How Many Pacifiers Does A Newborn Need?

Honestly, it would depend on you, Mommy. Let me share some things that may help you decide – it would be best to have an extra piece in case you will need it, keep in mind that pacifiers vary depending on the age of your baby, your little one of course will grow thus soothers need to be changed too, and too many pacifiers are not necessary. As for me, I kept 3 pacifiers for my son, 2 for his daily use – in alternation, and 1 that I kept inside the baby bag readily available for any unplanned outdoor trips.

If you’re an expectant mom, a new mom, or a supportive father-to-be or husband, all trying to know more about pacifiers, then this article may help you. Although, it’s up to you to decide if you will use pacifiers or not, as many avoid using it secondary to the struggles of weaning once your little one gets used to pacifier’s use.

Not to mention the belief that babies should never use a pacifier as it will mess up their teeth.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry indicates that pacifier use is not likely to cause damage to your baby’s teeth within the 3rd birthday or younger.

If you want to give pacifier use a try, you might ask how many pacifiers you will need for your baby. To date, this is a common inquiry among parents.

The basics on pacifiers

A newborn baby with a pacifier is holding daddys finger.

It’s true that pacifiers help soothe and calm your baby, a potential protective tool for your baby, and would help you get more rest, especially in the first few weeks after birth. Just a quick review, be informed of the following:

  • It’s best not to start using a pacifier until breastfeeding is going well. One exception is for premature or sick babies who can benefit from using a pacifier for comfort.
  • There is never a time when a pacifier is used to replace or delay a meal. You need to understand your baby’s cues or learn the difference between a hungry baby and a baby who needs comforting. Manage your baby’s needs first before giving pacifiers.
  • Compare to thumb sucking, pacifier use is more manageable in terms of weaning. In short, you have more control over pacifier use while your baby controls thumb sucking. Literally, you can always throw the pacifiers away but you can’t throw out your baby’s thumb – this makes sense.
  • Several studies suggest that using a pacifier during the first year of life has a very important benefit – this significantly reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • According to PubMed, the most important risks of this non-nutritive sucking habit are failure of breastfeeding, dental deformities, recurrent acute otitis media, and the possibility of accidents.
  • The development of latex allergy, tooth decay, oral ulcers, speech delay, and sleep disorders are other problems encountered with pacifier use.

Things to consider before buying pacifiers

A variety of pacifiers are laid out on a table.

Again, the decision to use a pacifier – or not – is up to you and if you decide to try pacifier use after understanding its pros and cons, let’s move on to the next question, how many pacifiers will you buy for your little one?

The final say will always be up to you, and to help you decide, Ill share the following things to consider.

Your baby’s favorite paccie

It’s no doubt that babies can be picky too! When introducing a certain type of pacifier, allow your baby to decide whether she/he wants to use it or not.

Don’t force pacifier use when your baby spits it out – mostly, the first few tries fail. Take note that you’re introducing a new tool to your baby, and acceptance may take few attempts.

Among your important tasks about pacifier use is making sure it fits perfectly with your baby. You will know when your baby will approve it – so be patient and be gentle; eventually, your baby will decide what’s her/his favorite.

Be wise, don’t stock more than a couple of pacifiers. You might need to buy it again secondary to your baby’s liking.

Having a backup pacifier is okay

Personally, I can’t handle the thought of no backup – at all. I believe it’s best to be ready, and I don’t mind spending more for 1 extra piece if it’s for the best. The backup is a lifesaver while you wash (or track down) the other.

In my case, I kept 1 pacifier as an alternative just in case my son’s go-to pacifier will not be ready for use or it gets dropped (which indeed happened most of the time), dirty, or even disappearing around the house (especially when we most needed it).

I also have another 1 pacifier inside the baby bag, which I can easily grab in an unplanned outdoor activity or trip.

In addition to his security blanket, my son doesn’t sleep without his binky – he is now 2, and I’m planning to start weaning from this habit anytime soon.

Age-appropriate pacifiers

A newborn boy is sucking on a silly mustache pacifier.

Pacifiers come in 2 main sizes – the pacifiers sized for babies younger than 6 months and those that are sized for babies 6 months and older.

Basically, it’s highly recommended to consider age when choosing a pacifier. The pacifiers need to grow with your baby as the right-sized pacifiers help to support healthy development.

Most pacifier brands offer different sizes, types, and shapes – as your baby grows, pacifiers suitable in the few weeks may not be proper in the later months.

Important note, a pacifier that is too big can cause a choking hazard while one that is too small may be rejected by your baby. In case of doubt, it’s better to offer one that is a bit small than one that is much bigger.

Wear and Tear

Of course, pacifiers get dropped, washed or sanitized, chewed on, and – you name it. This means pacifiers can only last for not long.

Ms. Valerie Brockenbrough, the U.S. distributor for Natursutten, recommended keeping 2 pacifiers and alternate their use – this is concerning heavy usage causing the rubber material to expand and the nipple part to get bigger.

Be mindful, check the pacifiers – convenient time is during washing or cleaning of pacifiers – thoroughly. Signs of wear and tear are but not limited to cracks, tears, weakness, and discoloration.

