Pacifiers have been around for centuries and their continued use and popularity are no surprise given their purpose of soothing a fussy baby. What parent doesn’t want a calmer, sleepier baby? Of course, pacifiers have come a long way since their earliest form and today’s best pacifiers take into account functionality, safety and even style. For breastfed babies, there’s another set of factors to consider, including nipple shape, texture and comfortability. Here are our 11 picks for the best pacifiers for breastfed babies.
The Best Pacifiers for Breastfed Babies
(Highest rated — $$)
Why it’s great: Sold as a set of two and available in an assortment of colors, these pacifiers have an exceptional customer rating from parents. The rubber nipple is soft and features a cylindrical shape intended to mimic a real nipple. This pacifier meets all ASTM safety standards and is made from thick, durable material that is latex-free. The one-piece design makes for easy cleaning, as well as lends to its elegant aesthetic. The shield features two large vent holes for breathability and the trendy braided handle is collapsible for convenience and safety.
Keep in mind: Some parents have said there is a distinctive smell to these pacifiers, so be sure to wash before the first use.
Good for: Picky babies who won’t take most pacifiers. Many parents report that this is the only pacifier their baby will use.
(Best value — $)
Why it’s great: Most parents will recognize Dr. Brown’s brand as an industry favorite for baby products and these pacifiers are no exception to their excellent reputation. There are several features that make this pacifier unique, including the nipple’s symmetrical design, which will fit in your baby’s mouth right-side-up or upside down. The perforated shield will not only prevent your baby’s sensitive skin from being irritated, but also encourages breathability, while the glow-in-the-dark feature is incredibly convenient for night-time use. Made from 100% BPA-free silicone, this pacifier is one of the best options in its price range.
Keep in mind: Be careful when washing this pacifier by hand, as some parents report that if soapy water gets inside the nipple, it’s hard to get out.
Good for: Bedtime use, as the glow-in-the-dark feature is very bright and makes it not only easy to retrieve, but easy to see your baby after putting it in their mouth.
(Best quality — $$)
Why it’s great: This pacifier features a stylish design, soft, yet durable material, and comes in a variety of unique colors. Ryan and Rosie is a trusted brand that consumers return to again and again for their high-quality products. While it’s one of the more expensive options on the market, this pacifier transitions to a teething toy so that babies can continue to use it as they develop. When used as a teething toy, the nipple tucks inside itself for an easy conversion. This pacifier is easy to clean and is designed specifically to avoid dirt and bacteria from collecting inside it. Parents will feel comfortable knowing this product is made with material that’s free of BPA, PVC, latex, and phthalates.
Keep in mind: Some parents say that compared to other pacifiers, this one is heavier and has a larger handle, making it a bit unwieldy for some babies to hold.
Good for: Babies who are transitioning into teething and need something durable to chew on.
(Easiest to clean — $)
Why it’s great: Medela is another trusted brand when it comes to all things breastfeeding. They’re well known for their breast pumps and accessories. So it’s a no brainer to choose their pacifiers, which have been specifically designed for breastfed babies. The nipple is shaped to support natural suckling and is safe for little gums and teeth. These come in a two pack with a sterilizing case, making it super easy to clean after each use. The one piece design, BPA free silicone, and holes for breathability make these pacifiers a great choice for breastfed babies.
Keep in mind: These come in clear or transparent colors, which can sometimes make them a little harder to find when they get dropped.
Good for: Parents that want an easy way to clean and sterilize their pacifiers.
(Most stylish — $$$)
Why it’s great: Made in Denmark, this pacifier has been on the market for over forty years, making it a timeless classic. Updated to include more advanced safety features, BIBS has retained its stylish aesthetic and effective design. 100% free from BPA, PVC, and phthalates, this pacifier imitates the shape and softness of a real nipple for maximum comfort and familiarity for your baby. The nipple is also designed to be reversible and hold its shape for lasting use. Available as a set of two and in a range of vintage-inspired colors, the BIBS pacifier is lightweight, breathable, and doctor and orthodontist approved.
Keep in mind: Some parents report quality issues so be sure to inspect your product before using it in case you need to exchange it.
Good for: High-needs children. Parents of babies with a wide range of special needs, including down syndrome, cleft lip, and colic, all report that this pacifier worked best for their child.
(Most eco friendly — $$)
Why it’s great: These pacifiers come in a two pack and have little koalas on the handle. The adorable design also adds texture, making it easier for little hands to grasp and hold. These one piece, silicone pacifiers are BPA, lead, and phthalates free. They also have holes for added breathability. The cool thing about these pacifiers is that the packaging is 100% recyclable, has a story about koalas and their habitats, and each purchase helps protect koala habitats in Australia!
Keep in mind: With the koala design, these are a little bit heavier, so best for 3 months and up or stronger babies.
Good for: Parents that like eco-friendly products.
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(Most natural — $$$)
Why it’s great: This pacifier has been designed for the most natural experience possible for breastfed babies. The silicone nipple is not only BPA-free, but is soft and flexible and resembles a natural nipple with a tapered bottom. Its rounded shape and supple feel ensure an easy transition between the breast and a pacifier. The unique shield design allows for ventilation while still providing a comfortable fit in your baby’s mouth and against their skin. Sold as a set of two or a set of four and in a variety of colors, the modern aesthetic of these pacifiers sets them apart from similar products by other brands.
Keep in mind: Some parents report that a baby’s finger can get stuck in the shield holes, so be sure to supervise your baby’s use.
Good for: Babies transitioning from newborn pacifiers as these are larger. These pacifiers have also been reported to work well for babies with tongue and lip ties.
