Is It Safe for My Baby to Sleep With a Pacifier?
Even if you did all your homework ahead of time, having a newborn can often be a learning curve. If you've ever wondered things like whether it's safe for your baby to sleep with a pacifier and how they can help soothe him or her, we have some answers.
If you’re a new parent, you may have heard conflicting information about pacifiers and whether you should give a pacifier to your baby – particularly during sleep times. Even if you did tons of homework about pacifiers before your baby’s arrival, Googled all the questions you had, and compared different pacifier brands and types online, it’s totally normal to still wonder whether they’re right for your little one.
In fact, even if your baby regularly uses a pacifier during the day, you may be wondering if it’s safe for him or her to sleep with their pacifier at night and during naptimes or what infant safe sleep guidelines say. Get the answers you need below and be sure to check out official resources like HealthyChildren.org and the CDC for even more detailed information on safe sleep practices for your little one.
Should I Remove a Pacifier After My Baby is Asleep?
No, you don’t have to remove your baby’s pacifier after he or she is asleep. Even if the pacifier falls out while they are sleeping – which is quite common! – there is no need for you to reinsert it. This is because a pacifier’s protective effect against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, persists throughout your baby’s sleep time, even if the pacifier drops out of his or her mouth while they’re snoozing.
Are Pacifiers Designed for All Sleep Times?
As much as you may want to, it’s impossible for parents to closely watch over their newborn while he or she is sleeping. Instead, try using your baby’s sleep time for things like a shower or bath, relaxing with a book, or catching up on your own sleep! With pacifiers specifically designed for nighttime use, your little one may have a more relaxing, peaceful sleep – and you might even sleep better too, resting assured that your baby is safe and snoozing soundly. Educating yourself on SIDS, common risk factors, and important precautions to take can help you massively reduce its risk while giving you some well-deserved peace of mind.
As mentioned above, don’t be surprised or alarmed if your little one’s pacifier falls out of his or her mouth once they’ve fallen asleep. This is actually natural and very common, as your baby may shift or move around while they are sleeping – just like we do! There are even fluorescent pacifiers that glow in the dark, so you or your baby can easily find it during the night if it falls out of their mouth while sleeping.
At Medela, we understand how soft and sensitive your baby’s skin is and, as a result, we strive to ensure all our products are ultra-gentle.
Can Pacifiers Actually Reduce the Risk of SIDS?
Yes, scientific research has shown that the use of a pacifier during sleep may offer protection against SIDS.
Parents are often worried that if they leave a pacifier in their baby’s mouth while he or she is sleeping, it can become a safety hazard and potential choking threat. This is a totally normal assumption to make, because common sense would dictate that any object should be removed from a sleeping baby’s mouth. However, pacifiers with ventilation and ergonomic design allow for easy breathing when using.
To ensure an even safer sleep while reducing the risk of SIDS, be sure to lay your baby on their back when sleeping and avoid placing pillows or stuffed toys in the crib or bassinet with them. There will be plenty of time to play with their toys and snuggle their stuffed animals after a nap or good night’s sleep!
With this in mind, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t force your newborn or baby to take a pacifier, whether they seem uninterested or they make their refusal known (oftentimes with you finding the pacifier tossed across the room or abandoned somewhere untouched!). They may just need some time and patience to get used to the new sensation, so occasionally offer a pacifier to them – but don’t force it if they’re just not into it! Every baby has their own unique preferences, and you’ll eventually learn his or hers well. Most importantly, be sure to enjoy this time with your little one, mama.
- Alm B et al. Breastfeeding and dummy use have a protective effect on sudden infant death syndrome. Acta Paediatr. 2016; 105(1):31–38.
- Moon RY, AAP Task Force on SIDS. SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths: Evidence base for 2016 updated recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment. Pediatrics. 2016; 138(5):e20162940.
- Lubbe W, Ham-Baloyi W ten. When is the use of pacifiers justifiable in the baby-friendly hospital initiative context? A clinician's guide. BMC. Pregnancy. Childbirth. 2017; 17(1):130.