The Best Pacifiers to Soothe Your Little One

Browse our pick of the safest pacifiers that help baby self-soothe.
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Updated June 20, 2023
close up of baby hand holding pacifier
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You’ve weighed the pros and cons and opted to give baby a pacifier. But now you’re faced with the decision of which one to get—and with the overwhelming selection of baby pacifiers these days, it can be a somewhat daunting task. Search around online or stroll down the aisle of your local baby store, and you’ll likely find a wide selection of baby binkies, each claiming to be the best pacifiers on the market. How does one even begin to choose—especially when contending with a crying baby who clearly needs to be soothed?

We’ve spent some time cross-referencing our editors’ favorite pacifiers with guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to bring you a list of the best pacifiers to buy right now. From newborn pacifiers and teething-friendly types to uniquely curved shields for the most sensitive of skin, these are the best baby binkies to stock up on for every stage of infant- and toddlerhood.

Types of Pacifiers

Believe it or not, there are different types of baby pacifiers to suit your child’s age and stage of development. The best pacifiers for newborns are not going to be the same as those you’d give to older tots with a full set of baby teeth. The materials vary as well, and while you may have a certain pacifier in mind for your child, in the end, it comes down to baby’s personal preference. Trust us: If they don’t like a certain pacifier, it won’t stay in their mouth for long. Here, check out the various types of pacifiers to consider:

  • Orthodontic baby pacifiers. This type has nipples that are flattened at the bottom and rounded at the top. During sucking, these pacifiers flatten in baby’s mouth, which provides the most natural sucking action and reduces pressure on developing teeth.
  • Round-tip baby pacifiers. Pacifiers with rounded tips are more traditional and most likely the kind you had when you were a child. The round design is supposed to mimic the shape and feel of an actual nipple, which is why these types of pacifiers are often suggested for breastfed babies—to take nipple confusion out of the equation.
  • Silicone baby pacifiers. Silicone pacifiers are durable, which can be a pro for longevity but a con if baby doesn’t love the more rigid mouthfeel that thick silicone has. This type also tends to be easier to clean, since they can handle boiling and sterilizing without breaking down. Silicone pacifiers are readily available and are usually a lot cheaper than rubber or latex iterations.
  • Latex baby pacifiers. This type is soft and flexible, which many children like, but the softness of the material also means there’s a potential for an older child with teeth to inadvertently bite off a piece of the nipple. Also worth noting: If there’s a chance your little one might have a latex allergy, it’s a smarter strategy to opt for a silicone pacifier.
  • One-piece baby pacifiers. These pacifiers are made out of a single molded piece of plastic, silicone or latex. The AAP recommends one-piece pacifiers, since the individual parts can’t easily come apart and minimizes the risk of choking.
  • Multiple-piece baby pacifiers. These are the most common types of pacifiers, but not necessarily the safest. Multiple-piece baby pacifiers usually consist of a nipple, a guard and a ring, and each of the components is manufactured separately before being combined into the traditional pacifier shape. If you do choose this type of pacifier, inspect them regularly for signs of wear and tear. If the nipple has changed color or torn, replace it with a new one.

Baby pacifiers come in many different shapes and sizes. Buying the right size and one that fits your mini’s preferences will make baby more likely to accept a pacifier and, most importantly, keep it in their mouth when they need it most.

What to Look for in a Pacifier

The truth is, baby will have the final say in which pacifier they’ll tolerate popping in their mouth when the going gets tough. Purchase a few different options, or even add them to your baby registry if your baby shower is around the corner, and try them all until you find one that baby likes.

