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- Best pacifier for newborns: Philips Avent Soothie
- Best pacifier for breastfed babies: Nanobebe
- Best pacifier for bottle-fed babies: Dr. Brown’s HappyPaci
- Best pacifier for nights: MAM Perfect Night
- Best orthodontic pacifier: Chicco PhysioForma
- Best pacifier for sensitive skin: MAM Air
- Best all-natural pacifier: Natursutten Original
- Best pacifier for teething babies: RaZbaby RaZ-berry Teether
- Best pacifier for toddlers: NUK Orthodontic
- Most stylish pacifier: Itzy Ritzy Sweetie Soother
- Most unique pacifier: Boon Jewl
- Best pacifier with clip: Dr. Brown’s Advantage with Clip
- Best pacifier for travel: Doddle & Co. Pop & Go
- Best dual purpose pacifier: WubbaNub
- Best dual purpose pacifier runner-up: Ryan & Rose Cutie Pat
Whether you call it a binky, soother, dummy, or bo-bo, a pacifier can be absolutely essential in the first year. Babies have an innate need to suck and a pacifier has the power to help calm and even drift your baby off to sleep, giving new parents a moment to come up for air.
With so many options, though, you may wonder what size, shape, and material is best for your little one. That’s where we come in.
How we chose
The following pacifiers earn high marks for quality, safety, and style. Some were designed by dental professionals and pediatric specialists. And others are, well, just darned cute.
We also weighed reviews given by caregivers who use these specific pacifiers with their babies. It’s important to note that little ones take to different pacifiers for different reasons. So, what works for one baby may or may not work for yours.
While some pacifiers listed below are sold in multi-packs, we used price symbols according to the cost for one paci:
- $ = under $5
- $$ = $5–$10
- $$$ = over $10
Parenthood’s picks of the best pacifiers
Best pacifier for newborns
Philips Avent Soothie
Key features: There’s a reason this pacifier looks familiar — it’s probably the one you received from your hospital. (It also happens to be a bestseller with rave reviews on Amazon.) The silicone, one-piece design is BPA-free, as well as durable and easy to clean.
Parents like that there’s a space in the nipple where you can place a finger for added comfort. And a few note that this pacifier isn’t fancy, but it’s safe, affordable, and easy to find at most stores.
Considerations: Some reviewers say that these pacifiers don’t stay in tiny babies’ mouths very well. Others say this pacifier is “just OK” and that their babies seem to prefer other models on the market.
Best pacifier for breastfed babies
Key features: The Nanobebe was designed specifically to decrease the chance of nipple confusion. It’s shaped so that it will stay in baby’s mouth and the silicone is flexible so it forms to your child’s face. The one-piece construction is simple and effective, and parents like that it is compact and fits even the smallest babies well.
Considerations: A few people say the nipple on this paci is somewhat hard/firm compared to others, like the Soothie. Other reviewers share that the nipple is shorter than on other pacifiers, so it’s kind of hit or miss whether or not baby will immediately accept it.
Best pacifier for bottle-fed babies
Dr. Brown’s HappyPaci
Key features: Do you use Dr. Brown’s bottles? The HappyPaci’s nipple is shaped like the nipples on their bottles, so your baby may be more apt to take something that’s familiar. This option is silicone and all one piece. It also features a butterfly-shaped face shield that is meant to curve away from baby’s nose.
Considerations: Some reviewers share that this pacifier tends to pop out of their babies’ mouths because it’s somewhat heavy. Others say that the base of the nipple is wider than the bottle nipples, so whether your little one accepts it may not be such a sure thing.
Best pacifier for nights
MAM Perfect Night
Key features: A nighttime pacifier — yeah, that’s a thing. What makes this MAM model smart for overnights is its glow-in-the-dark design that makes it oh-so-easy for parents (and older babies) to find. The nipple on this paci is also more flexible and thinner than the average, so it may put less pressure on baby’s developing mouth and jaw.
Considerations: Some reviewers say the silicone may be too thin on these pacifiers and that they break easily (especially if your child has teeth), which could be a potential choking hazard overnight.
Best orthodontic pacifier
Key features: The PhysioForma is a popular orthodontic choice, which basically means that its nipple is slightly curved/flattened to facilitate better positioning of the tongue against the palate. It also has small ridges and a shape that helps guide the tongue into good placement.
It’s made from silicone and is all one piece for ease of cleaning and safety. Bonus: This paci was developed by a panel of neonatologists, pediatricians, and orthodontists.
Considerations: Reviewers share that the ring of this pacifier is quite large and can be cumbersome for babies, especially during sleep. Others say the shape isn’t a hit with breastfed babies. And another common complaint is that the material attracts lint and fuzz.
Best pacifier for sensitive skin
Key features: If your bub’s skin gets irritated easily, you might want to try MAM’s Air pacifier. The face shield is mostly open, which allows the skin underneath to breathe more than traditional pacis. The front features a cute design and the symmetrical orthodontic silicone nipple is textured to feel more like the breast. It even comes with a bonus sterilizing case.