If you see any of these, then it’s time to change and dispose of the old pacifiers.

Try to observe the next time you buy a similar soother, indeed the old is bigger than the new one.

Pacifiers are disposable

When it’s time to start the weaning process and stop the habit of this non-nutritive sucking, you can throw the pacifiers away, or for some sentimental reason, you can keep these but please – don’t re-use it to your new babies.

It’s always good to invest with a new set of pacifiers than feel sorry while managing health issues any improper usage of old and inappropriate pacifiers brought in the future.

How often should we change pacifiers?

A newborn baby is sleeping on mom's lap with a pacifier in her mouth.

It’s recommended to replace the pacifier every 2 months or at a regular interval.

If the first signs of damage are present upon checking pacifiers, then throw them away and replace them immediately.

One more thing, when your baby is teething, the pacifier will have another use. Your baby will chew on it as if it’s a teether or a chewing toy – another tool to help your baby ease the pain of tooth eruption.

It’s important then to timely check and replaces the pacifiers for safety reasons – I mean, like me, you too don’t want your baby swallowing anything bad or not edible, correct?

Frequently Asked Questions

How to clean pacifiers?

Similar to our basic handling care, we must clean, wash, or sanitize everything before introducing new things to our little ones. For pacifiers, boil it in water for up to 5 minutes before first use, and at regular intervals thereafter.

You can also use a sterilizing machine, microwave, or whichever is applicable and convenient to you. Remember to avoid leaving the pacifier in the sterilizing solution for longer than recommended as water may enter the inside of the nipple secondary to the ventilation system – this exists in the nipple and helps make the pacifier orthodontic.

You can also use baby dishwashing soap when washing, just make sure to rinse the pacifier properly before putting it into the sterilizing machine or whichever way you want to sterilize it.

Oh God, please resist the temptation of cleaning the pacifier using your mouth – this is a no-no sanitation-wise.

Does pacifier use reduce the risk of SIDS?

There is no exact explanation about this but studies demonstrate a strong association between pacifier use and a reduction in the risk of SIDS, according to the American Family Physician website.

Experts note that pacifier use may make it harder for your baby to roll over into a prone position, increase arousal, and maintain airway patency thus contributing to decrease the risk of SIDS.

There is some speculation too that using a pacifier stimulates your baby’s brain while sleeping hence encouraging her/him to breathe.

Is a pacifier clip necessary?

Pacifier clips can be a helpful tool for keeping the pacifier close at hand and off the floor – cleanliness must be a priority especially for a newborn whose immune system is unstable.

It’s helpful, yes, but using pacifier clips also poses hazards to your baby. If you choose to use a pacifier clip, please avoid using a clip with beads or other detachable parts on it – this can cause a choking incident.

Similarly, make sure the clips are no longer than 7 inches – anything longer poses a strangulation hazard to your baby.

Is a pacifier ok for a breastfed baby?

It’s suggested to start introducing a pacifier after breastfeeding is established – during this time your baby already knows what she/he needs when hungry. The official recommendations are to wait for a week or 2 or until your baby has a nursing routine down pat.

The main purpose of a pacifier is calming your baby – sometimes, your baby cries not because of hunger but other needs so it’s important to understand your baby’s cues. If your baby is truly hungry, your baby will communicate hunger and pacifiers can’t soothe your baby – all the time.

You may have heard about nipple confusion, rest assured then, breastfed babies can use pacifiers without any issue. 

Does pacifier use improve sleep for babies?

Using a pacifier satisfies the baby’s natural suckling reflex – this may help your baby sleep more throughout the night. In addition, pacifier use will help your baby learn how to self-soothe, so every time your baby is stress or in pain or discomfort, pacifiers can calm them down – enjoy the peace and silence then.


A newborn baby is asleep on her bed, with a pacifier in her mouth, and mom is kissing her goodnight.

Babies have a strong sucking reflex and sucking has a calming effect on them, soothing them most of the time, therefore, helping new moms get more rest. Good thing the pacifier is invented – this is a simple tool that helps your child soothe himself or herself and scientifically proven to reduce the risk of SIDS.

A pacifier mainly is made of latex or silicone, different nipple shapes or styles, and whichever you choose will still depend on your baby’s choice. What you like may not be suitable for your baby or simply your baby would not want it.

As to how many pacifiers you need, it would depend on you. Practically speaking, you don’t need more than 2-3 pacifiers.

Though for sure, you will need to spend a little more budget and effort before you and your baby finally agree as to what is for the best. Regardless though, in the end, it’s a win-win – your baby self-soothes and you get more chance to rest. Hooray!

Let me add, pacifier use is recommended only for not a long time, studies suggest to stop by 36 months or younger, so enjoy every moment while it last, sooner or later you’ll need to start the weaning process for the benefit of your baby.

I hope the above shed some light and help decide how many pacifiers you will invest in your baby. Let me know your views, write some in the comment section below.

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Nina is a licensed nurse and a mother of one son, Aidan. She is currently working as a nurse in a mineral processing plant in Mindanao, Philippines. She loves reading, research, and can't say no to camping - all types. If given a chance, she would love to learn horseback riding and martial arts.

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