One of the fastest ways to soothe a fussy baby is to pop a pacifier into their mouth. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy: Some pacifiers are made with tiny newborns in mind, while others are ideal for teething babies who want to chew everything they come into contact with. Here’s a look at the best pacifiers for your little one depending on exactly what they need.
What to Look for in the Perfect Pacifier
Some parents are concerned that pacifiers can create a bad habit that will be hard to break later, or they worry their baby will get so used to the paci they’ll start to reject the breast if breastfeeding.
Neither of these things are something you really need to worry about. While babies can certainly become attached to a pacifier, it’s an easier habit to break than sucking their thumb, which they may do as an alternative (sucking is very soothing for a baby). Also, research has shown that pacifier use does not negatively affect breastfeeding.
On top of that, pacifiers can be a literal lifesaver. Studies have shown that giving a baby a pacifier when they’re sleeping can reduce their risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by as much as 90 percent.
Here’s what to consider before purchasing one:
- Silicone or latex? Pacifiers are generally made of silicone or latex. Most pediatricians and experts recommend using silicone because there’s a chance the baby could be allergic to latex. If you’re concerned about that, avoid natural rubbers.
- Are you concerned about breastfeeding? Again, pacifiers should not interfere with breastfeeding. But if you’re still worried about nipple confusion, doctors typically recommend waiting about three to four weeks after birth before introducing the paci—that way, the baby has time to adjust to the breast. And if you’re still concerned, opt for a paci that feels more like a natural nipple than anything else.
- Do you want something easy to clean? Pacifiers get dirty fast. Babies are constantly spitting them out of their mouths or dropping them onto the floor. It’s really important to keep them clean, so if you want to make that easier for yourself, get a dishwasher-friendly option.
- How old is your baby? Some pacifiers are made with newborns in mind, while others are made for older babies. And yes, the age range is important. That’s because the nipple is formed a specific way for a developing baby’s mouth, and you don’t want to mess with their jaw growth.
Best Overall: NUK Sensitive Orthodontic Pacifiers
NUK Orthodontic Pacifiers are popular for many reasons: They come in a ton of cute designs, they’re inexpensive and easy to find, and most importantly, they’re safe for babies. The scooped bottom allows for a more natural sucking motion that helps jaw and teeth development. The nipple itself is modeled after an actual nipple, preventing nipple confusion, and the heart-shaped design keeps it away from the baby’s nose to make it easier for them to breathe. It’s also BPA-free and made of silicone.
On top of that, the NUK is top-rack dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning and even glows in the dark, so you can easily find it in the middle of the night. It’s available in sizes from newborn up to 18 months, so you’re pretty much covered if baby loves it.
NUK Orthodontic Pacifiers, 0-6 Months, 5-Pack
The NUK is easy to clean, safe for breathing and jaw development, made of silicone, and glows in the dark.
Best Rubber: BIBS BPA-Free Natural Rubber Baby Pacifier
Not worried about a latex allergy? Then natural rubber pacifiers are a great option. Arguably the best is the BIBS Natural Rubber Pacifier, a classic that looks adorable and trendy, and is safe for a baby. Designed and manufactured in Denmark, these little guys are 100% free of BPA, PVC, and phthalates. They’re comfortable for babies, with holes to make breathing safer, and a loop handle that makes them easy to grab or attach to a paci string. The nipple is made to be as natural as possible for breastfed babies, and the material is soft enough to resemble mom’s skin.
BIBS Baby Pacifiers | BPA-Free Natural Rubber Pacifier | Made in Denmark | Set of 2 Soothers (Blush/Ivory, 0-6 Months)
BIBS are natural rubber pacifiers that are comfortable and safe for your baby.
Best for Sleeping: Chicco PhysioForma Light Day & Night
Having a baby use a pacifier while sleeping has been shown to reduce SIDS, but you still need to be thoughtful about which paci you use. The Chicco PhysioForma actively supports breathing with an exclusive nipple design that keeps your baby’s tongue forward to ensure their airway is open. That means you can rest easy knowing the paci shouldn’t be getting in their way.
Each pack comes with two super lightweight pacis, one for daytime, and one that glows in the dark for night use. They also come with a sterilization case that makes keeping them clean incredibly simple. And on top of all that, they’re BPA- and latex-free.
Chicco PhysioForma® Light Day & Night including Glow In Dark Pacifier for Babies 0-6m, Pink, Orthodontic Nipple, BPA-Free, 2-count in Sterilizing Case
Chicco's unique nipple design keeps your baby's airway open for easy breathing.
