The pacifier has been called many things: paci, binky, soothie, noo-noo, dummy, suckies, list list goes on an on. This Seattle newborn photographer prefers to call them something else: GOLD.
Since the dawn of time, babies have loved to suck. They do it while they’re sleeping, while they’re eat, even while they’re in the womb! The act of sucking soothes and calms (most) babies, which is why the simple act of sucking on a paci can take babies from a full-blown hissy fit to calm, cool and collected in just a few short minutes. However, like all things in life: not all pacifiers are created equal, and not all babies like all pacifiers. Pacifiers come in all shapes and sizes, but the two main types are single piece and multi-piece.
Single Piece Pacifier
The single piece pacifier is common for newborn babies and babies that have a more difficult time establishing nursing. They are made from one, solid piece of silicone, and don’t fit as naturally into babies’ tiny mouths. These are excellent for new nursers because it doesn’t allow them to get the calming relief that sucking can bring without a decent amount of effort; similar to how babies need to work a bit harder to nurse from a breast than from a bottle. Additionally, they are one solid piece, so there is not the risk of choking on a little piece that may come off. For the reasons listed above, Single Piece Pacifiers are what I primarily carry in my Seattle Newborn Photography studio for by beautiful baby models.
While single piece pacifiers may be excellent for newborns, multi-piece pacifiers are definitely more prolific. You can find them with snazzy designs and cute little sayings, and they have a handy hook to clip pacifier leashes to (*Safety Warning* Pacifier leashes should only be used in the presence of an adult, and should always be removed prior to sleeping). These are great for older babies and babies that have established successful feedings. The nipple is curved to fit in the mouth nicely, and isn’t as stiff as the single piece pacifiers. I keep a few of these on hand, because you never know when this Seattle newborn photographer will need that “sleep button”, and some babies just can’t handle the single piece pacis.
One thing that both multi-piece and single piece pacifiers have in common is the sizing. Many new moms buy pacifiers without really paying attention to the size and can’t figure out why their babies don’t like them. Just as a too-large pacifier doesn’t work well because a baby can’t get the nipple properly situated, a too small pacifier can pose it’s own set of challenges. As babies’ mouths get wider, they need a larger nipple to grasp onto. A smaller nipple leaves too much room open in their perfect little mouths and doesn’t provide the same level of suction that a properly fitted pacifier will.
Color and Material
I am a huge fan of colorful, silicone pacifiers. Silicone is the most common material for pacifiers and is great for it’s durability and washability (you will be amazed at some of the nasty things I’ve seen babies dip their pacies in!). Most silicone pacifiers can be put in the top rack of a dishwasher to get nice and sparkling clean.
Some pacifiers are made of latex. Although babies prefer the softness of the latex, I don’t recommend them for several reasons:
- Some babies have latex allergies that don’t manifest until they’ve been in contact with the product. I don’t know about you, but the inside of my mouth is about the LAST place I want to have an allergic reaction!
- The latex breaks down faster. That means more 2am trips to the drug store to buy a new paci because your sweet little baby sucked a hole into hers and is crying harder than Justin Bieber at the VMAs.
- Not all latex pacifiers are machine washable. Yep. When your little one dips her binky in her diaper, you’ll be washing that puppy by hand.
I prefer the brightest, most obnoxious colored pacifiers I can find. There is nothing worse than listening to screaming akin to that of a drowning cat while crawling around on the floor while enduring what can only be equated to military-style-sleep-deprivation-torture-that-has-since-been-deemed-unconstitutional with your iPhone flashlight trying to find the most ridiculous invention known to mad: a clear, nearly invisible pacifier. Why. Why? WHY DO THESE EXIST??? When you’re digging at the bottom of your diaper bag and see a neon green pacifier with flashing lights and a beeping tracking device, you know who to thank.
The Right Pacifier for your Baby
While I’d love to take one look at your baby and tell you exactly what kind of pacifier she will like, I will unfortunately have to let you know that my crystal ball isn’t speaking to me because I bought the wrong kind of polish and she now smells like pickles. The truth is, you have to try different kinds (in some cases, a LOT of different kinds) to find out what your baby will love. Make the testing easier on your baby by offering pacifiers shortly after a meal and not when she’s nearing her next feeding. Help her with the unusual taste by dipping it in a bit of breast milk or formula before offering it to her. Give it a little wiggle as you put it in so she naturally grasps onto it. Help her help you 🙂
Your premiere Seattle Newborn Photographer