The Best Pacifiers for Babies to Master Self-Soothing

Dr. Brown’s HappyPaci is our top pick for its contoured fit and one-piece design

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One of the items almost every parent of an infant relies on is a pacifier. Pacifiers can soothe a baby between feedings and help them fall asleep. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies are born with the instinct to suck, and it can be beneficial to offer a pacifier when a baby is first born. The AAP encourages giving babies a pacifier at naptime and bedtime throughout their first year to reduce the risk of SIDS, though nursing parents may want to hold off on introducing a pacifier for a few weeks, or until the baby has gotten the hang of nursing.

Reviewed & Approved

Our top pick, Dr. Brown’s HappyPaci, is a one-piece, BPA-free pacifier that is comfortable and safe for newborn babies. To reduce nipple confusion for breastfed infants, we recommend the Evenflow Feeding Balance pacifier which has a soft, flexible nipple that molds to the baby’s mouth.

Pacifiers come in a variety of sizes and nipple shapes, including those that mimic a human nipple and orthodontic pacifiers designed to prevent future misalignment of teeth. It’s also important to get a one-piece model with a large enough mouth shield to prevent choking.

“I would recommend a [pacifier that is] BPA-free, dishwasher safe and without pieces that can come off, posing a choking hazard," board-certified pediatrician Jen Trachtenberg, MD tells Verywell Family. We carefully considered her advice, plus design, materials, safety, and age recommendations when reviewing products. Still, babies will ultimately decide which pacifiers they like best, so it may take a bit of trial and error to find the right one for your child.

Based on our research, these are the best pacifiers on the market today.

Best Overall: Dr. Brown's HappyPaci Silicone Pacifiers 3-Pack

4.5
Dr Brown's HappiPaci in Blue

Amazon

Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Easy to clean

  • Contoured butterfly-shaped curve

Cons
  • Nipple piece on the long side

  • Handle is big

Dr. Brown’s HappyPaci is our top pick because its contoured shield has a butterfly shape that is made to comfortably fit your baby’s nose and cheeks with room to breathe. The one-piece design is safe, and the round, bulb-shaped nipple is soothing for babies. The small handle makes it easy to pop the pacifier into baby’s mouth and can be conveniently attached to a pacifier clip. 

This soft and lightweight binky is designed for babies newborn to 6 months. Made of 100% BPA-free silicone, the pacifier comes in two colors (blue and pink) and in two- and three-count packages. Bonus: It’s top-rack dishwasher safe, so it’s extra easy to keep clean. 

Best Soothing: WubbaNub Baby Yellow Duck Pacifier

WubbaNub Baby Yellow Duck Pacifier

Amazon

Pros
  • Easy to grasp

  • Variety of animal choices

  • Made with medical-grade silicone

Cons
  • Not safe for extended sleep

  • Not recommended for teething babies

If you are a new parent, you may have noticed these funny-looking pacifiers around and never really thought about them. This must-have registry item is a pacifier that has an attached stuffed animal which will not only help keep the pacifier in their mouth, but it also doubles as a snuggly toy for extra comfort.

WubbaNubs are connected to a Philips Avent Soothie, so you'll get everything you love about the Soothie but with an added furry friend. These come in an endless array of animals like lobsters, unicorns, and more.

This pacifier is suited for newborns until 6 months old or once they start getting teeth, which can damage the Soothie part of the pacifier. Technically speaking, the brand says that the entire product can be machine washed on gentle with an additional hand cleaning of the Soothie required. However, they suggest cleaning the plush and pacifier by hand if possible to preserve them.

Good to Know

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies should be placed into a bare crib to sleep, free of loose blankets, toys, and any other soft product. The Wubbanub should only be used during observed napping time and use during awake time.

Best for Breastfed Babies: Evenflo Feeding Balance Pacifier

Evenflo Feeding Balance Pacifier

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Promotes natural position of tongue

  • Cylindrical shape

  • Budget-friendly

Cons
  • Lost easily (clear design)

  • Nipple is too long for smaller babies

With accurate shape and flexibility, we found the Evenflo Feeding Balance pacifier to be one of the best pacifiers for breastfed babies between newborn and 6 months old. According to the brand, the pacifier has a cylindrical shape that is designed to mimic the tongue shape that baby has while nursing.

