A pacifier is a rubber, plastic, or silicone thing that you give to babies when they are not eating. Babies might use it to suck on when they are feeling sad or scared. A pacifier is a thing that babies use to suck on. It has three parts, the teat, the shield for your mouth, and the handle. The mouth shield is big enough to stop the child from putting the pacifier in their mouth. Plastic pacifiers can have one or more holes in them for air to get through so it doesn’t get too easy for the baby to suck on and therefore get too much milk when breastfeeding (which is what you want at that age). A rubber nipple like this won’t collapse when your baby sucks on it, which can be very helpful.
Plastic pacifiers are nowadays almost always BPA-free, but if you want to avoid any kind of plastic altogether then that’s an option too. Silicone NUK pacifiers are available for example. Your baby will have no trouble switching between a silicone and a plastic nipple. It will be up to you to wean your baby off the pacifier eventually. Babies don’t need a pacifier until they get past the newborn stage and start calming down more. This can be anywhere from 3 -5 weeks of age and on up to even older than one year old.
Once babies start self-soothing, many moms will give their babies a pacifier to calm them down when they are fussy. Babies are born with the rooting reflex. When anything touches their cheek they will turn in that direction to be able to suck on it. Pacifiers help soothe babies when things aren’t going the way they want them to or when their needs aren’t being met. Some also believe that the pacifier helps relieve any pain and discomfort when the baby needs to have his or her nails trimmed or ears cleaned.
Some doctors advise parents not to give their babies a pacifier because it can cause problems with breastfeeding. However, when they are young enough that is really not an issue unless you plan on putting your baby down in the crib at night with a pacifier. Babies really enjoy their pacifiers because it helps them feel safe and secure. It’s like having that comforting stuffed animal that they can’t sleep without as an infant.