Before you create a binkie wishlist, consider factors like your child’s age and whether you’ve been breast- or bottle-feeding them (or what you’re planning for the future). Then choose a selection of pacifiers that aligns with what they’re already used to. If you’re nursing, you can also enlist the help of a lactation consultant for suggestions on the best pacifiers. In terms of the pacifier itself, you’ll want to pay special attention to:

  • Size. Pacifiers aren’t a one-size-fits-all accessory. If you’re buying a pacifier for a newborn or an infant under 6 months, you’ll want to prioritize options that are small and not too bulky, so they don’t overwhelm baby’s little mouth. You also don’t want it to be so small that it poses a choking hazard. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s (AAPD) policy on pacifiers recommends options with a shield that’s at least 1.5 inches across. Babies who are older can take a pacifier with a larger silhouette. To determine which size is best, use the pacifier manufacturers’ age recommendations as a guide.
  • Nipple size and shape. There are a bunch of different pacifier shapes to choose from, and what works for one baby might not for another. Rounded nipples may be too big for some babies and make them gag. Orthodontic shapes are designed to better support the development of baby’s teeth and jaw, but they may be too thin and feel awkward in their mouth. Your best bet is to let baby try a number of different nipple types. Even just the nuances between a glossy and matte nipple can influence baby’s decision one way or the other.
  • Easy to clean. One-piece pacifiers are not only approved by the AAP (since fewer parts reduce the choking risks for infants), but they’re also a lot easier to clean. And when baby is screaming uncontrollably after dropping their pacifier on the ground (and letting it attract all kinds of nasties), you’re going to want to disinfect it in a flash. Dishwasher-safe pacifiers are the most hygienic type on offer, but you’ll want to buy a few extras to hand over while the cycle runs its course. Multi-piece pacifiers are harder to wash, because they can get water and soap trapped in the nipple. If that happens, submerge the pacifier in a cup of hot water, or hold it under running water, and squeeze the nipple to release any trapped water until it’s empty. Then dry it before giving it to your little one.

How Many Pacifiers Do You Need?

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, stock up on baby’s top pick, because pacifiers have a universal tendency to disappear—particularly when you need it most!

We suggest buying at least four to six pacifiers to get started. Be sure to bring at least two pacifiers whenever you and baby head out of the house, in case one drops or gets lost. If you live in a split-level home, keeping one or two on every floor and in easy rotation is another smart strategy.

Having a variety of pacifiers at home also helps baby become more tolerant of different types (because favorites do get lost every so often). Some brands, like Tommee Tippee, even have sampler packs that let you test-run a few different designs. Bundles and binky gift boxes exist too, and they make great practical presents for new parents.

That said, sometimes, no matter how many different types and sizes of baby pacifiers you try, baby simply isn’t interested. If your infant is refusing to suck on one, the AAPD says not to force a pacifier on them. Eventually baby will develop an alternate way to self-soothe.

Best Pacifiers to Shop

So what’s an overwhelmed, exhausted parent to do when faced with all the different types of baby pacifiers available? Check out our picks for the best pacifiers, of course! Here are our favorites for every need.

Best pacifier for newborns

Many hospitals use the Philips Avent Soothie in their nurseries and send new parents home with them—with good reason. It’s specifically designed for newborns up to 3 months and is an easy, inexpensive option. Not to mention, it’s an adorable addition to any hospital bassinet photoshoot. Made from hospital-grade, BPA-free silicone, this newborn pacifier is also dishwasher-safe, so keeping it clean is a breeze.

“It’s great for a breastfeeding baby.” - Marissa, mom of an infant

What We Love
  • Orthodontic design supports healthy development
  • One-piece construction
  • Also comes in a cute baby bear design
Things To Consider
  • Many parents say babies dislike the next size up, as the silicone is too hard
  • Some color options are more difficult to find than others

Best pacifier for preemies

Philips Notched Newborn NICU Soothie Pacifier
Image: Walmart

The Philips Notched Soothie is designed specifically for premature babies who may find it hard to handle a newborn-size pacifier. You can essentially consider it the Soothie junior—infants born over 34 weeks gestation can use it from day one. The unique notched design allows room for mechanical ventilation or tube feeding within a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) setting. Its low profile also helps keep the pacifier in baby’s mouth if they flail, which is common with preemies. It’s BPA-free and manufactured without phthalates or natural rubber latex, which gives peace of mind when you’re trying to soothe such a small baby.