This similarity will help reduce nipple confusion, allowing you to establish breastfeeding without having to wait too long to introduce the pacifier (which can reduce the likelihood that your baby will accept one). We also love that these silicone pacifiers are one piece, making them easy to clean and less likely to fall apart.

Best for Newborns: Philips AVENT Soothie Pacifier

Philips AVENT Soothie Pacifier, 0-3 Months, 2-Pack, Pink/Purple

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • One-piece construction

  • Promotes natural development of teeth and gums

  • Dishwasher/sterilizer safe

Cons
  • Material is hard

  • Design doesn’t curve near nose

  • Light colors harder to find when lost

The Philips Avent Soothie is the one you’ll likely schlep home with you from the hospital after the baby’s born and there’s a reason for that: Not only are these excellent soothers for babies, but they’re made from medical-grade BPA-free silicone.

These top-rated orthodontic pacifiers come in packs of two, are very reasonably priced, and can be purchased in multiple colors. They’re durable, easy to handle, and easy to clean, too. The nipple is shaped similarly to the breast, which reduces nipple confusion.

Best for Older Babies: NANOBÉBÉ 3+ Month Pacifier

NANOBÉBÉ 3+ Month Pacifier

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Soft, flexible silicone

  • Ergonomic shape

  • BPA- and phthalate-free

Cons
  • Easily collect hair, lint, etc.

  • Small for some babies

  • Clear design harder to spot when misplaced

If you have a baby over 3 months on your hands, the Nanobebe 3+ Month Pacifier is a great choice. This extra-soft paci was designed to help prevent nipple confusion, easing your baby's transition to a pacifier. The ergonomic shape is made to fit comfortably around your baby's mouth, promoting healthy oral development. These binkies are BPA- and phthalate-free and come in four fun colors.

Easiest to Clean: NUK Comfy Orthodontic Pacifier 3-Pack

NUK Comfy Orthodontic Pacifier 3-Pack

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Unique, heart-shaped design

  • Top-rack dishwasher safe

  • Contours to baby's face

Cons
  • Easily collects fuzz

  • Too heavy for some babies

  • Some colors darker than they appear in person

We love the Nuk one-piece silicone pacifier for its unique, heart-shaped design. This allows it to sit comfortably under your baby’s nose, allowing proper airflow. The pacifier is also lightweight and easy for even the youngest babies to use. And we love that these are easy to clean, with a shape that prevents moisture from getting stuck inside, thus resisting mold growth.

Best Silicone: The First Years Gumdrop Newborn Pacifiers

The First Years Gumdrop Newborn Pacifiers

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Don’t cover baby’s nose

  • Available in bright colors

Cons
  • Pacifier material too hard

  • Too big for some babies

The First Years GumDrop silicone pacifier is similar to but slightly smaller than the Philips Avent Soothie. It’s our choice for the best silicone pacifier for its breastfeeding-friendly, unique shape that allows the baby to comfortably suck without covering their little nose.

This is a one-piece pacifier made of BPA-free, medical-grade silicone. And if the First Years GumDrop becomes your baby’s favorite, you’re in luck, since these come in larger sizes for older babies as well.

Final Verdict

From the newborn stage and up to six months, Dr. Brown’s HappyPaci, which earned our Best Overall pick, would be a great choice as your baby’s soother. It’s made from BPA-free silicone, lightweight, and safe for the sterilizer and dishwasher.

For families looking for a pacifier that’s easy to clean, check out the Nuk Comfy Orthodontic Pacifier. The pacifier’s shape resists moisture so it's less likely to grow mold.  

How We Selected the Best Pacifiers

We chose the best pacifiers by researching reviews from customers and competitors, and studying the features of more than a dozen products on the market. We considered price, design, special features, ease of cleaning, age recommendations, and material when deciding our picks. We also consulted with pediatrician Jen Trachtenberg, MD, while reviewing guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics on pacifier safety.

What To Look For When Shopping For Pacifiers

Age Recommendation

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies are born with the instinct to suck, since that is how they will get food, which means that you can start offering a pacifier to your baby as soon as they are born. Offering a pacifier at nap and bedtime during their first year may even help reduce the risk of SIDS.

Babies grow at a rapid pace, and a pacifier that works for a newborn will be too small for a 6-month-old. You’ll want to pay careful attention to pacifier packaging to ensure you’re getting the appropriate size for your baby. The pacifier’s base should have a soft nipple and be wide enough that your child cannot stick the whole thing in their mouth.