Considerations: This paci is highly rated, but some customers share that the silicone cracks and tears easily. Others say that the design is smart for skin but hard for little ones to grasp. And with regard to cleaning, some reviewers say that the nipple traps water.
Best all-natural pacifier
Natursutten Original Pacifiers
Key features: Unlike many silicone models on the market, the Natursutten is made from the rubber of Hevea brasiliensis trees. The manufacturer notes that it’s free of BPA, PVC, phthalates, chemical softeners, and artificial coloring. This pacifier is also available in both rounded nipple and orthodontic options.
Considerations: Reviewers say this paci is a hit with breastfeeding babies and that they like the one-piece design. But critics of this pacifier say that it lacks longevity for the price. Others cite that it tends to crack when boiling to sterilize. And quite a few people said they have trouble keeping this pacifier in their babies’ mouths due to the size.
Best pacifier for teething babies
RaZbaby RaZ-berry Teether
Key features: Is your little one cutting teeth? They may want to switch from sucking to gnawing. The RaZ-berry teether is a familiar shape but replaces the nipple with a textured silicone nub for chewing. The shape lets babies chew without having to hold something.
Considerations: Some people say that this teether is too big for babies under 6 months old. Others say to watch carefully because it’s not all one piece. This means it can potentially break and become a choking hazard. Although the manufacturer says this paci can be frozen, it’s generally recommended not to freeze teething objects for babies; consider chilling it in the refrigerator instead.
Best pacifier for toddlers
Key features: Most pacifiers come in larger sizes to suit older babies, so be sure to read your labels. The NUK Orthodontic paci specifically comes in a size that fits ages 18 to 36 months comfortably. Its nipple is designed to support healthy tooth alignment and a natural sucking motion. This option also has cute designs and an easy-to-grasp handle.
Considerations: Some reviewers don’t like the two-part design, explaining that water can collect in the nipple. Others share that the sizing may not be consistent with other types of NUK pacifiers.
Most stylish pacifier
Itzy Ritzy Sweetie Soother
Key features: If you’re looking for a pacifier that matches any outfit or mood, try the Itzy Ritzy. The one-piece silicone construction is easy to clean/sterilize and comes in a wide variety of coordinating colors. In addition, the handle comes in either a braided or bow design for extra flair. The nipple itself is rounded and appropriate for teething babies as well.
Considerations: Most of the reviews for this pacifier are positive for both looks and function. A few people say the silicone seemed too thin to work for teething. And a couple people noted that theirs had an odd musty odor out of the box.
Most unique pacifier
Key features: Developed by a pediatric dentist, the Jewl is designed for budding oral development. Its silicone nipple is shaped like a gem to help coax your baby’s tongue into proper placement. Its face shield is flared with a narrow neck that allows baby’s jaw to move naturally. Its one-piece body makes cleaning and sanitizing simple and it also comes in fun jewel tones.
Considerations: Most reviewers share that this pacifier is constructed of quality materials and looks cool. However, many are also quick to say that the Jewl isn’t a great choice for young or smaller infants — it makes some babies gag because it’s much bigger than other types of pacifiers they might be used to.
Best pacifier with clip
Dr. Brown’s Advantage with Clip
Key features: The Advantage pacifier is a symmetrical design so it can be positioned easily by your baby. The rounded nipple is made from silicone and the plastic face shield is open enough to let your little one’s skin breathe. The included strap loops onto the paci and the metal clasp secures to bibs or clothing.
Considerations: Pacifiers with clips are somewhat controversial. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) doesn’t rule out clips, but notes to never tie a pacifier to your child or crib (seriously — don’t!). The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education (NRC) says to not use them entirely. If you do use a clip, make sure it’s under your supervision.
As for this product, reviewers say that water and soap can easily get caught in the nipple of this pacifier since it’s not all one piece. A couple others share that the clip broke soon after using it.
Doddle & Co. POP & GO Pacifier
Key features: This Pop & Go pacifier folds into itself to create a built-in case — super helpful if you’re out and about and don’t want to constantly wash dropped nipples. Recommended for ages 3 months and up, the one-piece, silicone construction is easy to clean and dishwasher safe. The nipple on this binky is also thick and firm — great for teething babies.
Considerations: Some reviewers said their babies didn’t like this pacifier, possibly because it’s thicker and larger than other models on the market. Note that the Pop & Go is supposed to stay open, as opposed to their stage 1 model, which pops in when dropped.
Best dual purpose pacifier
Key features: You’ve probably seen a super cute pacifier with a stuffed animal attached to it — and chances are, it’s a WubbaNub. The included lovey, which helps the pacifier stay in baby’s mouth, makes this pacifier a great gift to give and receive. And you’ll be happy to know that the included pacifier is actually the trusted Philips Avent Soothie.