What We Love
  • Helps foster a strong sucking reflex for preemies
  • Small and lightweight
  • Notched design
Things To Consider
  • More expensive than other options

Best pacifier for toddlers

Even as they get older, toddlers still need comfort—they’re just starting to figure out the world and want to assert their independence even in the midst of a meltdown. That’s why they’re likely to reach for a comfort item, like a pacifier or a lovey, in times of stress. If you’re in that awkward stage where your tot is getting bigger but isn’t quite ready for pacifier weaning yet, try the MAM Original Pacifier. Designed to provide maximum comfort for ages 16 months and up, it features a nipple that’s 60 percent thinner and four times more flexible than average—meaning it exerts less pressure on toddlers’ mouths and prevents jaw deformations and teeth misalignment.

“My daughter loves and had no issues taking it.” - Gianna (note: name has been changed), mom of a 2-year-old

What We Love
  • Comes with a sterilizing case that can be popped into the microwave for quick cleaning
  • BPA- and BPS-free
  • The orthodontic nipple is symmetrical, so your toddler can never pop it in upside down
Things To Consider
  • Water and soap can get get stuck inside during washes

Best orthodontic pacifier

This pacifier is one of the most popular choices among seasoned parents. The orthodontic nipple is ideal for healthy oral development, and the scoop-shaped nipple cavity allows for lots of tongue movement. The NUK is a silicone pacifier that’s BPA-free, and it comes in both single and multi-piece versions—not to mention some really cute designs. We like the multi-packs that feature a mix of glossy and matte pacifiers.

“This pacifier is much more stylish than most other brands. It’s also effective and a good size so it does not easily fall out.” - Leah, mom of an infant

What We Love
  • Heart shape fits under baby’s nose for easier breathing
  • Nipple has a natural shape that mimics the breast, making nipple confusion a non-issue
  • Affordable price point
Things To Consider
  • Some parents say the pacifiers are too heavy for babies under 3 months

Best pacifier for breastfed babies

Experts recommend waiting until breastfeeding is firmly established before introducing a pacifier. But once mom and baby have a strong nursing routine in place, the Nanobébé Flexy is the best pacifier to try out first. It’s made from a single piece of silicone that’s BPA- and phthalate-free. And as the name suggests, it's super-supple and malleable—providing what Nanobébé calls “mom-like softness” that works to prevent nipple confusion in breastfed babies. Plus, the ergonomic and vented design curves around baby’s nose and chin to keep it comfortably in place, whether they’re resting or wide awake.

“Easy to clean and sanitize. Plus, it’s all one piece so there’s nowhere for water to get trapped and build mold.” - Chloe (note: name has been changed), mom of a one-year-old

What We Love
  • Soft, flexible design helps to prevent nipple confusion
  • Available in inexpensive multipacks
  • Bendy design contours to baby’s face
Things To Consider
  • The Stage 2 Flexy Pacifier is a better option if baby is more mobile
  • There’s no hole to attach a pacifier clip

Best pacifier for bottle-fed babies

If breastfed babies can warm up to a pacifier that mimics a natural nipple, then it wouldn’t be too far off-base to say that bottle-fed babies would prefer a pacifier that’s like their bottle, right? Well, that’s exactly what makes Dr. Brown’s HappyPaci so well-loved by parents and discerning infants alike. The pacifier is shaped like the brand’s bottle nipple, and features a contoured butterfly shaped shield that won’t block baby’s nose and curves away from their face for additional comfort. With its one-piece construction, cleaning is a cinch and choking risks are minimal. The pretty pastel color options don’t hurt either.

