Best Pacifiers

Updated November 2021
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Buying guide for best pacifiers

Pacifiers are lifesavers for new parents seeking a little peace and quiet. Pop a pacifier in the mouth of a crying baby and watch her soothe herself to sleep. Babies are born with a strong sucking reflex and sucking on a pacifier calms many fussy babies. For most parents, pacifiers are right up there with baby essentials like diapers.

Picking a pacifier for your baby is no simple task, however. You need to select an age-appropriate pacifier because a pacifier sized for a newborn won’t fit your six-month-old baby. There are one-piece and multiple-piece models, not to mention a few different types of materials to consider. There are also specialized models, like pacifiers that target teething babes, and popular orthodontic models that don’t interfere with teeth and jaw development.

While the choices for pacifiers can seem endless, this buying guide narrows down what’s important to know about these indispensable baby products, including expert tips. You’ll find our top pacifier recommendations above for the quickest shopping.

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A baby’s sucking reflex develops in the womb, and many babies suck their thumbs before they’re born. A pacifier offers babies something to suck on and has a calming, comforting effect.

Key considerations

Nipple shape

Round-tip pacifiers are classic pacifiers that mimic the shape of a nipple. They are also called “cherry nipples.” The tip is ball-shaped and has no right way up. This type is often recommended for breastfed babies to avoid nipple confusion. This is when a breastfed baby is unable to switch between a bottle/pacifier use and breastfeeding, which may result in nipple refusal.

Orthodontic pacifiers are designed to keep your baby’s top and bottom jaw in a position that doesn’t interfere with jaw development and growth. Some models have an angled nipple and only have one right way up. Other models are flattened at the bottom and round at the top and also only have one right way up.

Nipple material

Silicone is the most common material used for pacifier nipples. Silicone is a clear, firm material that’s easy to clean. It typically lasts longer than other nipple materials used for pacifiers.

Latex is softer and more flexible than silicone. It’s not as durable as silicone and babies with teeth may be able to chew through it, creating a choking hazard. Also, some babies are allergic to latex. Latex nipples may be yellow, orange, or a milky white.

Rubber is a plastic-free alternative that’s derived from a 100% natural material. Rubber nipples are softer than silicone and generally free of chemical softeners and other chemicals. Sourced from the rubber tree, these pacifiers are considered eco-friendly and biodegradable. Be aware that rubber contains latex.

Number of pieces

One-piece pacifiers are constructed out of a single piece of material. Because they can’t break apart into component pieces, one-piece pacifiers reduce the risk of a choking hazard.

Multiple-piece pacifiers have component parts – typically a nipple, shield, and ring – that are manufactured separately and combined together in one unit. Be aware that these pacifiers are a choking risk if they break because of the multiple parts.


Pick a pacifier size appropriate to the age of your baby. Depending on the brand, pacifiers are available in these common sizes: newborn (0 to 6 months, 0 to 3 months, or 0 to 2 months), 3+ months, 6+ months, 12+ months, 16+ months, or 18+ months.


The majority of pacifiers, both one-piece and multiple-piece, have a shield or guard attached to the nipple to keep the pacifier in the baby’s mouth. Shields range widely in shape, design, and color. This is generally the most decorative part of the pacifier. Aesthetics aside, all shields should have ventilation holes so that your baby can safely breathe.


A ring handle is a closed loop attached to the pacifier’s shield that makes it easier to retrieve the pacifier when it pops out of your baby’s mouth. A button handle is circular and flat, located at the center of the shield, and is easier for your baby to hold.


Toy attachments

Pacifiers with plush toy attachments make it easier for older babies to locate their pacifiers when they’ve fallen out of the mouth. Toy attachments also make it easier for parents to spot pacifiers when rifling through a diaper bag.


If possible, opt for pacifiers that don’t contain the chemical bisphenol A anywhere in the components (plastic shields are the most likely to contain this potentially harmful chemical). Some brands also manufacture their pacifiers without PVC and phthalates.

Specialty pacifiers

Some pacifiers are designed for teething babies or for introducing solids to your baby. Some models even combine both these functions in a two-in-one design.


Some pacifiers come with a carrying case to keep the nipple clean when not in use.

Glow-in-the-dark components

Glow-in-the-dark shields and handles make middle-of-the-night pacifier locating a whole lot easier.

"Sucking on a pacifier during a flight can help a baby’s ears pop and reduce earaches from the changes in air pressure."

Pacifier prices

Pacifiers are sold individually or in packs of two to four.

Expect to pay between $2.50 and $4.50 for a silicone or latex pacifier. These may have round-tip or orthodontic nipples.

Expect to pay between $7.50 and $12 for a natural rubber pacifier, with either a rounded or orthodontic tip. Specialty feeder pacifiers fall into this range as well.

The most expensive pacifiers feature toy attachments and range in price from $9 to $15.


  • Never tie a pacifier to a crib or around a baby’s neck. This presents a choking hazard. Also, use great care when using pacifier clips.
  • Keep an eye out for loose parts, deterioration, or cracks in a pacifier, and discard it if you find any flaws as these can also present a choking hazard.
  • Never place a pacifier that has dropped onto the floor back into your child’s mouth without cleaning it. Also, do not place it in your own mouth to “clean” it. This will only spread more germs to your baby.
  • Never use the nipple of a baby bottle in lieu of a pacifier. Your baby can potentially suck hard enough to pop the nipple out of the ring, resulting in a choking hazard.
  • Replace pacifiers frequently. They are designed to be disposable!
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Some “pop” models of pacifiers are designed to automatically retract the nipple into a protective shell the minute sucking action stops. This prevents the nipple from getting dirty if it falls onto the floor.


Q. When should I introduce a pacifier to my baby?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until breastfeeding has been established to avoid nipple confusion. It’s best to wait until your baby is three to four weeks old before introducing a pacifier.

Q. Is it possible that my baby won’t like any pacifiers?
Unfortunately, this is possible. Some babies just don’t like pacifiers and may prefer their thumb instead. It’s always best to try a few different types before ruling out pacifiers altogether. If your baby just isn’t interested, don’t force it.

Q. How do I clean my baby’s pacifier?
It’s important to thoroughly clean a pacifier before you introduce it to your baby and also periodically throughout its use. Until your baby is six months old, boil the pacifier or run it through the dishwasher (if the model is dishwasher-safe) to sanitize it while your baby’s immune system is still developing. After that, frequent washing with hot water and soap should do the trick.

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