Best for Newborns: Philips Avent Soothie
Philips Avent Soothies are a hospital favorite for a reason: They’re ideal for newborns and made of soft, medical-grade silicone. The nipple is a natural shape and doesn’t need to be turned to fit properly as some pacifiers do, and it’s hard enough to ensure that the baby’s teeth and gums develop correctly. They’re also inexpensive, easy to find, and dishwasher-safe, making them easy to clean.
Basically, they’re just a really solid option, and the only downside is they’re meant to be used only for babies up to three months old.
Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier, Blue, 0-3 Months, 2 Count
Philips Avent Soothies are distributed at hospitals nationwide and are perfect for newborn babies up to three months old.
Best Natural Pacifier: Ecopiggy Ecopacifier
Made of sustainably-sourced natural rubber, the Ecopiggy Ecopacifier is free of chemical softeners or colors and is also BPA-, phthalate-, PVC-, and paraben-free. A huge advantage of this option is that it’s a single-piece design, which means bacteria and grime can’t build up in cracks or joints in the pacifier.
You can opt for a round nipple that is meant to simulate breastfeeding, or an orthodontic nipple if you’re more concerned about jaw growth and development. The soft rubber doesn’t leave marks behind, and there are no choking hazards.
Ecopiggy Ecopacifier Orthodontic Natural Pacifier (1 Pack) - 0-6 Mos
The Ecopiggy Ecopacifier is made of sustainably sourced natural rubber and is just one, hygienic single piece.
Best for Breastfeeding Babies: The First Years Gumdrop
While all of the pacifiers on this list are great for breastfeeding babies, The First Years Gumdrop is a parent favorite. Made of latex-free silicone, these are lightweight and have a unique shape that ensures your baby can breathe safely. The round nipple is super breastfeeding-friendly and strongly imitates a natural nipple so that the baby doesn’t risk any confusion.
These pacifiers also come in a variety of colors, and there’s also an option for babies who are older than three months.
The First Years Gumdrop Newborn Pacifiers
The First Years Gumpdrop pacis are a unique shape to keep baby breathing safely and have a natural nipple to minimize confusion.
Best for Soothing: WubbaNub Infant Pacifier
What pacifiers are really meant for is soothing: The sucking motion is very calming for babies. But if they need another distraction, get them the WubbaNub. Not only are they meant to give the baby something to grab onto, but they’re also adorable.
The WubbaNub is one piece and has a few different animal options. The nipple is made of medical-grade silicone and is BPA-, latex-, PVC-, and phthalate-free.
Another advantage of the WubbaNub is that when the baby spits out the pacifier, they don’t fall to the ground as easily, keeping them a little more clean.
Wubbanub Infant Pacifier - Giraffe
The WubbaNub features a little stuffed animal that baby can hold and play with.
Best for Teething: Ryan and Rose Cutie PAT Pacifier
Babies who are teething are trying to chew on everything, and you might find that the paci just isn’t working out. That’s where a pacifier like Ryan and Rose Cutie PAT comes in. The Stage 2 option is made for babies with teeth while the Stage 1 is for babies without teeth.
These work as both a pacifier and a teething toy. The nipple can be tucked away when the baby wants to chew on something as the beaded soother feels great on their gums. Having one of these around is basically a teether and paci in one, which is ideal when you’re out and about and the baby is getting cranky.
This is also top-rack dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning and made of just one piece to avoid dirt and bacteria from collecting in little nooks and crannies.
Ryan & Rose Cutie PAT Pacifier Teether (Stage 2, Grey)
This Ryan and Rose Cutie PAT is a two-in-one teether and pacifier, making it a convenient option to have around.
Best for Travel: Doddle & Co. Pop Pacifier
Babies drop their pacifiers constantly. They spit them out, they throw them around, or they just let them fall out of their mouths. It’s a pain to keep them clean, especially when you’re on the go in a public place. This Doddle & Co Pop Pacifier is meant to help with that. It’s designed so that when it falls to the ground, the nipple pops inside to protect it from germs. It also makes it easy to throw in a bag because you can simply tuck the nipple away.
Doddle & Co, Pop Pacifier, Built-in Pacifier Case, Pops When it Drops Version, 2-Pack - Stage 1 for Ages 0-6 Months, Natural Nipple, Baby Infant (Grey/Lilac)
The unique design of this Pop Pacifier means the nipple pops into the cup whenever it falls to the floor, protecting it from germs.