Pros and Cons To That Peaceful Pacifier


Sometimes amid the screeching and crying of your baby it's easy to daydream of a magic button you could press to convince them to stop crying and relax, if only for a moment.

Behold! I bring you...

The pacifier.

The invention from some sort of genius sent to parents as a beacon of hope in the darkest of times.

Like most baby products, the pacifier is multipurpose.

Whether you're using a pacifier in between feedings or as a calming mechanism, it can bring welcome relief to an upset baby. We want to make sure you know everything there is to know about pacifier use before introducing one to your little one.

The Positives of Pacifier Use

  1. Encourage Self Soothing. Offering your baby a pacifier allows them to self soothe when they become irritable or upset. Most babies will put their fingers in their mouths when they cry or are upset which can lead to a more difficult to break thumb sucking habit. The pacifier puts you in control of the situation.
  2. Prevent SIDS Some doctors believe a pacifier keeps your baby from sleeping too deeply and others suggest it opens the air passageways a little more. Regardless, it seems like a great preventative step too promising to ignore. Check out this article from Scientific American about pacifiers greatly reducing the risk of SIDS. Also, this article from the Mayo Clinic about SIDS reduction and pacifiers are listed at the end.
  3. The pacifier can help an established breastfeeding relationship by soothing baby in between feedings, minimizing the impact of stressful cluster feeding on the mother.
  4. The pacifier can help a scheduled formula fed babies in between feedings by helping soothe their sucking reflex. 

Minimal Downsides of the Pacifier

  1. Dependence on a Pacifier. When parents are too confident in the superpowers of the pacifier, it becomes difficult to identify the source of your baby's crying. Pacifier dependence crying is often misinterpreted signs of actual distress.
  2. Pacifiers and Dental Issues. Pacifiers have a bad rep when it comes to dental damage. These concerns don't actually arise until permanent teeth emerge at about 2 years old. Weaning off pacifiers around 6 months old to one year old will keep teeth coming in straight if they were going to anyways.

How do I wean my baby off the pacifier?

This one is tricky because there is no right or wrong way to eliminate the pacifier dependence.

  • Some mothers find it easier to just "weather the storm" and remove the pacifier completely. Bless their souls. Removing the pacifier abruptly will likely cause some panic, but this too shall pass. What I find most is that parents don't remember they are the ones in control here :)
  • Some mothers try transitioning the pacifier use from moments of distress to moments of calm. Your baby will stop associating the pacifier as a tool to comfort, which is definitely half the battle.

How do I choose the right pacifier?

Make sure you have an assortment of different sizes for your growing baby. Once a baby outgrows a pacifier, switch it to a larger size to reduce choking risks.

When shopping for your pacifier you'll notice they are usually made of latex or silicone. When possible, choose silicone to prevent allergic reactions. Silicone is also more resilient to deterioration and heat (You can pop silicone pacifiers right in the top rack of the dishwasher!).

What is an orthodontic pacifier?

This just means the pacifier is designed to keep your baby's upper and lower jaws aligned properly. They have a wider flat tip on them and most pacifiers you can buy now are designed this way.

Here's Our Top Picks

The Tommee Tippee night time orthodontic pacifier is an outstanding go-to. With an age range of 0-6 and 6-18 months, this silicone pacifier is heat resistant and BPA free. This can be used any time of day, but has a glow in the dark ring so it can easily be found in your baby's crib. The pacifier nipple is shaped like a bottle's, making this a more relatable shape for first time pacifiers.

For a more natural option, we found these 100% natural Naturesutten pacifiers. These are softer than silicone, and made of  a pure rubber from the tree Hevea Brasiliensis. These are free of allergens, artificial colors, chemical softeners, parabens and phthalates. Available in two shapes this is a nice sustainable option for parents who want a more natural pacifier choice.

A pacifier has become known as a 'baby care essential'.

Whatever you choose for your baby, keep their safety your number one priority.

At Doulas of Denver our main goal is to help the parents of Denver make the best choice for their little ones.