Nursing-Friendly Shape and Material

While you can introduce a pacifier to your baby as soon as they are born, the AAP recommends parents who are nursing wait until breastfeeding is “going well” first.

“Nursing moms often feel more comfortable introducing a pacifier after the baby has gained back the weight [they've] lost since birth,” Dr. Trachtenberg tells Verywell Family, “which usually occurs by 2 weeks of age.” 

If you’re nursing and shopping for pacifiers, you’ll likely need to try a few options and be extra patient because there will be some trial and error. Look for pacifiers that have a soft, flexible nipple that will somewhat mold to the baby’s mouth. Orthodontic pacifiers are designed to flatten in a baby’s mouth, the way an actual nipple does while nursing, so a breastfed baby may prefer this style. With that said, many breastfed babies take rounded tip pacifiers just fine. 

Design

When shopping for a pacifier, you’ll first want to consider which type of tip you think your baby would prefer. Unlike the aforementioned orthodontic pacifiers, traditional pacifiers have a rounded tip that tends to be a little easier for babies to suck on.

A major benefit of orthodontic pacifiers is that they are ergonomically designed to support a baby’s mouth while the palate and jaw develop. They can also be a little harder for a newborn baby to grasp, which isn’t ideal for soothing. Alternatively, while they may not go as flat in the baby’s mouth like an orthodontic pacifier, rounded pacifiers are typically still flexible enough to get somewhat flat, though they do not offer the same ergonomic, developmental support. 

Another important aspect of the pacifier’s design is what it is made out of. For the most part, pacifiers are made from either silicone, natural rubber, or latex. Latex pacifiers are the softest and most flexible but are quicker to wear down (and eventually bite through). Pacifiers made from natural rubber are usually very durable and are a great option for parents who want baby products to be as free of synthetic chemicals as possible. They often have a higher price tag than other pacifiers, however. Finally, silicone pacifiers are durable while still being soft.

You should also look at the overall construction of the pacifier, and opt for one that is one-piece rather than two because they are safer, according to the AAP. Additionally, doctors recommend thoroughly cleaning the pacifier frequently until the baby is at least 6 months old, and then still somewhat regularly, so pacifiers that are dishwasher safe are ideal. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What kind of pacifier is best for nursing babies?

    “There is no one right pacifier for babies," Dr. Trachtenberg says. “You may have to try a few different pacifiers to see what your baby prefers.” This is true whether your baby is bottle-fed or breastfed. However, caregivers with a nursing baby may want to try introducing an orthodontic pacifier with a silicone tip first because its flat design will likely feel similar to a nipple during feeding.

    If this isn’t working, then there is no reason not to try other materials and styles, and if the baby just won’t take a pacifier at all, the AAP says parents should not try to force it and instead explore other safe soothing options. 

  • When should I wean my baby from the pacifier?

    According to Dr. Trachtenberg, “there is no exact, specific time” parents should wean their baby from the pacifier, however, she encourages caregivers to start the process between 6 to 12 months because at that point the baby no longer has “as much of an urge for non-nutritive sucking,” and they're not yet so dependent on them for comfort, the way toddlers can become. If your child has frequent ear infections, studies show that weaning around 6 months can help to reduce frequency. 

    Weaning between 6 and 12 months old may not be an option for your child, and that’s OK. The AAP notes that kids who are still using pacifiers (or sucking their thumbs) by the time they are between 2 and 4 years old are more likely to have issues with their mouth shape or teeth alignment. However, the AAP also says that as long as a child kicks the habit before their permanent teeth come in, their bite may still correct itself on its own without a need for orthodontics.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Christin Perry has been writing for Verywell since October of 2018. Her work has also been published on Parents The Bump, The Knot, Qeepsake, LittleThings, Dwell, Scary Mommy, and more. 

Additional reporting by Ashley Ziegler.

Ashley Ziegler is a staff and freelance writer who covers lifestyle, home, parenting, and commerce content for a variety of platforms. She’s a mom to 1-year-old and 4-year-old daughters and an aunt to 3 nieces and 2 nephews ranging from 5 to 11 years old. In addition to regularly scouring the internet to find the best things for herself, Ashley spends multiple hours a week researching, comparing, and writing about products specifically for kids and families.

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Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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