What We Love
  • Dishwasher (top rack) and sterilizer safe
  • One-piece silicone construction
  • Lightweight and super-soft
Things To Consider
  • Best for families that use Dr. Brown’s bottles
  • Some parents say these pacifiers are too big for newborns

Best pacifier for sensitive skin

Tommee Tippee Advanced Sensitive Skin Pacifier
Image: Amazon

Pacifiers come in clutch at times when baby is inconsolable, but they can cause their own issues. Lots of sucking produces lots of drool, and when the pacifier is flush up against baby’s face for long periods of time, the moisture build-up can cause skin flare-ups and irritation. Fortunately, the Tommee Tippee Advanced Sensitive was specifically designed to combat this problem. The unique open shield curves away from baby’s face, but unlike a lot of pacifiers that feature this curve, it’s a lot more pronounced. Extra-large holes on the sides and bottom help improve airflow and allow for breathability. But the best part? A graduated system for two-age stages. Their 0 to 6 month size boasts a smaller teat and shield for little mouths and noses, while the 6 to 18 month step-up offers the same great benefits but with larger teats and shields.

What We Love
  • BPA- and phthalate-free
  • Symmetrical silicone nipple means that there’s no “wrong” side up
  • Curved design promises 90 percent less skin contact than other soothers
Things To Consider
  • Some parents say the longer nipple can make baby gag
  • The matte texture of the nipple is different than the traditional Tommee Tippees

Best pacifier for nighttime

Picture this: Baby goes to bed happily sucking on their pacifier, but it falls from their mouth in the middle of the night and gets lost in the crib. The subsequent crying means you’ll soon be searching bleary-eyed for baby’s misplaced soother in the pitch-black room. Sounds stressful? It sure can be. That’s why we love MAM’s Perfect Night Pacifier. It glows in the dark, so you can easily find it and quickly pop it back into baby’s mouth. Plus, the MAM Perfect Night Pacifier was designed with healthy teeth and jaw development in mind, and is clinically proven to reduce the risk of an increased overbite later in life.

“I love the glow-in-the-dark feature and how it fits his mouth well. I also liked that it’s orthodontist-recommended.” - Nina (note: name has been changed), mom of a one-year-old

What We Love
  • Glow-in-the-dark design
  • Orthodontic nipple reduces the risk of jaw deformations
  • Comes with a self-sterilizing case
Things To Consider
  • Some parents say the shield traps spit-up and moisture
  • Extra thin nipple means babies with teeth may be able to bite through it

Best pacifier for teething babies

The Munchkin Sili-Soothe & Teethe pacifier is a life-saver for parents with teething tots in the house. Have you seen your red-cheeked little one drooling or chewing through pacifiers? This multi-tasking binky is easy on sore gums and offers soothing relief thanks to the unique ridges. The textured pacifier boasts a one-piece design and is made from 100 percent food-grade silicone. Finally, a pacifier that encourages gnawing!

What We Love
  • Made from durable food-grade silicone
  • One-piece design is safe and easy to clean
  • BPA-free and dishwasher safe
Things To Consider
  • Some parents say the silicone attracts dust and fluff

Best pacifier for reluctant babies

When it comes to the best pacifiers for baby, comfort is key. Trust us, if it doesn’t feel right in baby’s mouth, your little one will spit it out at every turn. Bleh! Rest assured, this Best of Baby award-winning pacifier was designed with comfort in mind. MAM’s Comfort range for newborns relies on a lightweight design with an extra small nipple that satisfies most babies. Its soft and flexible nipple minimizes the impact on baby’s oral development—which is helpful to know, as the symmetrical shape is known to be so comfortable, baby won’t want to give it up. The curved shield is gentle on sensitive skin and the clever ventilation provides optimal air-flow that prevents saliva build-up and rashes.

“Our baby didn't love the Phillips Avent ones in the hospital but took to the MAM options right away. They're quite durable and many come with a sanitizing case.” - Laura, mom of an infant

What We Love
  • Tiny orthodontic nipple supports natural sucking behavior
  • One-piece design
  • Symmetrical shape doesn’t need to be adjusted to sit properly in baby’s mouth
Things To Consider
  • Only recommended for babies up to 6 months
  • Some parents say there’s a strong chemical smell to the pacifier

Best pacifier for tongue-tied babies

Babies who are tongue-tied have restricted movement and a high palate, which can make it harder to suck. And just as their shallow latch can impact their ability to feed easily, it can also make them less likely to hold onto a pacifier. That’s what is so great about the iconic WubbaNub: It has a rounded nipple that can be helpful in teaching babies how to suck after their tongue-tie is corrected. Plus, the attached plushie is the perfect size and weight for little hands to grab and hold in place.

