When to Replace Your Baby's Pacifiers

elevated close up view of a baby (6-12 months) sleeping with a dummy in its mouth
Do a spot check on the pacifier before giving it to your baby. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

It’s hard to have too many of your baby’s favorite type of pacifiers. Babies often drop their pacifiers, and you cannot just pop a dirty pacifier in your baby’s mouth. Plus, those dropped pacifiers have a way of disappearing around the house and being left behind on outings. Pacifiers are generally safe for your little one, and when used at night, help prevent sudden infant death syndrome, according to the HealthyChildren website. However, a misused or worn-out pacifier presents a choking hazard. Replace pacifiers at the first sign of aging.

Age Appropriate

Pacifiers come in two main sizes, based on your baby’s age. After your baby turns 6 months old, replace all of your babies pacifiers with ones sized for babies 6 months and older. Look for one-piece pacifiers with soft nipples that are dishwasher safe. The pacifier shield must be 1 1/4 inches or larger and have holes for ventilation. Before the 6-month birthday, use the pacifiers sized for babies younger than 6 months old. If you use a pacifier that is too small for your baby, he may choke on it.

Wear

Monitor the pacifiers for wear and tear. Replace a pacifier if you notice discoloration, tears or holes. Check for any weak spots in the pacifier, especially around the base of the nipple. A weak spot may cause the nipple to break off in your baby’s mouth. Check the nipples of the pacifiers after washing and throw out any pacifier that has a sticky nipple after it is cleaned.

Considerations

How often you need to replace pacifiers depends on how often your baby uses them. If you only give your baby a pacifier at night to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome, the pacifiers should last longer than if you give your baby a pacifier in the daytime. Additionally, how much your baby actually sucks on the pacifier as opposed to just holding it in his mouth makes a difference in how long the pacifier lasts.

Tips

Stock up on your baby’s favorite type of pacifier so you always have an extra when you need to replace one. If you have a toddler who is especially attached to his “binky,” ensure you have extras in his favorite color and throw out the old pacifiers when he’s not looking. Have a clean pacifier on hand for the times your baby drops one on the ground. For a baby younger than 6 months, clean the pacifier with boiling water or run it through the dishwasher. When the child is older than 6 months, rinsing the pacifier in soap and water is fine.

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