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Pacifiers are generally used to comfort baby and they can be lifesavers for moms, especially if you have a fussy baby. But did you know that there are good, better, and best pacifiers for breastfed babies?
Why use a pacifier?
Babies have a natural instinct to suck and a pacifier can soothe, comfort, and pacify them. They can also stop babies from sucking their thumbs, which can be a very hard habit to break.
There are also some studies showing that pacifiers can help lessen the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Some even show the percentage of risk will be decreased by up to 90 percent. Other advantages of using a pacifier are:
To calm baby and distract them during vaccinations –
Aside from the pain baby will feel on the spot during a vaccination, they may also experience discomfort a day or two after so having a pacifier will help soothe and provide a distraction from this.
An aid to help baby sleep –
This is useful especially if your baby is not a good sleeper and this can also keep them from crying too much.
Flying with baby –
If you are on a flight, having a pacifier is useful to help baby’s ears pop because of the sucking motion. This will prevent any discomfort and help baby get through the flight more easily.
Fussy babies –
If your baby is a fussy baby, pacifiers can help change their mood and can help especially if you are out in public.
Colicky babies –
If your baby is experiencing colic, pacifiers can be a good distraction from any pain or discomfort that they are feeling and can also keep them from crying a lot.
If your baby is teething, sucking on a pacifier can help soothe and numb out the pain.
Oral fixations –
If you find your baby to always want to put their fist in their mouths or do sucking motions, they might need a pacifier to satisfy this urge to suck.
When to introduce a pacifier to breastfed baby
Generally, you should wait for around 3 to 4 weeks before giving your breastfeeding baby a pacifier or any bottle/artificial nipple. You could even wait until your breast milk supply has already been established around 6 to 8 weeks.
Giving a newborn a pacifier right from birth can cause an issue with how the baby will latch during breastfeeding so this time period of waiting is vital. In order to develop the proper latch, make sure the baby has already become familiar with breastfeeding.
However, if you and your baby are successfully nursing you can give it to them sooner. I personally gave my breastfed baby a pacifier from day one and he did great and nursed until 18 months!
Cons to pacifiers you should know about
May shorten breastfeeding –
If pacifier use is too early, there could be a decrease in exclusive breastfeeding or a shorter period or time overall of breastfeeding. This is why it is best to wait at least 4 to 6 weeks before giving your newborn a pacifier.
Inner-ear infections –
Your baby is at risk for inner ear infections around the age of 6 months to 2 years old as some studies show that this is a common problem. You can try removing the pacifier after the baby has fallen asleep as so to lessen this risk.
Prolonged use may cause dental issues –
if your baby is older than 2 years and still using a pacifier, their top and bottom teeth may not be aligned properly. You can always consult your dentist or doctor to check if your baby is developing these issues.
Weaning your baby off them could be difficult –
Depending on your baby, it might be tough to break the habit of using the pacifier and could take months.
Dirty pacifiers –
Since babies would keep on dropping pacifiers, especially if you are not at home, it can be difficult to clean them properly at that moment. Grab a pack of these pacifier wipes for your diaper bag.
When to replace pacifiers
Knowing when to throw out your baby’s pacifier and get a new one is vital to protect your baby and keep them safe at all times.
Here’s what you should look out for:
- The nipple is starting to tear
- Any part of the pacifier is breaking apart or becoming loose
- The nipple is sticky
- The pacifier has changed color
When to stop using pacifiers
Generally, it is recommended to stop pacifier usage when your baby hits 2 years of age. Most of the time, your baby will stop using them but you can also wean your child off them by trying the following:
For infants or younger children – you can swaddle them, rocking, listening to soft music, singing to them, or giving them a massage.
For older children – distract them from the pacifier using toys, objects like blankets, or special activities.
Picking the best pacifier for breastfed babies
When choosing the best pacifier for your baby, you would need to take these factors into consideration:
Size of Pacifier–
Make sure you pick a pacifier that fits your baby. Usually, they are categorized to group ages like 6 months and under, 6 to 18 months, and older than 18 months.
Some nipples are made out of latex and these are usually the softer kind but some babies may be allergic to latex. Silicone pacifiers are the most common, are durable, and they are also dishwasher safe. Pick something that is BPA free as well.
This part of the pacifier is the one that keeps the baby from sucking the whole thing pacifier their mouths so they are very important. The size should be big enough to do this and it is generally around 1.5 inches or bigger.
Most babies prefer pacifiers that are soft and flexible.
How many pacifiers do you need?
Pacifiers can be easy to lose and hard to track especially with their size and your baby dropping them. In case you would lose one, you would have a backup and you wouldn’t have a cranky or fussy baby.
You can have at least 3 or four pacifiers on hand and you can also get the same style since your baby will be used to them and might not like a brand new kind/style that you are keeping on hand. Most pacifiers are quite affordable and it’s better to have more and be prepared than not have enough.
I remember with my first baby our pediatrician said I could “sprinkle” the crib with pacifiers. I would put 3-4 in there a night (once my baby was about 6 months) so he could more easily find a binky.
Pacifier Do’s and Don’ts
Keep It Clean! –
Do make sure the pacifier is always clean and sterilized. Depending on the kind, you can wash them using the dishwasher (make sure they are dishwasher safe) or boil them in hot water. Sanitize your pacifiers weekly to keep germs at bay.
Let The Baby Have Control –
Do let baby control how they use the pacifier and don’t force it on them if they don’t want to use it.
Establish Breastfeeding –
Do make sure that your breastfeeding routine is already solid, which can be around 4 to 6 weeks in order to ensure that you are not interrupting the breastfeeding process.
Right Size –
Do give your baby the right sized pacifier for them so that they will take well to it.
No Sweets Necessary –
Don’t put any sugar or sweet stuff on the pacifier to entice your baby since this could lead to cavities.
Don’t Delay Feeding –
Don’t depend on the pacifier as a tool to delay feeding time or replace your attention if it can be helped.
No Ties –
Don’t tie the pacifier to the baby, stroller, or anything else. This can be a strangulation hazard.
One Per Child –
Don’t use the same pacifier for different children. Try to designate a certain color/ style to a child so that they won’t end up using the same pacifier.
When should you NOT give your baby a pacifier
If your baby is having trouble gaining weight or breastfeeding, it may not be the time to introduce the pacifier since it could cause even more complications. It’s better to be safe and not risk it. If your baby is currently suffering through ear infections, you also may want to hold off giving the pacifier in order to prevent the issue from getting worse.
The Best Pacifiers For Breastfed Babies
Philips Avent Soothie –
These are seriously is SO convenient as your baby gets a little bit older and can grab things. I think every baby 6 months and up should have at least one!
Mam Air Silicone Pacifier (Sensitive Skin) –
Philips Avent Translucent Orthodontic Infant Pacifier –
First Years GumDrop NewBorn –
These silicone pacifiers come in a one-piece design meaning you don’t need to worry about different parts. They are also designed to not be too close to your baby’s nose giving them room to breathe easier.
NUK Newborn Silicone –
These pacifiers are great for babies with colic since the shape is supposed to soothe babies more. The shape was made to also naturally fit into their palate preventing any dental development issues to arise.
MAM Newborn Start –
The nipple is really soft like a mothers nipple which is good for babies up to two months old. There are also holes on the shield which makes your baby breathe easier. There’s a button at the end of the pacifier that makes it easier for your baby to grab.
Philips Respironics Wee Thumbie –
These are great for babies less than 30 weeks old (gestational age) or preemies since they were designed to soothe very small babies. The pacifiers design was made to be like a preemie thumb’s size and shape. It also helps babies to learn the sucking motion.
Pacifiers are made to help soothe your baby and can be a huge relief to us mamas. There are a lot of pacifiers you can choose from to suit your baby’s needs, but these are what I think are the best pacifiers for breastfed babies.
Make sure you are using the pacifier in the right way to support your child and keep them happy, calm, and content.
Do you have a favorite pacifier that you used with your breastfeeding baby?