0 - 12 Weeks

Pacifier pros and cons

Baby with a pacifier in their mouth

Like the name suggests, pacifiers not only help soothe your baby, they can reduce crying significantly. As with so many parenting choices, there are both benefits and drawbacks to weigh as you decide whether or not to introduce one. 

If your baby is nursing, you should wait to offer a pacifier until breastfeeding is well established—usually between 2 and 6 weeks. If your baby is nursing regularly, seems satisfied after feedings, is peeing frequently, pooping at least three times a day, and gaining weight, breastfeeding is likely going well. Consider avoiding the pacifier in the 30 minutes or so before you suspect your baby may want to feed so you can observe their hunger cues.

The pros of pacifiers

  • Some babies start sucking (on their thumb, hands, or feet) even before birth for comfort in the womb, but once they are born, they don’t have the coordination to keep a thumb in their mouth. A pacifier can help replicate the calming feeling they had in the womb.
  • Studies show that preterm infants who use a pacifier are discharged from the hospital sooner.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving your baby a pacifier at both naptime and bedtime to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). 
  • Studies have shown that pacifier use in healthy nursing babies does not significantly impact the frequency or duration of breastfeeding in the first four months.
  • Pacifiers allow your baby to suck up to twice as fast as they can when breastfeeding or drinking from a bottle. If your baby is upset and has recently been fed, a pacifier can help calm them down more quickly. 

The cons of pacifiers

  • For most parents, the biggest worry is dependence. Weaning a child off the pacifier can be a challenge. 
  • When a baby gets accustomed to a pacifier, they may wake up or get upset when it falls out of their mouth. 
  • They are small and easy to lose, and they need to be cleaned often.
  • With prolonged use, pacifiers have been linked to dental issues and an increased risk of ear infections. Most experts recommend weaning completely before your child turns 3. You may want to consider limiting pacifier use to just sleep and travel toward the end of their first year.
  • Even if you decide to introduce a pacifier, your new baby may refuse to take it.

Learn more about the research

Foster, J. P., Psaila, K., & Patterson, T. (2016). Non‐nutritive sucking for increasing physiologic stability and nutrition in preterm infants. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 10, CD001071.

Moon, R. Y., Carlin, R. F., Hand, I., & Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (2022). Sleep-related infant deaths: updated 2022 recommendations for reducing infant deaths in the sleep environment. Pediatrics, 150(1), e2022057990.

O’Connor, N. R., Tanabe, K. O., Siadaty, M. S., & Hauck, F. R. (2009). Pacifiers and breastfeeding: a systematic review. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 163(4), 378-382.

Pinelli, J., & Symington, A. J. (2005). Non-nutritive sucking for promoting physiologic stability and nutrition in preterm infants. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 4, CD001071.

Sexton, S. M., & Natale, R. (2009). Risks and benefits of pacifiers. American Family Physician, 79(8), 681-685.


Team Lovevery Avatar

Team Lovevery

Visit site

Posted in: 0 - 12 Weeks, Feeding, Newborn Care, Sleeping, Lovevery App, Child Development

Keep reading