex. You can eliminate this concern by using pacifiers that are latex-free, and those are easy to find on today’s market. We’ll introduce you to some of the best later in this guide.
- There is a connection between pacifier use and thrush (Hanna, 2011.) This isn’t a problem for most babies, but you should keep it in mind if your baby struggles with thrush or is at heightened risk for some reason.
- Some research has shown a connection between frequent ear infections and pacifier use (Hanafin, 2002). This doesn’t impact many babies, but you should discontinue the pacifier if your baby is prone to ear infections.
- Pacifiers constructed with multiple parts might come apart, presenting a choking danger. There are many pacifiers made as one piece, eliminating that risk.
- When a pacifier is hung around a baby’s neck, it presents a strangulation danger. The simple solution is obvious: don’t hang anything over your baby’s neck. There are safe attachments that allow you to clip a pacifier to your baby’s clothing safely, but you don’t want to use those attachments when your baby is put down to sleep.
Pacifiers have been used for generations, and most parents find them more helpful than risky. You don’t want to ignore the concerns that some parents have raised, but you also don’t want those concerns to alarm you out of making the best decision for your little one.
If your child is at higher risk of thrush or ear infections, then you may decide to err on the side of caution and not present a pacifier. If you’re lucky to have a healthy baby who doesn’t face those higher risks, then a pacifier may be just what you need to keep your baby happy as he or she grows.
Why Would I Want to Use One?
There are many reasons that some breastfeeding families still find pacifiers useful or even necessary, including:
- Research has proven that sucking a pacifier during sleep reduces a baby’s risk of SIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics has determined that this research is strong enough to recommend that parents give their babies pacifiers each time they are put down for a nap or bedtime.
- Babies with medical conditions or injuries that leave them in pain or discomfort often find pacifiers soothing. Parents and medical professionals often consider them tools of mercy in this case.
- Pacifiers can deliver occasional, short-term relief when a baby cries and fusses nonstop. Some babies have medical reasons for crying over long periods of time, and parents do occasionally need to calm the baby so that they can take a safe break. In this case, parents consider the pacifier a tool for sanity, but it’s important that the cause for the crying is addressed and solved if at all possible.
- Some babies fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer when they are given a pacifier (Curr, 2016.) In this case, you want to make sure that your baby is sometimes put to sleep without the pacifier, especially as you get closer to his or her first birthday. You don’t want your baby to be entirely dependent on a pacifier in order to fall asleep.
- Frequent travelers often use pacifiers to keep babies entertained and quiet while on planes, buses or trains. Not only does this make traveling more peaceful for the parents, but it’s often appreciated by passengers sharing the space.
- Busy mothers may use pacifiers to distract a baby temporarily. Think of making a phone call while your baby sucks a pacifier next to you.
- Sometimes as breastfeeding moms our babies will USE US like a pacifier. They aren’t really eating or swallowing, but just using us for comfort. In this case, a pacifier might give a mom (and her breasts!) a much-needed break.
There are clearly some compelling reasons to use a pacifier once your baby is established with breastfeeding. Just keep in mind that you want to wean your baby away from the pacifier just before their first birthday. This is around the time that you want your baby to start speaking and learning more vocabulary words, and you don’t want the pacifier to interfere with that or with the healthy growth of teeth.
If you’re using a pacifier as a soothing or calming device, that’s another reason to give up around the first birthday. The older your child gets, the more he or she should learn to self-soothe through a variety of strategies.
The biggest concern for many breastfeeding mothers is that the pacifier will satisfy their baby’s drive to suck, reducing their interest in the breast. You don’t want to reduce the amount of stimulation that your breasts receive within the first four weeks of your baby’s life, so it’s best not to introduce a pacifier until your little one is at least a month old. Many professionals recommend waiting up to eight weeks just to ensure that your milk supply is strong and your baby is well adjusted in a breastfeeding routine.
If you want to introduce a pacifier as a calming tool when your baby is in pain or distress or there are medical issues that it may help, you can discuss the best time to introduce the pacifier with your pediatrician. You may also want to ask your lactation consultant if you believe that a pacifier is necessary within the first six weeks of the baby’s life. They can help you make the best decision for your baby’s health.
