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The 7 Best Pacifiers For Babies Who Spit Them Out (And Why They Do It)

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Headshot portrait of cute newborn baby lying on bed with pacifier on mouth. Mixed race Asian-German ...
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So your baby is fussy and yet he keeps spitting out the thing that used to soothe him, you know, the pacifier. Spoiler alert: If your baby won’t keep a pacifier in his or her mouth, it’s likely for reasons beyond the paci. As such, the best pacifiers for babies who spit them out might just surprise you.

We’ll be the first to admit that for something so small, it’s hard to decide ahead of time what kind of binky will best for your baby. First of all, there is no end to pacifier options (seriously, why are there so many?), and secondly, all your mom friends — and all of the internet — have varied, often strong, opinions. But we’re here to cut through the chaos to get you answers. Scary Mommy reached out to board-certified pediatrician and the Co-Founder & Chief Medical Officer of Modern Pediatrics, Dr. Tim Porter, MD, to find out why your baby is spitting out the paci, so you can get one that stays pleasantly in place.

The Expert

Dr. Tim Porter received his M.D. from the University of Rochester in New York, before completing residency training at Northwestern University in Chicago. He worked in private practice in Chicago for five years before pursuing his dream of co-founding his own practice, Modern Pediatrics, and moving to Austin in early 2020. In addition to providing primary medical care for infants and children, Dr. Porter is an expert in pediatric sleep, having conducted hundreds of individual sleep consultations in his career. Dr. Porter also teaches a free newborn prep curriculum to new parents to ease their minds and help them through their parenting journey.

Why does my baby spit out the pacifier?

If there’s one thing you learn as a new parent, it’s that your baby is a perplexing creature. One minute they like the binky, one minute they don’t. Or maybe they never did. But why? “There are not any medical reasons a baby would spit out a pacifier, except, perhaps, severe congestion,” Dr. Porter reveals. But what if they’re not congested? “The most common reason is actually that they’re still hungry. In the first four months of life, a crying/fussy baby is always hungry until proven otherwise, especially if they just finished feeding.”

Dr. Porter suggests offering babies 4 months and younger more to eat before pushing the paci. But if they’re older? “If a fussy/crying baby is older than 4 months and won’t take more food or the pacifier to soothe, my next assumption is that they’re overtired or sick (cough, runny nose, fever, etc.).”

Is there a pacifier that stays in the mouth?

If only there were a one-size-fits-all answer. Dr. Porter maintains that “if the baby is not hungry, overtired, or sick, any pacifier should stay in the mouth.” And when it comes down to it, you might just have to try a few options before you find the one your baby prefers. “Naturally, some families swear by one pacifier or another,” he says, “but there is no consensus, and these opinions are only anecdotal (though convincing!) evidence.”

So while it’s worth considering your mom’s best friend’s niece's advice, your baby might just disagree. In fact, your baby may never take to a pacifier. Perhaps they don’t like the shape or material. Maybe they’re mad it’s not a bottle or a boobie (back to the hunger point). Some babies never take to the paci and that’s okay, too — there’s more than one way to soothe a child.

Are there certain pacifiers to use for breastfed vs. bottle-fed babies?

“Many pacifier manufacturers claim to be better for breastfed babies, but this can generally be assumed to be a marketing ploy,” shares Dr. Porter. “There are no scientific studies verifying these claims.” What’s more, Dr. Porter reveals that barring a latex allergy, there is “no verified medical reason” to recommend any specific pacifier material (all pacifier nipples are free of BPA). There are, however, a few universal safety tips Dr. Porter points to, with reference to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Pacifier Safety Tips

  • Inspect pacifiers often. “Pacifiers fall apart over time. Some manu­facturers have expiration dates for pacifiers. Do not keep pacifiers past that time. Inspect them every once in a while to see whether the rubber has changed color or has torn. If so, replace them.”
  • Make sure it can’t come apart. “Look for a 1-piece model that has a soft nipple (some models can break into 2 pieces).”
  • Get the right size shield to avoid choking. “The shield should be at least 1½ inches across so a baby cannot put the entire paci­fier into her mouth. Also, the shield should be made of firm plastic with air holes.”
  • Make sure the pacifier is dishwasher-safe. “Follow the instructions on the pacifier and boil it or run it through the dishwasher before your baby uses it. Be sure to squeeze the water out of the nipple with clean hands; otherwise, the hot water inside might burn your baby's mouth.”
  • Clean it regularly. “Clean it this way frequently until your baby is six months old so that your infant is not exposed to germs. After that, you can just wash it with soap and rinse it in clear water.”
  • Keep it free. “Never tie a pacifier to your child's crib or around your child's neck or hand. This is very dangerous and could cause serious ­injury or even death.”

Try These Pacifiers For Babies Who Spit Them Out

Now that you know the facts, you’re free to journey onward in search of your baby’s perfect pacifier. “Any pacifier which meets the above safety guidelines is safe and effective.” Dr. Porter adds, “I recommend a family try different kinds until they find the one their baby prefers.”

