What to Know Before You Buy a Baby Pacifier
The pacifier is such a saving grace – for both you and your baby – that imagining parenthood without one is nearly incomprehensible. However, these lovely accessories are not completely foolproof. That chic adorable pacifier you received at the baby shower? Your baby is totally uninterested. The budget-friendly one you picked up on a whim? It resulted in an uncomfortable rash.
While there are certainly more potential trials and tribulations associated with baby pacifiers than you may have realized, finding the ideal option for your bundle of joy is really not quite as taxing as it seems. Shop according to your baby's needs, and you'll have a happy baby and time left over for peek-a-boo.
How Old is Your Baby?
The pacifier your 18-month-old suddenly lost interest in is not going to work. Always take a look at the age group listed on the pacifier packaging to make sure you’re buying the appropriate size for your baby. Typical sizing includes:
- 0 to 3 or 0 to 6 months
- 6 to 18 or 6+ months
- 18+ Months
Is Your Baby's Comfort the Most Important Factor?
Basic/Standard/Classic: Try out a pacifier referred to as basic, standard or classic. These are often touted as the pacifier most similar to the mother’s natural shape, with a soft round tip. Classic pacifiers are aimed at:
- Soothing your baby
- Helping your baby to sleep
Looking for a Pacifier to Support Healthy Oral Development?
Orthodontic: While most pacifiers you pick up will likely have been created with your baby’s oral development in mind, you should make sure the pacifier is specifically labeled as an orthodontic pacifier. These pacifiers are just a bit different than the standard choice.
- Shape: It looks the same from the outside, but the piece your baby sucks on has a wide, angled tip.
- Goal: The shape of the tip positions the mouth, so the jaws are aligned for healthy development.
Do You Prefer a Particular Material?
When every material seems perfectly suitable, making a decision can feel very confusing, leaving you wondering whether there really is a difference. There is a difference. Luckily, this one’s easier than it seems.
- Latex: Pacifier nipples made out of latex are considered the softest, making them a common choice for newborns. However, latex is known to wear out much faster and retain odors and is not always dishwasher safe. Unfortunately, some babies develop an allergy to latex, which may result in a rash or asthma. If you’re concerned, steer away from latex.
- Silicone: Silicone is not as soft as latex. However, that means it is more durable and more difficult to chew through. Most silicone is dishwasher safe, resistant to harboring bad odors and perfect for babies with a latex allergy.
- BPA-Free: If you’re concerned about potential toxins in the pacifier, you may wish to find a BPA-free option. Though the silicone and latex nipples are not made of plastic and will not contain BPA, the plastic piece they are attached to might.
Are You Concerned About Irritation or Rashes?
When your little one has a pacifier pressed against his or her precious little face and that adorable slobber makes its way onto otherwise dry skin, irritation is bound to occur! The solution is simple: Purchase a vented shield rather than a closed one. The increased air circulation will help keep that cute little mouth comfortable and smiling.
Are You Tired of Dropped or Lost Pacifiers?
The joys of a pacifier that does its job are only hampered by those moments when the pacifier lands on a dirty ground or manages to roll beneath baby’s crib in the dark. Don’t fret – you’re not the only parent wanting to pull your hair out during these moments.
- Snap-on Caps: Purchase snap-on caps separately so you can pop them onto the pacifier when it’s not in use. This is helpful for keeping bacteria, dirt and germs away when you’ve tossed it into the diaper bag.
- Self-Closing: If your baby has a not-so-cute habit of spitting the pacifier out, this will help preserve your sanity. A protective shield closes over the pacifier when it’s not in use – so amazing.
- Glow-in-the-Dark: If you are the problem (dropping the pacifier at 3am … in the dark … and it’s nowhere to be found), go for a glow-in-the-dark option so you don’t have to turn on the painfully bright overhead light.
You never knew there were so many accessories for a baby. You also never imagined each baby accessory would bring with it such a multitude of options. While it’s easy to feel completely at a loss, if you follow your instincts and pay attention to what does and does not make your baby kick and giggle with glee, your decision-making process will become much easier, and that is certainly something worth cooing over.