Considerations: While highly rated, the main beef with this product is the ease of cleaning. You cannot take the pacifier off the stuffed animal to wash in your dishwasher, which means you’ll need to replace the whole thing frequently. A few reviewers also say that the stuffed animal doesn’t keep the paci in place as well as they would have hoped.
Best dual purpose pacifier runner-up
Ryan & Rose Cutie Pat
Key features: The Cutie Pat is both a pacifier and teether ring in one. The silicone body is all one piece with a nubby handle designed for chewing on. The nipple can also be tucked away if your baby wants to use it exclusively as a teether. This paci also comes in a wide variety of beautiful colors.
Considerations: This pacifier is a bit more expensive than others on the market and some reviewers share that the nipple itself seems thin. A few others say that their babies didn’t take to sucking this pacifier like they did to less expensive ones.
Pros and cons of pacifier use
Like all things, there are pros and cons to using pacifiers. Here’s some help sorting out the benefits versus the potential risks of popping a paci.
- Soothes cranky babies. Sucking can help provide some calm in those witching hours.
- A good distraction tactic. Need to get shots or another medical procedure? A binky may help draw your babe’s attention away long enough to get it done sans tears.
- Lulls little ones to sleep. With all the soothing action, your baby may even settle down better while sucking (notice how they get groggy at the breast or bottle? Same idea applies here.) Note that pacifier use does not necessarily help with length of sleep or nighttime wakings — just calming down to sleep.
- Reduces risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) says that pacifier use — along with placing your baby on their back to sleep — during nap times and at night lowers the risk of SIDS, which tends to be highest in the first 6 months.
- Helps with ear discomfort during air travel. Is your baby ready for takeoff? Sucking on a pacifier may help them relieve pressure build-up during flights (you can’t exactly tell them to yawn or swallow to pop their ears otherwise).
- Can be tossed. Unlike your baby’s thumb or fingers, you can simply throw away a pacifier when it’s time to break the habit. Of course, it’s not always quite that easy — but you get the idea.
- May lead to “nipple confusion.” Some babies may get accustomed to an artificial nipple over the breast, which can interfere with breastfeeding. If you’re concerned, experts recommend waiting until your baby reaches 3 to 4 weeks old before offering a pacifier.
- May lead to dependency. All those soothing and sleeping benefits are great… unless your toddler cannot sleep or soothe any other way.
- May increase risk of middle ear infections. The AAP notes that reducing pacifier use after 6 months may also reduce the number of ear infections. Though this may only be a problem if you have a recurring issue with infections.
- May lead to dental issues. The American Dental Association notes that both thumb sucking and pacifier use can lead to improper growth of the mouth and teeth alignment. The ADA says parents should discourage thumb sucking by age 4, and it’s likely a good idea to ditch the binky by then, too.
What to look for while shopping for a pacifier
Head still dizzy with options? Break it down by what you need versus what you want (or do both!). There are certain features that many pacifiers share. Others differ in other ways.
Consider the following features:
There’s the classic rounded, the orthodontic, and even more unique shapes. Some brands share shapes with bottle nipples. Others might work better for breastfed babies. And others may just be your baby’s preference. Finding the right shape for your baby may take time.
Pacifiers tend to be made of a few materials — silicone, rubber, or latex. Silicone is most common. Some babies may be allergic to latex. Rubber is natural, but it may break down faster. As well, some materials are transparent/translucent while others are opaque.
The AAP notes that the safest pacifiers cannot come apart. Face shields should be ventilated, and they should be large enough so baby can’t take the entire thing in their mouth.
Most pacifiers come in different sizes to suit the size/shape of your baby’s mouth as she grows. Try to choose the one that corresponds with your baby’s age or as otherwise directed by your pediatrician.
On the flip side, if the extras excite you, go with it. Features like open face shields to help with sensitive skin or glow-in-the-dark images may actually be practical for your lifestyle.
Some pacifiers are all one piece and material. Others are a blend of two. One piece may be easier to clean and is less of a choking risk.
There’s a wide range here. Don’t break the bank buying different pacifiers with unique features if you think the basic nipple shape will work. In the end, it’s more about the function than the fashion.
Related: Want to reduce your baby’s allergy risk? Try sucking their pacifier
What to do when your baby won’t take a pacifier
If you want to give it your best shot, Dr. Harvey Karp at Happiest Baby on the Block suggests a “sneaky” way of getting your little one to stay sucking. While your instinct may be to push the paci back into your baby’s mouth — try the reverse. Every time your baby does suck, gently pull the pacifier out. You may find they suck harder and keeps going.
You may even want to try a “bait and switch” approach to get them started. If you breastfeed, attempt to switch over to the paci at the very end of a feeding.
Here’s the thing: You may need to try a few different types of pacifiers before you find a match. And some babies may never take to sucking. That’s OK, too.
Whatever the case, aim to wean your tot from pacifier use before they reach age 4. You can try to quit cold turkey, provide an alternative comfort approach (like a stuffed animal or blanket), or try other methods, like having paci-free days or places, to wean more gradually.