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Kinds of Pacifiers

by Sharon Perkins , studioD

Pacifiers come in a bewildering array of colors, styles and materials. You might have received a number of types at your baby shower and no doubt have an idea of which pacifiers you want your baby to use. Babies, however, often have their own ideas about pacifiers and at 3 a.m. you'll try anything, even the ugly green hospital pacifier you swore you'd never put in your baby's mouth.

Silicone vs. Latex

Most commercial pacifiers come in one of two materials: latex or silicone. The silicone nipples are a clearer color and are often firmer than the latex nipples. Some children develop an allergy to latex; silicone also lasts longer and can be washed in the dishwasher, while latex will deteriorate when heated, according to Consumer Reports.


Some pacifiers look like a bottle nipple -- there's no right or wrong way to insert them into your baby's mouth. Others, designed to prevent expensive orthodontia in the future, go in only one way, so you need to put it in correctly. Some babies don't like the orthodontic pacifiers, but you can't much if he keeps spitting it out. Eventually, you'll find yourself at the drugstore buying a regular pacifier or pleading with the maternity nurses for a few of their pacifiers at midnight. Don't, in desperation, make your own pacifier using a bottle nipple. Homemade pacifiers can come apart and pose a choking hazard, according to the Children's Physician Network.


Pacifiers come in preemie sizes and larger sizes; you can move up in size as your baby grows. While you might hate the way it covers almost her entire face, don't be surprised if your baby prefers the big green pacifier the hospital sent home with you to all others.


Some pacifiers have a hard plastic shield, while others have a softer latex shield. The shield should have small air holes in it and be at least 1 1/2 inches across, to avoid choking, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Your newborn probably won't care what the pacifier's shield looks like, but when he's 6 months old, he might. Never buy a one-of-a-kind pacifier; you're asking for trouble when it gets lost. Buy a dozen all with the exact same design on them. Children often develop what will seem like an unreasonable attachment to one particular pacifier, and it's easier to make a switch if you rotate identical pacifiers than to try to give her the kitty design one when she wants the butterfly.


A pacifier that glows in the dark so your baby can find it could save some late-night angst. Some pacifiers come with a carrying case to help keep it clean, but the case is one more thing to keep track of. Avoid pacifiers with glitzy but potentially dangerous little add-ons pasted onto them. If the little jewels or hearts come off, your baby could choke on them, according to Consumer Reports.

About the Author

A registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in oncology, labor/delivery, neonatal intensive care, infertility and ophthalmology, Sharon Perkins has also coauthored and edited numerous health books for the Wiley "Dummies" series. Perkins also has extensive experience working in home health with medically fragile pediatric patients.

Photo Credits

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