Is it Safe for Newborns to Sleep With Pacifiers? Everything You Need to Know

Sometimes, it can feel like you’re receiving endless amounts of conflicting information regarding different parenting decisions. When it comes to babies and safe sleeping practices, a common question that comes up is whether or not pacifiers are okay overnight. Today, we will be covering if pacifiers are safe for newborns to sleep with, along with some other sleeping tips to help your little one rest better. Let’s dive in! 

Is it safe for newborns to sleep with pacifiers?

Is it Safe for Newborns to Sleep With Pacifiers? Everything You Need to Know

Pacifiers are a common tool for babies to relax and are often used during sleep. Today, we’re discussing if and when they’re safe to use, as well as answering common questions about sleeping with pacifiers.

Are Pacifiers Safe in General?

Yes, pacifiers are safe in general. In addition to being safe, pacifiers are a great tool for self-soothing and falling asleep more easily. Pacifiers allow for non-nutritive sucking, which can be helpful if your little one finishes eating but still expresses a drive to suck. Non-nutritive sucking promotes relaxation, soothes and calms, and can be an extremely helpful sleep aid

However, not every baby will want to use a pacifier. If your little one doesn’t take to pacifiers, don’t panic. Every child is different, and although pacifiers can be beneficial, they’re not a necessity. 

Are pacifiers safe for babies?

Should My Baby Use a Pacifier if They’re Breastfeeding? 

Yes! There is no reason that breastfeeding should interfere with pacifier use. Research shows that mothers who provide pacifiers to their babies do not experience reduced success with breastfeeding. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until breastfeeding is successfully established before introducing a pacifier to your infant. 

Are Pacifiers Safe for Sleeping?

Yes, pacifiers are safe for sleeping. In fact, the AAP reports a lower risk of SIDS with pacifier use, especially for newborn sleep. The AAP recommends offering pacifiers for infants during both daytime naps and overnight sleep. Although pacifiers are safe for sleeping, it’s important to follow safe sleep guidelines. When using a pacifier, follow the below tips for safe sleep: 

  • Use one-piece pacifiers to lower the risk of a choking hazard.
  • Choose a pacifier that’s made with air holes in the shield, and ensure that the shield is at least 1.5 inches. As your child grows, make sure that you’re updating their pacifier to the age-appropriate size. 
  • Do not use pacifiers that hang around your baby’s neck or attach to clothing or bedding while sleeping.
  • Pay attention to expiration dates on your pacifiers and ensure that they stay in solid condition- if your pacifier is broken, discolored, or disfigured in any way, replace it with a new one. 
Are pacifiers safe for sleeping?

How Do I Introduce a Pacifier to My Baby?

When introducing a pacifier to your baby, make sure to do so when they are feeling calm. If they are already irritable, it may make the process much more difficult. Swaddling can also be helpful to prevent their arms from becoming a distraction. 

At first, apply pressure to the middle of their tongue and gently move the pacifier in circles around their mouth. Your baby may become irritable- if this happens, don’t worry. Simply stop and reintroduce it again the next day. Additionally, you can test out different brands and shapes to see if there’s one that your baby particularly likes. (Pro tip: you can even apply a bit of breastmilk or formula to the tip of the pacifier to help them be more open to it.) If your baby is still uninterested after a week, there’s no need to force it. 

Is it Okay if My Baby Doesn’t Sleep With a Pacifier? 

Every child is different- which means that some babies will not want to use a pacifier. If your baby does not take well to a pacifier for whatever reason, there’s no need to force them to use one. Some babies are not interested in pacifiers whatsoever- that’s perfectly fine. Plus, it will be much easier to wean the pacifier when they’re uninterested!

What if my baby doesn't like their pacifier?

What If The Pacifier Falls Out While My Baby is Sleeping? 

If the pacifier falls out of your baby’s mouth while sleeping, the AAP states that it is not necessary to put it back in their mouth. The AAP reports that even if a pacifier falls out of your baby’s mouth, they still offer a protective effect against SIDS. When placing the pacifier in your baby’s mouth initially, it can be beneficial to gently tug it- this will encourage them to learn how to suck the pacifier back into their mouth so that it’s less likely to fall out. If the pacifier falling out is a frequent occurrence, ensure that you are using the correct shape and size for your little one. In some cases, your baby may do better with a different shape or type of pacifier. It’s all about trial and error to find what works best for you.

Are There Any Downsides to Using a Pacifier? 

While pacifiers are an amazing tool to help little ones sleep, the downside is that it may become difficult for them to sleep without it. This may lead to overnight wakeups if the pacifier falls out of their mouth, and they may be unable to fall back asleep on their own if they’re too young to put it back in themselves. Pacifiers can also lead to increased risks of ear infections, thrust, and intestinal infections with use of a pacifier after 6 months. Additionally, if your baby is sick, they may experience extra discomfort when they are sick since pacifiers require them to breath more through their nose. 

Downsides to using a pacifier

How Do I Wean the Pacifier? 

If you’re at the point where your little one is ready to move on from the pacifier, check out my blog post, Weaning the Pacifier: The Best Tips for a Smooth Transition. It details when to start weaning the pacifier and tips to make the change feel much easier! 

Sleep Shore Sleep Consulting

Is your little one having difficulty self-soothing (with or without the pacifier)? If your child is unable to fall asleep, stay asleep, or wake up at a normal time, it may be time to consider sleep training. Sleep Shore offers personalized solutions for each unique sleeping situation to get your little one on track- whether they’re a newborn, infant, or toddler. Sleep training offers babies and children with the skills to fall asleep on their own so they can wake up feeling more well-rested- and in turn, you’ll feel more energized, too! See what this mama had to say about our sleep services below: 

“We started a program when our LO was 17 months. He was fed to sleep every night and up every 2-3 hours and sometimes took up to 2 hours to go back to sleep. I was completely exhausted and knew I needed help. I had seen a recommendation from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen on Instagram for Molly and decided it was time to pull the trigger.

Molly was very accommodating with our anticipated start time and provided plenty of information and support both before and during the “training” period. We ended up using a couple methods before finding the one that worked best. Being able to message Molly and keep in contact with her during the whole process gave us a lot of confidence in pressing on. Our little guy took to the program so well and we even traveled with him recently with great success! I would absolutely recommend Molly and am grateful every day that we made the decision to reach out to her.”

-MOM OF A 17-MONTH OLD

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