“I love that it’s attached to a toy. My baby loves the toy and is now using the pacifier as intended instead of a teether.” - Annemarie, mom of an infant

What We Love
  • The attached lovey keeps the pacifier close to baby
  • Free of latex, BPA, PVC and phthalates
  • Can be washed in in a laundry bag when the plush animal gets dirty
Things To Consider
  • Higher price point than other options
  • Some parents would prefer if the pacifier and stuffed animal could separate for easier cleaning

Best eco-friendly pacifier

Ecopiggy Ecopacifier Natural Rubber Pacifier
Image: Amazon

If you’re looking for the ultimate Earth- and baby-friendly option, add Ecopiggy’s Ecopacifier to your shopping list. Made of 100 percent pure rubber that’s sustainably grown in Malaysia, the Ecopacifier contains no chemical softeners or colorants, both of which are often found in silicone baby pacifiers. The Ecopacifier comes with your choice of rounded or orthodontic nipples, both of which are attached to a round shield. And get this: It’s biodegradable.

What We Love
  • Made from durable natural rubber
  • Paraben-, phthalate-, BPA- and plastic-free
  • One-piece construction reduces choking risks
Things To Consider
  • Higher price point than other options
  • Natural rubber can have a strong smell

Best silicone pacifier

One-piece silicone pacifiers with handles are few and far between, which is one reason why this pick’s a winner in our book. The PhysioForma range was developed by a panel of leading neonatologists, pediatricians and orthodontists—and this particular design helps position baby’s tongue forward to maintain an open airway. The lightweight pacifier boasts an orthodontic nipple and a perfectly sized handle that’s securely molded to the base. Plus, ventilation holes and a cutout for baby’s nose helps them breathe easily.

What We Love
  • Pacifier aligns with AAP guidelines
  • Available in multiple sizes
  • Soft handle is big enough for baby to grab and easy to attach a pacifier clip
Things To Consider
  • At 2.46 ounces, this pacifier is heavier than most
  • The tacky texture attracts dust and lint

Best travel pacifier

It’s pretty much inevitable that baby pacifiers are going to fall on the ground, which is why Doddle & Co.’s Pop silicone pacifier is so exciting. Designed by two city-dwelling moms who weren’t sure how to sanitize binkies on the go, the Pop nipple retracts into its silicone bubble when dropped, meaning it doesn’t come in contact with dirty surfaces. Genius! Of course, even the most hygienic pacifier still needs to be washed on the regular—which is why this one is dishwasher-safe. The Pop features a rounded nipple and is ideal for children ages 0 to 6 months.

What We Love
  • Silicone pacifier is PVC-, BPA-, latex- and phthalate-free
  • The nipple stays out and “ready” for baby (as long as it doesn’t fall on the floor)
Things To Consider
  • You may want to attach it to a pacifier clip as a failsafe

How We Chose the Best Pacifiers

We get it—newborns need a lot of gear, and it can be overwhelming at times. To help you pick out the best pacifier for your little one, we browsed options from an array of leading baby brands and trusted online retailers, so you don’t have to spend hours scrolling. When sourcing pacifiers for our roundup, we considered several factors, such as product size, nipple size and shape, value, number of pieces, material, specialty designs and how easy they were to clean.

To get a better idea of how these pacifiers worked for real families, we read user reviews, and didn’t consider any with less than an average four-star rating. What’s more, we received input from surveyed parents (just like you!) across the country. Last but not least, to ensure we’re highlighting products that are safe and effective, we followed pacifier safety guidelines from the AAP and AAPD.

Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.

Expert sources:

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, “Policy on Pacifiers”, 2022

Healthy Children (AAP), “Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking”, November 2020

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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