How to Find the Right Pacifier for Your Baby and When to Start
Medela features a large range of pacifiers so you can find one that’s exactly right for your baby. To learn more about how to choose a pacifier, see our article, fill out our quick questionnaire, and get our pacifier recommendation.
Important Considerations for Responsible Pacifier Use
At Medela, we know that every baby has unique needs. That's why we feature a large range of pacifiers, so you can find the ones that are best for your little one. To get started, see these important frequently asked questions regarding pacifier use and how to find the right pacifier for your baby:
- When can I start to offer my baby a pacifier?
Pacifiers can be used from birth. If you’re breastfeeding, you may prefer to start offering a pacifier after you and your baby have a well-established breastfeeding relationship. Research has shown that pacifier use in healthy breastfed babies, started from birth or after lactation is established, didn’t significantly affet the prevalence or duration of exclusive and partial breastfeeding up to 4 months of age.
Remember, if in doubt, you can always seek professional breastfeeding support from a lactation consultant or another healthcare professional to address any breast milk feeding questions or concerns!
- When should I offer a pacifier to my baby?
Babies cry and fuss for many different reasons – it’s just one of the ways they communicate with you and let you know that they need something! Depending on what your baby needs, his or her cry can sound different. Does your baby want to be held? Is he or she scared or in pain? Is it time for a diaper change, a nursing session, or do they simply want your attention? You will soon become familiar with all the different cries, sounds, and body language from your baby. However, if he or she seems inconsolable, then a pacifier may help calm them and encourage self-soothing.
When playing and happy, babies and toddlers are busy and distracted by other positive experiences. This is a good time to put the pacifier aside, as it may not be needed. Once your little one starts babbling and experimenting with words, help them learn to remove the pacifier from their mouth so you can better understand each other and communicate effectively.
- In what specific situations can a pacifier help my baby?
Pacifiers are most often used to calm and relax. When other methods to calm your little one are unsuccessful, a pacifier may support their desire to suckle. Pacifiers can also be used to help your baby fall asleep.
In fact, safe infant sleep guidelines in various countries support using a pacifier during naptimes and bedtimes for the first 6 months of life and often even up to 1 year of age. If the pacifier falls out of their mouth during sleep, you don’t need to reinsert it. However, if your baby refuses their pacifier, then don’t force them to take it.
There is also scientific evidence that suckling on a pacifier helps reduce babies’ feelings of discomfort, such as when receiving shots or having a blood sample taken. Once your baby begins teething, suckling can also help relieve the achiness and pain associated with this milestone. However, if your baby begins to bite holes in their pacifier’s teat, offer a teether to chew instead. Teethers can be helpful in relieving discomforts associated with gum soreness.
- Can my baby have his or her pacifier all day long?
Research suggests that pacifier use shouldn’t exceed 6 hours per day. Stay on a consistent plan about pacifier use and consider questions like “under what circumstances do I want to offer my baby a pacifier?” and “when and where should I proactively offer them a pacifier?” You may even have timelines planned around weaning. These questions and thoughts can help you stick to a plan from the beginning and encourage safe, responsible pacifier use.
- When should I NOT use a pacifier?
When your baby is hungry or if they are showing signs of an ear infection.
If your baby is hungry, never use a pacifier to replace or delay a feed. Try to recognize your little one’s feeding cues right away. It’s usually preferred to start feeding your little one when he or she is in a quiet, alert state and showing only early signs of hunger, such as opening their mouth, sucking on their hand, rooting around, and/or moving their arms and legs. If you offer your baby their pacifier when they’re hungry, your little one might delay or even miss a feed. This could impact your breast milk supply and eventually cause your baby to cry, fuss, become upset, and show late hunger signs since their hunger hasn’t been alleviated.
There has been some evidence that shows using a pacifier could increase the risk of ear infections – acute otitis media (AOM). Sucking on a pacifier may create a pressure difference that prevents fluid from draining through the tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the nose and throat, which can in turn lead to a bacterial infection. If your baby has frequent ear infections, it’s therefore recommended to reduce or eliminate pacifier use beyond 6 months old to help avoid possible recurrences of AOM.
- When should my baby stop using his or her pacifier?
Recommendations around when to stop using pacifiers vary greatly. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that weaning should start by 3 years of age, at the latest. Many children stop using their pacifiers on their own or when they start regularly eating solid foods – though others may have strong desires to suckle for a longer time!
How to Find the Right Pacifier for Your Baby
Before you begin, here are a few universal features found with all types of Medela Baby pacifiers:
- Lightweight, with gentle-to-the-skin SensoPearls™ to enhance the airflow between your baby’s skin and the pacifier shield.
- Orthodontic and ergonomic shape, designed to help support the natural movement of mouth muscles due to the teat shape.
- Made in Switzerland by industry experts with over 85 years of experience.
- Made without BPA and BPS – We only use the safest materials when it comes to you and your baby.
To get started, use our Pacifier Selector tool below to receive a personalized pacifier recommendation for your little one's specific needs: