Pacifier Guide: Don’t Get the Wrong Pacifier

Pacifiers, true to their name, are typically used to soothe fussy infants. Created to mimic the comforting sensation of nursing, pacifiers assist babies in exercising mouth and tongue muscles in between feedings, and can also help them fall asleep happily. Learning how to buy a pacifier is a simple process once you narrow down a few key considerations.

>> What is the best pacifier size for your baby?

Pacifier sizes vary based on the age of the infant or toddler you're purchasing for. There is no standard industry sizing for pacifiers, so sizes will vary by brand. Look for something small enough that it will fit comfortably into your baby's mouth, but large enough that it can't be swallowed. Some pacifier sizes are listed in months (for example: 0-3 month, 0-6 months), while others are categorized by numbers (for example: Size 1, Size 2). There are also specific newborn pacifiers that are able to be used right after birth. When in doubt, always read the pacifier's packaging to determine what size pacifier your baby needs.

>> Consider how the pacifier will be used

Pacifiers are used for a variety of reasons. Commonly, pacifiers are used as a comforting substitute for babies when their mother isn't available to nurse them. Pacifiers that are designed specifically to mimic the oral sensation of breastfeeding are called soothies. Soothies are often used at bedtime, though some parents give babies soothies when they cry or become restless, day or night. Pacifiers can be very soothing for infants but can also provide comfort as children become toddlers as well. Pacifiers can also keep babies stimulated and occupied. Babies sometimes fuss or cry out of boredom or frustration, and pacifiers can provide oral stimulation that keeps their mind and body occupied.

>> Consider how a pacifier can help with teething

Teething pacifiers are a good choice to help with the painful tooth cutting process. Teething pacifiers look similar to other types of pacifiers, but the nipple on teething pacifiers is often different. Pacifier designs for teething incorporate textured ribs and bumps that help massage and soothe a teething baby's gums. When determining how to buy a pacifier, think about when you might need a teething pacifier, as babies begin getting their first teeth around six months of age.
>> Consider pacifier shapes

When deciding how to buy a pacifier, consider the types of nipples available and how they will work for your baby. Cherry-shaped nipples are a well-known pacifier shape. Cherry-shaped pacifiers have a more rounded nipple tip, sometimes called a truck, and a shorter nipple stem. Soothie infant pacifiers feature nipples that are longer than cherry-shaped nipples, and are a popular choice for infants. It may be helpful to have nipples of the same size and shape on your various bottles and pacifiers, so your baby has consistency across the board. Baby bottles and pacifiers are sometimes sold in a baby gear bundle, which helps ensure everything you need is the same size and style. As teething is a precursor to eating solid foods, you may also want to consider other baby feeding products.

>> Consider pacifier materials

Depending on your planned pacifier uses, consider the various types of pacifiers and their materials. Pacifiers are often made from latex, which was one of the first materials used in the manufacturing of pacifiers. Latex is very soft, and won't cut or rub a baby's mouth. Latex is dishwasher safe and can also be easily cleaned by being boiled in hot water. Silicone is another popular pacifier material, and is a good choice for children who have a latex allergy. Silicone is durable and hardy, and also a popular choice of pacifier manufacturers. Silicone pacifiers are easy to find and, like latex, are very easy to clean and care for.

>> Consider pacifier care

Pacifiers can be cleaned simply through a variety of methods. Some pacifiers require hand washing, while others can be placed in the dishwasher. As you consider how to buy a pacifier, think about the time and resources you are willing to dedicate to cleaning it.

>> Do you need pacifier accessories or different styles?

Pacifier accessories are helpful items that assist you in getting more out of your pacifier. Pacifier holders are attached to the baby's shirt or bib, so if your baby decides to spit the pacifier out, the pacifier doesn't fall on the floor or get lost. Pacifier holders are typically made with a ribbon and a clip that attaches to your baby's clothes. The ribbon is tied to the end of the pacifier and the clip can be snapped on and off the babies clothing within seconds. Pacifiers come in different colors, like pink, blue and purple, which some parents coordinate to match a baby's outfit. Themes such as a mustache base for pacifiers offer creative and fun ways to make a style statement. Shake toys are other baby products that get bundled with pacifiers, and are other great ways to keep your baby occupied and happy.

Pacifiers can be a soothing implement for both baby and parent. With just a little bit of research, you'll find that purchasing a new pacifier can be an easy and enjoyable experience.

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