The 10 Best Pacifiers, According to Parents and Babies

Parents say these baby pacifiers are little lifesavers for sound sleep and soothing.

Pacifier
Photo: Nor Gal/shutterstock

A newborn's suck reflex is a real thing, innate and inborn. It ensures survival and is a source of comfort to an infant, which is why pacifiers can help keep a baby calm. The best time to start a baby on a pacifier is after you've established breastfeeding, if you'll be nursing. Then, using pacifiers at sleeptime has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS during a baby's first year.

When you're ready to pick out a pacifier, you'll want to get one that matches your baby's age. Beyond that, you have to cede some control to your baby. Just like it can take a few tries to match your baby to a bottle, you might need to rotate through a few pacifiers before you find the one that is magic in your baby's mouth.

Note that, like bottles, pacifiers can be cleaned and sterilized. For safety, you can give the nipple a little pull to be sure it's not separating from the shield—if it is, throw it away. Final safety note: Don't tie the pacifier to your baby, which presents a strangulation hazard. Yes, chasing down a fallen paci is annoying but since infants sleep on their back, there's a good chance that the pacifier will mostly stay in. By the time your baby is tossing around, they'll have the hand control to start to retrieve their own pacifier.

If you're worried about weaning your baby off a pacifier before you've even started, take heart that most toddlers grow away from their habit and become more interested in putting just about everything else in the world in their mouth. There are several strategies for pacifier weaning, but one rule you can establish early is that pacifiers are for sleeptime, not for playtime.

We rounded up ten favorite pacifiers, based on annual surveys of our readers, parent reviews, and editor picks.

Reader Favorite Pacifier: Philips Avent Soothie Heart

Philips AVENT Soothie Heart Pacifier
Courtesy of Amazon

For more than a decade this has been our readers' preferred pacifier. Now it comes in this adorable new heart shape as well as its traditional round version. Often introduced in maternity wards, the Soothie pacifier is made of hospital-grade silicone and contoured so it feels soft against your baby's face. The little dip underneath the nose ensures effortless breathing.

To buy: Philips Avent Soothie Heart Pacifier, $12 for four; amazon.com.

Best Pacifier For Newborns: Nuk Newborn Orthodontic

NUK Newborn Orthodontic Pacifier
Courtesy of Amazon

If you're starting a pacifier early, the teeny-tiny, smile-shaped NUK Newborn Orthodontic Pacifier may fit best in your infant's mouth and won't overwhelm their little face. The silicone nipples are shaped to appeal to babies who breastfeed. The colors of the shields come in soft design-free pastels. In short, these are a classic!

To buy: NUK Newborn Orthodontic Pacifier, $5 for two; amazon.com.

Best Pacifier for Toddlers: WubbaNub

WubbaNub Infant Pacifier
Courtesy of Amazon

Adorable—and super popular with older babies! A Mary Meyer WubbaNub combines your child's love for stuffed animals with their love of a pacifier, and there are a bunch of character options: lion, duck, deer, chicken, and this sweet llama. The plush makes the pacifier hard to forget or misplace, and easy for an older baby to grasp and manipulate independently. Reviewed as "easy to wash," and "durable," our reader survey reveals that parents who plan early and register for a WubbaNub are glad they did. (Warning: Always monitor your child as they use the pacifier, and don't let them sleep with it, to reduce the risk of SIDS.)

To buy: WubbaNub Infant Pacifier, $17.95; amazon.com.

Best Glow-in-the-Dark Pacifier: MAM Night Pacifier

MAM Night Pacifiers
Courtesy of Amazon

If the idea of trying to find a lost pacifier in the dark is intimidating, this brand has the genius solution. Parents note that this pacifier has a light glow all night long, making it easy for parents and babies to spot. It's available in cute prints that update regularly and, unique to the MAM brand, these pacifiers come with their own sterilizing case. Put a pacifier and some water in the case and pop it in the microwave for just a couple of minutes for easy sterilization.

To buy: MAM Night Pacifiers, $7.49; amazon.com.

Best Pacifier Collection: Tommee Tippee Pick-a-Paci

Tommee Tippee Pick-a-Paci Baby Pacifier Collection
Courtesy of Amazon

Because there are three pacifiers included in this Tommee Tippee collection, your baby can decide which one they enjoy best. Or if you get lucky and your kid takes to all three, you can use them for different purposes. Make the transition from breastfeeding easier with the pacifier most similar to a breast, with a round shield and skin-like texture. The ultra-light pacifier may be the easiest for an infant to handle, while the glow-in-the-dark one is nice at nighttime.

To buy: Tommee Tippee Pick-a-Paci Baby Pacifier Collection, $8.78 for three; amazon.com.

Best Pacifier for Sensitive Skin: Dr. Brown's Advantage

Dr. Brown’s Advantage Pacifiers
Courtesy of Amazon

A perfectly symmetrical shape allows these Dr. Brown's pacifiers to be placed in any direction-leaving questions of "is it upside down?" in the past. The ample ventilation holes in the shield let skin surrounding the mouth breathe to prevent redness or irritation.

To buy: Dr. Brown's Advantage Pacifiers, $9.88 for four; amazon.com.

Best One-Piece Pacifier: Chicco PhysioForma

Chicco PhysioForma
Courtesy of Amazon

This all-one-piece silicone pacifier is easy to clean and simple to use, plus it feels satiny-smooth against your baby's skin. The nipple shape and the dip in the shield both support easy breathing, especially during sleep..The angle of the nipple also ensures correct tongue placement for the growth of your baby's palate.

To buy: Chicco PhysioForma, $5.99 for two; amazon.com.

Best Natural Rubber Pacifier: Hevea Star & Moon Orthodontic

Hevea Star & Moon Orthodontic Pacifier
Courtesy of Amazon

Eco-minded parents like the idea of a pacifier made from a neutral, renewable resource. These plant-based rubber pacifiers are elegant and durable, without babyish colors or designs, so they appeal to minimalists as well.

To buy: Hevea Star & Moon Orthodontic Pacifier, $10; amazon.com.

Cutest Baby Pacifier: Itzy Ritzy Sweetie Soother

Itzy Ritzy Sweetie Soother Pacifier
Courtesy of Amazon

Available in a range of colors and designs, with braided and ridged loops and even some with petite bows, Itzy Ritzy's sturdy pacifiers hold less moisture compared to other pacifiers. Multiple reviewers note how appreciative they were to receive these as gifts. And they look adorable in baby photos!

To buy: Itzy Ritzy Sweetie Soother Pacifier, $8.99 for two; amazon.com.

Best Teether Pacifier: RaZbaby Razberry Teether

RaZbaby Razberry Teether
Courtesy of Amazon

Designed with teething babies and those with sore gums in mind, this RaZberry teether is also "easy for a baby to hold," according to one parent. Bumps resembling berry seeds actually work to calm gum irritation. Several reviewers recommend putting the pacifier in the freezer as an additional method for soothing gums.

To buy: RaZbaby Razberry Teether, $5.99; amazon.com.

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