The use of pacifiers is a very controversial topic. Many parents say that they never want to use them for their babies, while others say that they are lifesavers.
For those that do plan to give their babies a pacifier, you might be wondering how many pacifiers you need for the first year. In this article, I will guide you through:
- The number of pacifiers you need
- How to choose the correct pacifier
- The best pacifier brands for your baby
Please note, there are affiliate links in this post. Read my privacy & disclosure policy at the bottom of this page to learn more.
No, pacifiers are not essential. You can skip them if you want. However, there is no harm in using them.
Personally, all three of my children used pacifiers as babies, so I’m a big fan of them. They can help your baby sleep more peacefully and cry less often. Plus, studies have shown that the use of pacifiers reduces the risk of SIDS.
I recommended having at bare minimum 4 pacifiers on hand at any one time. Your baby can suck one while you sterilize the other. Moreover, they usually get lost, so it’s best to have some spares too.
If you have two floors, you might want some pacifiers for upstairs and some for downstairs. It’s also useful to keep one in your diaper bag and/or attached to the car seat strap.
With all these options, the number of pacifiers you need can add up. So, depending on the number of floors in your home and if you drive a car, you could end up wanting up to 6-8 pacifiers in rotation.
Now, besides needing 4-8 pacifiers, you should also consider that you will purchase larger pacifiers after your baby reaches around 6 months of age. Additionally, you will have to replace pacifiers that get damaged, lost, or just start to get gross in general.
This means you will likely need about 12-20 pacifiers total during your baby’s first year.
For newborn babies, I recommend purchasing two different brands of pacifiers. This way you can see what your baby prefers and buy more of this type once you know what your baby likes.
Once you know your newborn’s preferences, I would have 4-6 pacifiers available.
I recommend picking two different brands of pacifiers and registering for them. Typically there are 2-3 pacifiers in a package so you should add a total of 4-6 pacifiers to your baby registry.
The reason I recommend this is you will be able to see which brand and type of pacifier your baby prefers before investing in ones he will not use. Make sure you pick pacifiers that are sized for newborns.
0-3 month pacifiers are made for newborns. As described above I recommend having 4-6 pacifiers on hand in the 0-3 month size to start.
If you find ones your baby prefers and would like more, then you can purchase them after your baby arrives. The good thing is pacifiers are not ultra expensive.
Again, I recommend seeing which pacifiers each twin prefers. You can start with 2-3 packages of pacifiers for twins. Each package should be a different brand or type.
If your newborn twins like the same pacifiers then you will need about 8 of them. If they like different ones then you will want at least 4 of each type.
In the case that your twins do like the same pacifier and you don’t want them to share them, a good tip is to buy different colors or designs so they don’t get mixed up.
Pacifiers are available in different sizes and shapes, but they are sized by your baby’s age. So you can use your baby’s age as a guide and buy or register for ones based on how old your baby is.
Do keep in mind that other factors might need to be considered, such as the baby’s size when finding the right size pacifier. Some babies grow at a faster rate than others and some are big or small for their age.
Before we move on, be sure to grab your FREE printable Baby Registry & Pregnancy Checklists by filling in the form below. Learn which must haves to put on your baby registry and when to complete items in each trimester of your pregnancy.
A few reasons have already been discussed on why to use them. Here is a more detailed list on the benefits of using pacifiers.
Have you seen babies sucking on their thumbs to enjoy their free time? Many babies are very happy when they are sucking on something.
A pacifier can help soothe a crying or fussy baby. It is said that sucking reminds newborns of the womb, so they feel comfortable when sucking on a pacifier.
Helps Babies Sleep
Pacifiers help settle babies, which allows them to fall asleep sooner. It doesn’t only help with falling asleep, but babies might sleep longer and more peacefully while using a pacifier.
Reduces The Risk Of SIDS
The use of pacifiers during sleep hours may reduce the risk of SIDS. One study states:
“…we recommend that pacifiers be offered to infants as a potential method to reduce the risk of SIDS. The pacifier should be offered to the infant when being placed for all sleep episodes, including daytime naps and nighttime sleeps.”
Distracts From Pain
Pacifiers can be a great distraction, which is specifically helpful when your baby is in pain or has discomfort. For example, you could use a pacifier during a medical examination to keep your baby from crying.
Pacifiers can also help with getting babies to sleep at night when they are teething.
Of course nothing is ever all positives with no negatives. Besides the benefits, pacifiers also have some negative impacts on babies which are listed below.
- Dependency – baby becomes too dependent on pacifiers
- Sterilization – pacifiers get sterilized multiple times a day
- Dental Issues – pacifiers may cause dental problems if used as your baby gets older
- Ear Infections – the risk of ear infections increases
- Weaning – weaning your baby or toddler from the pacifier can be difficult
There are a good variety of pacifiers available on the market. I’ve put together a list of the best pacifiers (including some of my favorites) by type.
A soothie is actually a kind of pacifier that is one piece of molded silicon. Therefore, it does not have small parts. Other pacifiers are typically three pieces containing a nipple, face shield, and handle.
My personal recommendation for this type of pacifier is the Philips Avent soothie pacifier. It is the most common pacifier used in hospitals for newborns and it adheres to American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines.
Two out of three of my babies loved these pacifiers too. The Philips soothie is comprised of latex-free and BPA-free silicone. Its orthodontic design does not interfere with a baby’s natural teeth development. It is also dishwasher safe, so you can sterilize it easily.
Orthodontic pacifiers are designed to prevent dental problems in babies. The orthodontic nipple supports the jaw, the palate, and natural tongue movement.
Orthodontic pacifiers are great for breastfeeding babies because their nipples mimic the natural shape of breasts. That information is actually kind of interesting to me because my daughter who was the most resistant to nursing is the one who loved these, and ONLY these, types of pacifiers.
