Nearly every baby loves their pacifier for various reasons. Sucking on it can give them comfort as they teethe, but it also reminds them of their time in the womb. Babies are born with the natural desire to suck on something, and having a pacifier in their mouth triggers this, which soothes them. A relaxed and sleepy newborn is easy to tuck into bed. Before you stock up on binkies, check out these important things to know about sleeping with a pacifier.
Are Pacifiers Safe?
Most new parents often question what is and isn't safe for their child since you only want the best for your precious baby. Understandably, you may wonder how safe pacifiers are when your baby sleeps. The good news is that pacifiers are perfectly safe at bedtime and help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Pacifiers and SIDS
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends pacifiers use up to 6 months at sleep times to help reduce the risk of SIDS. A pacifier reduces the risk of SIDS because the sucking sensation babies perform keeps them in the lighter stages of sleep. However, this doesn't mean you should force your child to take their binky every night, as some babies don't like pacifiers.
Buy the Right Pacifier
Buying the perfect pacifier can feel a bit daunting to a first-time parent—you have so many styles and materials to choose from. It's hard to monitor your child at night when everyone's sleeping, so you need to get the ideal pacifier to keep them safe as they sleep with it. Below, we've explained the main things to look for as you shop.
First, evaluate the construction of the pacifier. Don't buy it if it looks like the nipple or handle may break off easily. Not sure where to start looking? Once you've picked out several different pacifiers, read through customer reviews on various sites. This gives you a better idea of how great this baby essential is, plus how it'll hold up.
After plenty of use, you may notice tears along the nipple of the pacifier. When you see cracks or rips, you should throw the pacifier away, especially if it occurs between the nipple and shield. If a piece breaks off, it could become a choking risk.
The appropriate binky depends on your little cutie's age, so evaluate sizes based on these age groups. When you buy the appropriate size—based on the diameter of the nipple—you help prevent choking hazards. Luckily, the recommended age is often on the binky's packaging.
Most pacifiers are made of silicone, rubber, or latex. When it comes to finding the best one for your child to sleep with, silicone is the way to go. This material is hypoallergenic, easy to clean, and often lasts a while.
Consider buying a one-piece silicone pacifier. These are less likely to break as your baby bites on them, making it better for bedtime and naptime.
Know When To Avoid Pacifier Attachments
Although attaching the pacifier to your baby's outfit or crib can be tempting, since it prevents lost pacifiers, experts and seasoned parents advise against this. Why? Because keeping a ribbon or long string in the crib with your child is dangerous. Your baby could get tangled in a loose ribbon, and if it wraps around their neck, it could endanger their life.
While you shouldn't use pacifier clips or cords as your infant sleeps, you can use them during the day as you monitor your child. After all, these help you and your baby know where the pacifier is during the day. If you do this, remember to remove it before naptime and bedtime to keep your baby safe.
Wash Your Baby's Pacifier
This baby essential goes into your infant's mouth. They may also take it everywhere they go. Consider having separate pacifiers for bedtime and going out to make things easier. Keep in mind that you should always wash their pacifier. After a long night of rest, wash the binky with warm, soapy water and store it somewhere safe as it dries.
When to Wean your Baby off a Pacifier
The final important thing to know about sleeping with a pacifier is when to wean your baby, especially if pacifier-time is part of their sleep routine. It’s OK to offer your baby a pacifier at sleep time or nap time until the age of 1, though the easiest time to wean the pacifier is around 6-7 months.
Some babies and toddlers love their pacifiers and going cold-turkey when it comes time to wean them off of it will only upset your child. Pay attention to your infant's natural signs. Do they spit out their binky in bed without care? Gradually wean your baby so they don't rely on the pacifier to feel relaxed. Doing this between 6 and 9 months is best because your baby hasn't yet developed object permanence, so ditching the pacifier will be much easier. Weaning during the second 6 months is recommended also to prevent complications from prolonged use, such as negative effects on breastfeeding and dental issues.
Keep Bedtime Simple
Rather than rely on a pacifier to soothe your baby's sleep, come up with a bedtime routine once they're no longer at risk of SIDS. Consider creating a sleep routine. Below, we've created an example for you to follow or get ideas from:
- Give your baby a warm soak
- Get cozy jammies
- Cuddle your little one
- Sing a lullaby or read a story
- Turn on a white noise machine
- Gently rock your baby
- Tuck your precious one into bed
Doing these things helps relax your child and are especially important when they begin displaying signs of tiredness such as yawning, eye rubbing, and acting extra fussy. Depending on your baby's age, you may need to give them the last feed before bed. Every baby is different, so talk to your pediatrician if you don't know whether your baby needs milk or formula before bed.
Another Way To Keep Baby Safe While They’re Sleeping
Taking precautions to minimize the risk of SIDS while your baby is sleeping is vital for every parent. Woolino wool baby sleeping bags can prevent the risk of suffocation, as the wearable blanket will stay clear of your baby’s face at night. They also prevent overheating, as merino wool naturally regulates babies’ body temperatures.
Keep your baby safe and comfy throughout the night by tucking them into bed in a cozy Woolino baby sleeping bag and their favorite binky.