What is the best pacifier for your baby?

There are many parents have a love-hate relationship with pacifiers. Pacifiers are soothing to baby and are now recommended by AAP for use at bedtime for SIDS prevention. However, parents dread taking the pacifier away one day or find that having pacifiers discourages breastfeeding. Before you buy pacifiers, take a look at these common pacifier features and pacifier safety tips to ensure you’re choosing the right pacifiers for your baby.

One-Piece Pacifiers Only

Most new pacifiers are one-piece. They are usually made of molded silicone or a combination of plastic and silicone or latex. Check to be sure the nipple is firmly attached to the bottom of the pacifier. If you are able to remove the nipple with a tug, you can be sure baby will eventually take it off.  Avoid pacifiers that have liquid or gel inside the nipple. Liquid-filled pacifiers may look cool, but they’re very messy and even possibly harmful when your baby bites through and releases the liquid.

Don’t Improvise

While many baby products can be recreated at home, pacifiers do not fall in that category. Do not use bottle nipples and caps as pacifiers. They can come apart and cause choking. Homemade pacifiers may not be sturdy enough to hold up to repeated use without breaking down or causing other health risks to your baby.

Orthodontic Pacifiers vs. Rounded Pacifiers

Orthodontic pacifier nipples have a rounded top and a flat bottom. They were designed to prevent tooth troubles later in baby’s life, but if your baby prefers a rounded traditional pacifier nipple, just go with what works. Both types of pacifier nipples have been found to increase bite problems, like overbite, later in life. If you limit the amount of time your baby spends with the pacifier and take it away after your baby’s first year, you can minimize dental damage.

Silicone or Latex Pacifiers?

Both silicone and latex pacifier nipples have advantages. The choice usually comes down to your baby’s preference. Silicone is sturdy, doesn’t retain odors, cleans up easily and is harder for your baby to bite through. The main drawback to silicone is that is it not as soft on baby’s mouth. Latex is soft in your baby’s mouth and your baby may like the way it retains scents. The only problem with latex is that it doesn’t hold up as well to repeated cleanings and your baby’s little teeth can quickly chew through it.

Must-Have Pacifier Features

A good rule of thumb for a safe pacifier is that it should be at least 1.5 inches across to prevent choking. Many babies can also develop rashes from the constant moisture under the pacifier shield.  Look for pacifiers that have vent holes in the shield to let air get to baby’s skin. Color and style are totally up to you, but brightly colored pacifiers are easier to spot under vehicle seats and in diaper bags. Glow-in-the-dark pacifiers are definitely easier to find at bedtime. One final tip is to be sure that the pacifier can be boiled or put in the dishwasher for cleaning.




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