(Best budget option — $)
Why it’s great: This two-pack of pacifiers are very low priced, making them perfect for parents on a budget or anyone that wants to buy a bunch to have on hand. They’re 100% silicone and BPA free, have ventilation holes for breathability, and are shaped just like a natural nipple, making the transition from breast to pacifier easier for your baby. They come in a clear design that’s outlined with different color options, so you can choose the color you like best. The shape of the pacifier contours around the nose and chin for a more comfortable fit. Plus, the silicone is very flexible, making it easier for your baby to keep it in their mouth.
Keep in mind: This does have a shorter nipple than most, which is great for preemies and newborns, but may not be long enough for older babies.
Good for: Preemies and newborns that gag on longer nipples from other pacifiers.
(Best for newborns — $)
Why it’s great: This pacifier by MAM, another popular brand for baby products, is well-liked by parents for its innovative design and versatility. The orthodontic nipple is medically engineered to feel as natural as a real nipple with textured silicone that is BPA-free. The symmetrical shape of the nipple also allows for reversible positioning and is excellent for jaw and teeth development. One of the best features of this pacifier, which comes as a set of two, is its self-sterilizing case, which allows parents to easily clean and use this product in less than three minutes, even on-the-go.
Keep in mind: This is another pacifier that can be hard to wash by hand as water can easily get trapped inside. Fortunately, these pacifiers come with their own sterilizing case for easy and effective cleaning.
Good for: Newborns and infants who are first starting to use pacifiers as the innovative design allows for universal use.
(Best for premature babies — $)
Why it’s great: This pacifier, also by MAM, is designed for infants 0-4 months. 32% lighter than other similar pacifiers, this product is an especially great choice for premature babies or smaller newborns. Like other products by this company, the innovative design of the nipple includes a soft and durable texture that helps the pacifier stay inside your baby’s mouth without slipping out. The nipple is 100% silicone and its symmetrical shape has been tailored specifically for newborn use. The curved shield provides maximum comfort, while small openings better allow your baby’s skin to breathe. This pacifier also comes with a self-sterilizing case, making it easy to clean effectively and efficiently.
Keep in mind: Some parents say that this pacifier’s design is too small for their baby to use, so be sure to only buy for infants 0-4 months as that is the age the product is intended for.
Good for: Like the other MAM pacifiers, this pacifier is optimal for newborns and is especially worthwhile for premature babies.
(Most awards — $)
Why it’s great: The Chicco PhysioForma pacifiers were created, tested, and approved by neonatologists, pediatricians, and orthodontists. They’ve won several awards, including the Mom’s Choice Award, so you know they must work well. The nipple on these pacifiers has a lateral curve, tiny ridges, and an inclined shape, which all support the proper tongue placement. The silicone nipple is BPA and Latex free and is soft and comfortable, making it easy for your baby to keep it in their mouth. These pacifiers also have 4 ventilation holes to increase breathability. Plus, they come in a two pack and with a sterilizer case, making them super easy to keep clean on the go.
Keep in mind: These are best for younger babies, as the silicone isn’t strong enough to withstand chewing from teething babies.
Good for: Parents that want a pacifier that’s mom approved, so they can feel confident it’ll work well.
FAQs about Pacifiers for Breastfed Babies
1. What are the benefits of giving a baby a pacifier?
Pacifiers can sometimes feel like a miracle fix for a fussy baby, but soothing is not all they’re good for. Studies show that using pacifiers can decrease the risk of SIDS, improve oral motor functions, and teach babies how to calm themselves down. Babies naturally want something to suck on and using a pacifier is a good way to give mom’s nipples a break, especially if her nipples are already sore from breastfeeding.
2. What are the risks of giving a baby a pacifier?
Using a pacifier may affect the way a baby latches to the breast, though many pacifiers are designed to mimic a natural nipple to avoid this. Some studies show that babies who use pacifiers have an increased rate of ear infections and prolonged or excessive use of a pacifier can affect oral development, particularly teeth and speech. If you have any questions or concerns about using a pacifier, be sure to check with your pediatrician.
3. Does using a pacifier affect breastfeeding?
It’s possible that early pacifier use may interfere with a breastfeeding routine. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting three to four weeks to introduce a pacifier to ensure you’ve established a good nursing routine with your little one.
4. How long should a baby use a pacifier?
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians advise reducing or stopping pacifier use at around six months to avoid the elevated risk of ear infections. Long-term pacifier use past the age of two years can increase the risk of orthodontic issues. General guidelines indicate that it’s best to phase out a pacifier by the end of a child’s first year.
5. What are the best practices for using a pacifier?
To avoid the spread of germs and bacteria, be sure to clean pacifiers often, either with a sterilizer, in boiling water, or in the top rack of a dishwasher. Be sure to use appropriately sized pacifiers for your baby to avoid choking or safety hazards. Make sure that your baby’s fussiness isn’t because he or she is hungry. Don’t use a pacifier in place of feeding or to extend the length of time between feedings, as that can disrupt feeding rhythms.
Finding the perfect pacifier for your baby can be challenging but the effort is worth the reward when your little one can soothe themselves into a dreamy sleep. It’s important to consider your baby’s age, size, and any special needs they may have when choosing a pacifier. Safety is another important factor, so be sure that materials are free of BPA and other harmful chemicals and that design elements take your baby’s health and safety into consideration. For breastfed babies, parents will want to find a pacifier with a nipple that has a natural texture and symmetrical shape to make the transition between breast and pacifier as seamless as possible.