How to Choose a Pacifier – The Tot Guide
Rounded or orthodontic? Latex, silicone or natural rubber? We help you choose the right pacifier for your little one…
One mama you know swears by non-toxic natural rubber pacifiers while another insists that they’re not worth the expense because your little one will go through pacifiers faster than diapers. Then there’s the mom who tells you not to use soothers at all because they cause nipple confusion and will ruin your child’s teeth. Who knew something so small could require so much thought?
Here’s the good news: there’s no evidence that pacifiers interfere with breastfeeding and they only tend to cause dental problems and bite issues (such as overbite) if they’re used past the age of two. They may even reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and cavities.
But with so many binky options out there, how do you choose the right one for your baby? Our pacifier buying guide answers all your questions.
Which pacifier style should you choose?
Rounded pacifiers feature a nipple shaped like a small ball (or a flattened ball) while orthodontic pacifiers are flat on the bottom and round on the top. Studies have shown that orthodontic pacifiers are better for the development of a baby’s palate and jaw. You can give your child the style they prefer, but make sure the Binky Fairy comes to take them away by their second birthday to avoid dental issues.
Traditional pacis have three pieces (nipple, shield and ring) while one-piece models are made from a single piece of silicone, latex or rubber. One-piece pacifiers don’t have cracks where bacteria can breed and they’re unlikely to cause choking because they can’t break apart.
Which pacifier material is best?
Pacifier nipples come in three materials:
- Silicone: These nipples are strong, durable, easy to clean and don’t retain odors. But they aren’t as soft and flexible as latex.
- Latex: Nipples made from latex are softer, but they wear out quickly and tend to retain odors. If your child has a latex allergy, you’ll need to avoid these pacifiers.
- Natural rubber: One-piece natural rubber pacifiers are a great choice for parents who want to avoid harmful toxins. While all pacifiers have been BPA-free since 1999, natural rubber pacis are also free from chemicals such as PVC, phthalates, parabens, chemical softeners and artificial colorants. They tend to be more rigid than silicone or latex, but some babies prefer the solid feel. They’re also more expensive than traditional pacifiers.
Pacifier safety tips
Here a few important safety guidelines to follow when choosing and using pacifiers:
- Choose the right size: Pacifiers come in different sizes – generally 0-6 months, 6-18 months and 18 months and up – so buy the right size to ensure it soothes your child and doesn’t present a safety hazard.
- Inspect the shield: It should be at least 1 ½ inches across to prevent your child from putting the entire pacifier in their mouth and choking on it. It should also feature ventilation holes to let air through in the unlikely event your little one manages to get it in their mouth.
- Consider one-piece pacis: They don’t have cracks that retain bacteria and won’t break apart and cause choking.
- Replace them frequently: If your child’s paci is worn out (holes or tears), sticky or discolored, it’s time to replace it.
- Use a short tether: Never tie your child’s pacifier to their clothes or crib with a piece of string or ribbon because it could cause strangulation. Use short tethers or clips specifically designed for pacifiers instead.
- Don’t make your own: Some parents use bottle nipples as pacifiers, but they can pose a choking hazard.
- Wash before use: This is especially important for silicone and latex nipples that may contain harmful chemicals.
- Check for recalls: Before purchasing, you can check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website for recalls due to safety concerns.
Our Top Pacifier Picks
Made from pure rubber from the Hevea brasiliensi tree, Natursutten pacifiers are softer than silicone, and are extremely hygienic because they are molded in one piece. In an effort to be extra hypoallergenic, the protein that can provoke a very rare latex allergy is eliminated during production, making their pacifiers not only sustainable, all natural, healthy, but also super SAFE for your baby.
Designed with a flat bottom that helps with the development of a baby’s palate, Natursutten’s Orthodontic Paci is 100% natural, no BPA, PVC, phthalates, chemical softeners, or artificial coloring.
Made from 100% silicone, every time this pacifier falls, the nipple pops back into its built-in protective silicone bubble. No need for a case! The safe and intuitive design mimics the natural teat with a gentle pop. With a gentle push from a parent the nipple is slightly exposed and there’s no need to pop it any further, your baby’s suckling will keep it in place.
Available in more colors
Made of 100% pure rubber and anatomically-shaped like a nipple, the Eco-piggy Orthodontic pacifier is molded into one-piece and is an excellent choice for eco-conscious parents.
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