Pacifiers come in all different shapes, sizes, colors — you name it. But the one thing they all have in common is that they (usually) get your baby to stop crying without you having to whip your boob out (again) or do insane amounts of squats so you can score three solid hours of uninterrupted sleep. When it comes to shopping for a pacifier, it’s no surprise if you feel a tad overwhelmed. Like most baby gear departments, the pacifier aisle (so to speak) is overflowing with brands offering all sorts of different types.
The most common two types are cylindrical, which is shaped like a pinky finger, and “orthodontic,” which is marketed to be better for oral development, explains Melanie Potock, Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist, Feeding Specialist and author of Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater. “Orthodontic pacifiers are molded to hook behind the front gums and rest up on the hard palate or rounded at the tip for the same purpose,” she says. A third shape, which goes by the term “flattened,” looks like a flat oval.
What should parents look for when buying a pacifier?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends purchasing pacifiers that are constructed of one single piece of material (silicone) for both the nipple and mouth shield. This, Potock explains, helps prevent facial injuries that occur when an infant falls onto a plastic pacifier mouth shield, bottle or hard sippy cup. “Two separate pieces also increases the risk of a piece breaking off and causing choking,” she adds. She also recommends that pacifiers have ventilation to cut down on moisture and be both latex- and BPA-free.
Whether you’re expecting or well into the infant phase, these pacifiers get the mom stamp of approval.
You’ll likely find these pacifiers being used by medical professionals in hospital settings, which is a true testament to their effectiveness. These are orthodontic pacifiers that can help promote proper development of baby’s teeth and gums. The material is free of BPA and latex and can be safely sterilized and tossed in the dishwasher for your convenience.
Free of all of the nasty ingredients that shouldn’t be in your baby’s products to begin with (BPA, polycarbonates, PVC, phthalates, etc.), this silicone-made pacifier has that cylindrical shape that’s designed to mimic the shape of your nipple and areola when your baby is breastfeeding. It has an easy grip design so that it pops right into your baby’s mouth.
You may already have some Dr. Brown’s products lying around (they make excellent infant bottles!), so you may need no introduction to this mom-trusted brand. If you’ve never heard of them—they do things right—and their pacifier is just one of their many ingenious products. This one is 100 percent silicone, lightweight and soft to the touch. It has a contoured butterfly-shaped shield that curves nicely around your baby’s nose and cheeks. It’s also dishwasher safe and free of BPA.
Got a fussy one on your hands? This paci promises to calm those ear-piercing cries and help your little one relax—and maybe even fall asleep! It is designed to stay in your baby’s mouth and cut down on nipple confusion. It’s free of all the bad chemicals like BPA and phthalates and is one single piece so it doesn’t pose as a choking hazard. Oh, and the brand lets you send it back if you’re not satisfied!
These orthodontic pacifiers are asymmetrical, with a scooped bottom that allows for more room for the natural sucking motion that babies make on the breast while preventing nipple confusion. It’s also designed to help foster proper oral development and is heart-shaped so it fits right under your baby’s nose for easier breathing.
These aptly named pacifiers that look like gummy candies are made from latex-free silicone. They have a unique contour shape that fits Baby’s face without covering his nose and are meant for infants ages 0-3 months. As one reviewer notes, they’re great for breastfed babies. “If you have a breastfed baby that won’t take a pacifier, and you’re at your wits end. Try this one! It is the only pacifier my baby girl will take and after wanting to be latched for 2-3 hours at a time these things are basically a godsend!”
How cute are these pacifiers? They come in all different prints featuring adorable animals that your baby is too young to acknowledge. But if you have an older kid, she’s sure to get a kick out of them. The silicone nipple is BPA-free and made from a SkinSoft material and a symmetrical shape that’s conducive for healthy jaw and teeth development.
These pacifiers are meant for older infants (6-18 months and 18-36 months) and come in handy during the night thanks to their glow-in-the-dark design. They have a symmetrical orthodontic shape that helps foster oral development and are both BPA- and phthalate-free.
Now that your pacifier supply is next level, stock up on these other baby gear essentials.