Not sure where to start? We found some favorite tried-and-trues to help you on your way. Behold, the binkies.

01

The Fan-Favorite Pacifier For Newborn Babies

Sometimes you just gotta trust a classic (and/or nearly 40,000 five-star reviews). And for babies 3 months and younger, these highly affordable latex-free silicone pacifiers are well-loved by doctors, nurses, and parents alike. With simple one-piece construction, this pack of four pacis makes cleaning easy (you can throw ‘em in the dishwasher). And when you inevitably lose one, there’s always a backup. “Literally the only pacifier our son will take,” shares one pleased parent. “We had bought a few different kinds to try out before he was born, and then [...] they gave him one of these while doing an exam [...] literally since he tried it he just spits out any other one besides this one.”

  • Available Sizes: 0-3 months (featured), 3-18 months

02

Another Highly Rated Newborn Pacifier With A Soft, Comfortable Fit

With nearly 15,000 positive reviews, it’s no wonder parents turn to MAM pacifiers so often. The signature silicone nipple is a proprietary SkinSoft material with a symmetrical shape that's ideal for jaw and teeth development. This set comes even with a self-sterilizing case for easy cleaning via water and a microwave. “This was the only pacifier my 5 lb 6oz baby would take,” shares one mom. “Every other one looked gigantic in his mouth and he would spit it right out. Just now graduating out of these (he is almost 3 months) and moving up to the next size.”

  • Available Sizes: 0-3 Months

03

A Multitasking Pacifier-Teether Set That Breastfeeding Babies Love

If you’re breastfeeding your baby, this pacifier set features five different nipple shapes so they can choose their fave, so to speak. And when those teeth begin to peek through, flip the paci over and it’s a teether! They’re made of medical-grade silicone and the one-piece design is dishwasher safe. “My son has tried so many different pacifiers but this is the one that he likes the most!” shares one happy mom. “He was a preemie and it still fit him great. He spits out the other ones where this is the one that gives him the most comfort.”

  • Available Sizes: Starter Kit, Stage 1, Stage 2, Premie Kit, Bulb, Slant, Flat

04

These Pacifiers With The Same Nipple Shape As A Dr. Brown Bottle

If you’re bottle-feeding, you might find these bottle-shaped pacifiers perfect for babe. Dr. Brown’s HappyPaci set features a familiar nipple shape, crafted just the same as Dr. Brown's Narrow Bottles. They’re available in a range of colors and the one-piece silicone construction is safe and dishwasher-friendly. Another cool feature? The butterfly-shaped shield allows plenty of room under the nose for easy breathing. “My baby's favorite paci of all time, this is his to go paci! I find it that he would spit the other brands out, but will keep this in for a long time,” reported one happy shopper. “The large handle made it easy for him to grab and play around with. Highly recommend this over other brands.”

  • Available Sizes: 0-6 months

05

An Ultra-Light Pacifier Set With A 97.5% Acceptance Rating From Babies

Tommee Tippee knows the plight of parents — and that’s why they designed their lightest pacifier ever, made specifically to stay in baby’s mouths for longer. The design is symmetrical, meaning there is no wrong way to pop in this binky. It’s dishwasher-friendly and includes hygienic, anti-static properties that help prevent dust from accumulating. What’s more, from an independent study conducted in 2021, that included 416 moms with a 0- to 36-month-old child, a whopping 97.5% of babies accepted the pacifier. We conclude our case with this glowing review: “Holy crap. These pacifiers are amazing.”

  • Available Sizes: 0-6 months, 6-18 months, 18-36 months

06

A Set Of Orthodontic Pacifiers In Hip Colors

This 5-count set of NUK silicone pacifiers might be baby’s most stylish accessories. Developed by doctors and dentists, the one-piece construction is designed to promote healthy oral development, and the heart-shaped shield makes for easy breathing without irritation. You can even throw them in the top rack of the dishwasher for easy clean-up. “My daughter loves Nuk pacifiers, she’ll take any kind as long as it’s a Nuk of some sort, but I myself prefer these ones because they don’t leave marks on her face!” one fan reported. “It barely touches her face as it is but the silicone doesn’t leave those red marks like the plastic Nuk pacis do. I also love that water can’t get trapped inside the nipple.”

  • Available Sizes: 6-18 months (featured), 0-6 months

07

The Best Pacifiers For Active Babies

Got a mover on your hands? Once babies become more active, these Nanobebe Active Baby Orthodontic Pacifiers feature open side vents to provide additional air flow and an ultra-lightweight construction so babies (and mommas) can breathe easy. Plus, if baby is active then he’s probably just beginning to teeth, too. And Nanobebe’s soft, durable texture is ultra-soothing for those sore gums. Double whammy. One shopper confirmed, “They form around her face and stay in better than the flat newborn pacifiers which is perfect for my crawling little munchkin. She’s also teething like crazy and loves to chew on them, so two for one I guess!”

  • Available Sizes: 4-36 months (featured), 0-3 months, 3-6 months

Expert:

Dr. Tim Porter, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician at the practice he cofounded, Modern Pediatrics,