If you decide that a pacifier might be useful for your baby, it’s time to discuss some of the best pacifiers for breastfeeding babies. Just as you would consider the shape and size of the nipple if you were supplementing with a bottle, you should look at those features on a pacifier as well. There are thousands of pacifiers online and in local stores today, and it’s difficult to find the best one for your baby.
To help you find a great pacifier that supports your breastfeeding routine, we present a list of our top five recommendations. We’ll explain why we like these pacifiers for breastfeeding babies, and we’ll even give you a link if you want to look at each product online to learn more.
This link will take you to the pacifier designed for babies up to three months, but there is another option for babies over three months. If you’ve ever seen the pacifiers that are given to new parents in hospitals and think that these look similar, that’s because most hospitals now distribute Phillips pacifiers in this design. They are created from BPA-free material, and you can put them in the dishwasher to keep them sanitary. They’re also designed to protect your baby’s natural tooth development.
Do you miss the cute colors and designs that are often seen in the pacifier section of any baby store? There are some alternate Soothie designs that will give you the cuteness along with the benefits of this safe pacifier.
These pacifiers come in a variety of colors with some patterns to liven things up, but it’s the design and materials that make the GumDrop perfect for breastfeeding babies. They have a curved design that places the pacifier below a newborn’s nose. This eliminates a big problem that many parents experience when purchasing pacifiers for babies under three months old. The pacifiers are made from silicone that is free of BPA, phthalates, and latex, which eliminates the concern over potential latex allergies. There are GumDrops made for newborns and older babies, and they’re cheap enough that you can stock up to keep your baby happily sucking for months.
These are hands down some of the best pacifiers for breastfeeding babies, and they’re one of your best options if you want to continue using pacifiers beyond your baby’s first birthday. The designers work with pediatric dentists and orthodontists to ensure that each pacifier is as healthy as possible for a baby’s developing mouth.
These pacifiers come in a variety of colors and have unique decorative shapes that many parents and babies appreciate. MAM makes different designs for babies starting at birth and going beyond 16 months, so you can select the design intended for your baby’s current growth stage.
The nipples are the selling point for these pacifiers. They’re designed to protect the orthodontic and dental concerns for growing babies and will fit well into a baby’s mouth even if the baby puts it in upside down. The nipples are designed to mimic the shape and feel of a bottle nipple, which is closer to the feel of a mother’s nipple than some generic pacifier nipple shapes. The design is more traditional, and there are a variety of colors and designs available for babies at all ages and stages of growth.
This is another pacifier inspired by pediatric orthodontists, so the shape and size will protect the healthy development of your baby’s mouth structure and teeth. The nipple is also designed to allow better movement of the tongue, so there’s less interference with your baby’s natural mouth movements. The pacifiers are made from silicone and have a one-piece design, so there is no risk of the nipple separating from the handle or other pieces. It comes in a few color options but isn’t as decorative as some other options on the market today.
Now that we’ve explored the ups and downs of pacifier use for breastfeeding babies and you’ve been introduced to five of the best pacifiers that we recommend to breastfeeding mothers, how do you know which one is right for your baby? You may have a gut instinct that about some of the pacifiers that we listed above, and you can do additional research through Amazon to find pacifiers with similar designs.
You definitely want to choose one that is designed with orthopedics and dental concerns in mind, and it’s important to select one designed for your baby’s age and developmental stage. Beyond that, you’re likely to choose the one that has a design or color options that you prefer. If you want to stick to what your baby was given in the hospital, then the Phillips Avent Soothie is clearly your top pick.
The upside here is that pacifiers are relatively cheap, so you may want to purchase two or three different types to see which one your baby prefers. Once you find the winner, you may want to stock up and keep them in your baby bag, at the sitter’s house, at grandma’s house, and in other key locations. This will save you from scrambling to find a pacifier when you’re away from home. If you don’t want your baby to use just any pacifier, it’s important to keep your chosen products on hand no matter where you go.
- How to Avoid Nipple Confusion
- How to Teach a Baby to Self-Soothe (and Why You Should!)
- Best Bottles for Breastfeeding Babies