I recommend the NUK Comfy orthodontic pacifiers. They are made of 100% medical-grade silicone. The breast-like nipple fit’s the baby’s palate and promotes healthy oral development.
The pacifier shield is heart-shaped and fits perfectly under a baby’s nose. It is available in different cute colors too.
A lovey is something a baby bonds with and uses as a comforting object. A lovey pacifier is a pacifier that is attached to any object, such as a stuffed toy or teething rings.
The lovey pacifier helps keep a baby entertained and the stuffed toy attached to the pacifier keeps it in place. It also makes it easy for babies to find and suck the pacifier. You have probably seen quite a few parents walking their babies in strollers with these types of pacifiers.
The Philips AVENT soothie snuggle pacifier is an excellent choice. The pacifier is made of medical-grade, BPA-free silicone. The stuffed toy is small and easy for a newborn to hold and play with.
The pacifier is easily detachable from the stuffed toy. You can wash the toy by hand or in a washing machine. Another great feature is the choice of stuffed animals including an elephant, giraffe, koala, or monkey.
An open-shield pacifier consists of a shield that has holes in it. It allows the skin to breathe and is perfect for babies with sensitive skin.
The shield shape is suitable for a baby’s nose and chin, and the airflow keeps the baby’s skin from getting irritated. The highly regarded MAM Mini Air pacifiers have a symmetrical shape so it doesn’t matter if the pacifier turns over.
The nipple is made of BPA-free silicone, and its shape is suitable for proper jaw development. These pacifiers also come with a sterilizing storage case.
As the name suggests, a closed-shield pacifier has a shield that does not have large holes. It does not allow too much airflow, but it fits perfectly and reduces the risk of a pacifier falling again and again.
The Nanobebe Baby pacifiers are orthodontic and curved pacifiers that provide a perfect fit, while also providing enough space for the nose to breathe. Nanobebe pacifiers have perfectly soft nipples that mimic mom’s breast, thus reducing nipple confusion for breastfeeding babies.
This pacifier is one piece and it meets the American Academy of Pediatrics standards. Like other pacifiers on this list, it is BPA- and silicone-free. Plus, the company offers a 100% money-back guarantee.
There are pacifier accessories available, but please keep in mind you do not necessarily NEED them. Some of these items can be super helpful though. We will discuss them below.
Pacifier clips are designed to keep the pacifier near your baby. These clips provide babies easy access to pacifiers. You can use these to clip a pacifier to their clothes, car seat strap, or other objects they sit in.
Babies tend to drop their pacifier over and over. These clips prevent the pacifier from falling on the ground, so you don’t have to sterilize it multiple times a day. In addition, pacifiers are less likely to get lost when clipped to something.
My favorite use (and the only way I used them) was clipping a pacifier to the infant car seat. That way whenever we went out I didn’t have to worry about remembering to bring a pacifier.
Pacifier clips are available in different colors and designs, which can make things a little bit more fun.
You can put pacifiers in pacifier holders when they are not being used. This helps to keep pacifiers clean and reduces the amount of germs that can accumulate on a pacifier. I didn’t use pacifier holders around my house, but I used one for my diaper bag where I kept a backup pacifier.
If you think you want some pacifier holders, I recommend the Nuanchu Pacifier Holder Case Set. It contains four pieces – two silicone cases with a zipper and two transparent boxes. You can also use pacifier holders to hold other small things like bottle nipples, keys, or earphones.
You can introduce a pacifier at any age starting from birth. However, if you do plan to breastfeed, it is best to wait until your baby is at least a few weeks old.
This is because babies develop a nipple preference, so there are chances that your baby will prefer a pacifier nipple and have a hard time breastfeeding. It is important to ensure that both baby and mom have adjusted to a nursing routine before introducing a pacifier.
As you probably determined above, yes you can give a breastfed baby a pacifier. But as mentioned, wait a few weeks until your baby settles down into a feeding routine.
Moreover, it’s best to choose a pacifier that has soft and natural-shaped nipples designed for breastfed babies, such as the NUK Comfy orthodontic pacifier.
Babies who use a pacifier should still consume a normal amount of milk and grow at a regular rate. Pacifiers DO NOT suppress hunger.
However, pacifiers may mask hunger cues. As a result, you may have difficulty understanding when your baby needs a pacifier or is hungry.
Sterilizing a pacifier before using it is absolutely necessary – especially for newborns. Your baby will be sucking on it, so you need to ensure that it doesn’t have germs to prevent your baby from becoming sick.
You can use a sterilizer or boil it in water for at least 5 minutes.
This is a loaded question because every parent will have a different answer to this. The AAP recommends weaning by 4 years old. Personally, I think it’s best to wean from a pacifier before 3 years old, but if you can do it sooner then go for it.
If your baby uses the pacifier for a long time, it will be harder to wean. You will also want to consider if your child is going to school. In this case it might be best to wean before it starts.
Figuring out how many pacifiers you need at the different stages of your baby’s life can be tricky. But now you know how many you need, how to use them, and why you would choose to use a pacifier.
A pacifier can become a lifesaver for parents. If you plan to use them, it is a good idea to add a couple different shapes and sizes to your baby registry list.
It’s best to have 4-6 pacifiers on hand at any one time. Make sure you choose a pacifier according to your baby’s age and preferences.
We reviewed different pacifier types along with recommendations for the best ones. Hopefully, that list is helpful, and you can find the best option for your baby.
Finally before I sign off, if you are expecting you might also be interested in these printable pregnancy resources listed below.
- Pregnancy Checklists – (6) simple, printable checklists so you know what to get done before your baby arrives
- First Time Mom Pregnancy Planner & Journal (Printable) – stay organized and track your pregnancy
And you might be interested in these other baby gear articles too: