In case you’re wondering, yes – you should buy a pacifier for your baby, and the only question left is how many pacifiers do I need? Pacifiers are amazingly effective at soothing and calming babies (it’s right there in the name!) and helping them fall asleep and stay asleep. For that alone, they’re worth their weight in gold.
Does my baby need a pacifier?
Consider this. Babies have a natural urge to suck (it’s what makes them ready to be fed right from birth.) Even when they’re not hungry, not having something in their mouth to suck on can be quite upsetting.
That’s why pacifiers are instantly calming. So yes, you need a pacifier.
To be fair, some babies don’t really take to them. But I’d rather have a pacifier on-hand, than wish I’d had one. Even if you’re a bit of a minimalist, and don’t want to get things you don’t think you’ll need, pacifiers are baby essentials, and you’ll thank us when your little one is calm and soothed.
The biggest pro to pacifiers is their ability to calm your baby. (It’s right there in the name!) A calm baby means longer sleep too, in fact it was one of our secrets to getting a full night’s sleep by the age of 3 months. But there are also other surprising benefits to pacifiers.
- Lowered risk of SIDS
- Shorter hospital stays for preemie babies
- Pain reduction for routine procedures like immunizations.
There are more details on the many pacifiers’ pros and cons in American Academy of Family Physicians journals.
- Some babies demand a pacifier well into their toddler years, at which point it becomes hard to part with. Some doctors are also concerned with teeth development when pacifiers are used by older kids because they tend to pull on the gums.
- Some lactation consultants warm against pacifier use for nipple confusion. The concern is that if your baby gets used to a soother, they’ll have a hard time latching to be breastfed. While this is a legitimate concern, most moms have not had major problems with their baby switching back and forth.
- There’s a slightly increased chance of ear infection in babies who use pacifiers past the age of six months.
- Pacifiers fall out. Your baby’s pacifier will fall out when they stop sucking. This becomes extremely upsetting until your baby has enough motor control to put it back in. This little problem may turn your parenting job into “the pacifier fetcher.”
How to keep pacifier in mouth?
Once you give your baby their pacifier, give it a few tugs. Try to pull it out. Your baby will instinctively suck on it harder – like a little tug of war – which will keep it in their mouth longer.
That’s a little counterintuitive trick I learned from The Happiest Baby on The Block book.
Along with that, stock up on pacifier clips so that your baby’s soother doesn’t roll away when they drop it, and your baby can put it back in their own mouth when they’re ready to.
Also, consider a pacifier with an attached toy, like the WubbaNub. The toy will gently lie on top of your baby, and the soother will stay close to their face if they spit it out – giving your baby a better chance of getting it back in.
How many pacifiers do I need?
You need at least 2 pacifiers.
That way, if one gets dirty, or worse – lost, you have a backup.
If you’re asking how many pacifiers do I need, but you consider yourself more of a minimalist, we’d recommend you start with two soothers and see how you like it.
If you’re more of an over-preparer, we’d recommend you get a few varieties, and see which one your baby takes to. For some babies, finding the right pacifier takes a bit of trial and error, but it’s oh-so-worth it in the end. So you may need 4 pacifiers.
How many pacifier clips do I need?
I remember the day before discovering pacifier clips. We were in a doctor’s waiting room for hours and my little newborn would spit out his soother and then cry about it.
Of course it landed on the floor every single time.
And every single time, I’d have to march to the bathroom to thoroughly wash it before giving it back to him. Never again. Pacifier clips would have easily solved that problem.
This silicone pacifier clip by Itzy Ritzy is not only adorable, it will keep your baby’s pacifiers from rolling away, it’s sturdy, and easy to clean.
These cloth pacifier clips are cute, easy to use, easy to wash, and super-versatile.
So how many pacifier clips do you need?
If you’re getting simple cloth pacifier clips, we’d recommend you get 5. The truth is, they get covered in drool and spit up, and are pretty gross before the end of the day.
You could also get something sturdier and easy to clean, like a silicone pacifier clip, in which case just 1 should be enough.
WubbaNub pacifier with toy
The WubbaNubs are just adorable (and they come in multiple animal options) and will become your little one’s snuggly in no time.
We love that they use the Philips Avent soothie that’s easy to clean and recommended by hospitals.
But the biggest benefit to these pacifiers is that they won’t fall too far away from your baby’s face which will make it easier for your baby to put back in on their own.
Philips Avent Soothie
The classic Soothie is most recommended by hospitals. It uses hospital-grade silicone, and its one-piece construction makes the pacifier ultra-easy to clean and sterilize.
There are also several color options.
Chicco Silicone Pacifiers
These single-piece silicone pacifiers are a great alternative to the Soothie if you want and orthodontal pacifier shape.
There are also several color options.
Itzy Ritzy Orthodontic Pacifiers
And here are a few sweet, one-piece, silicone, orthodontal pacifiers for parents who just want something cute.
Choosing the right pacifiers
Now that we’ve answered how many pacifiers do I need, you’ll be surprised by how many options you’ll face in the pacifier aisle. They all seem so different, so how do you choose!
As a personal preference, we like:
- Single-piece silicone pacifiers as they’re easiest to clean.
- We stick to the bigger ones, for babies up to six months. (You probably don’t need an extra small pacifier unless you have a preemie.)
- The shape is a toss up. We had one baby that liked orthodontic soothers and one that didn’t. It honestly depends on the baby.
You will find different age categories on pacifiers. They correspond to different sizes. In most cases, buying an extra-small soother won’t be necessary, so go with 0-6 months. These pacifiers are not that big anyway. If your baby is extra-tiny or preemie, then you might want to go with the smaller option.
You will find two different types of pacifiers. Orthodontic pacifiers – that have a flattened shape that fits nicely into your baby’s mouth, and normal round ones. Both are good, and it’s really up to your baby.
The most common pacifier material is silicone, with latex and soft rubber being just as good.
We really recommend single-piece pacifiers. When you’re cleaning them, you know that germs won’t sneak into the little nooks and crannies.
At what age should my baby stop using a pacifiers
Most doctors, including the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend that you stop using pacifiers by the age of six months. Some parents find this extremely challenging though. Not to worry – as long as you don’t prolong pacifier use past 3 years, you won’t risk any dental damage.
Weaning off the soother can be hard, but after six months your baby might be more interested in being entertained than being soothed, so save the pacifier for less frequent situations.
TL;DR – How many pacifiers do I need?
Start with at least 2 pacifiers before your baby comes. If you like to be over-prepared, we recommend 4 pacifiers because you can have different varieties to see what your baby prefers.
Read more: How Many Bibs Do I Need? The Astounding Number Will Surprise You
How many pacifiers do we need?
Start with 2 pacifiers as the bare minimum. That way, if one falls down you still have a backup. If you want to be more prepared, get at least 4 pacifiers, because there’s a chance your baby will be picky about the shape.
Can you have too many pacifiers?
No, you can’t have too many pacifiers. They fall down, get dirty, and get lost. You don’t want to be stuck without one. However, you could also solve those problems by using pacifier clips.
How often should you replace pacifiers?
Pacifiers don’t need to be replaced that often as long as they’re intact. Just make sure it doesn’t have chips, cracks, holes, and it’s not damaged. A baby can use the same pacifier for an entire six months or more.
How long can one pacifier be used?
One pacifier can be used for six months or more as long as it’s not chipped, cracked, broken, or damaged.