Is It OK for Baby to Sleep With a Pacifier?

By
Shelley Frost
- November 14, 2017

Should You Pull the Plug on the Nighttime Pacifier?

Is It OK for Baby to Sleep With a Pacifier?
RobHainer/iStock/GettyImages

You've tried rocking, shushing, singing and swaying, but your little one can't seem to settle down to fall asleep. Her beloved pacifier is right there. Should you give it to her before putting her down to sleep? Following pacifier safety rules ensures your sweet baby gets her comfort without unnecessary risks.

Can Baby Sleep With a Pacifier?

Parents of babies rejoice when they hear that pacifiers are considered safe to use at both naptime and bedtime. As long as you choose a safe pacifier designed for your child's age, you can send him to dreamland safely with his favorite binky in his mouth.

What Are the Benefits of Baby Sleeping With a Pacifier?

The obvious benefit of using a pacifier during sleep time is the calm it provides your little one. Babies who love their pacifiers don't give them up easily, even at naptime or bedtime. If your baby is cranky when it's time to sleep, the sucking action that comes with that favorite binky can make her feel better.

There's no evidence that pacifiers help babies sleep longer, but a binky might help your little one fall asleep faster. The familiar sucking action and the calming it provides make it easier for those heavy eyelids to close.

Another major perk of using pacifiers while your baby sleeps is the reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Pacifiers can cut the risk in half. It's unclear why pacifiers are effective in cutting the SIDS risk, but it's a comforting reason to let your baby keep her binky while she sleeps.

Pacifier Safety Tips

When used properly, pacifiers are completely safe for babies. It's best to hold off on the pacifier for the first three weeks or so if you're breastfeeding to ensure your nursing is well-established. If your little one loves his binky, keep him safe with these tips:

  • Only use one-piece pacifiers molded from a single piece of plastic to prevent parts from popping off.
  • Choose BPA-free binkies.
  • Buy pacifiers designed for your child's age so they fit properly. A newborn pacifier is perfect for your tiny baby, but it becomes a choking hazard for an older child who can fit the entire thing in his mouth. 
  • Check the shield on the pacifier to make sure it is at least 1.5 inches wide to keep it from going completely inside your baby's mouth. The shield should have ventilation holes to make breathing easier.
  • Never attach the pacifier to your baby's clothes, crib, stuffed animal or bedding. The strap used to attach the pacifier becomes a strangulation hazard for your sleeping baby.
  • Check your baby's pacifier regularly to look for torn, discolored or deteriorated parts. Replace the old pacifier with a new one.
  • Never add sugar water or any other sweetener to the pacifier, as the sugar can hurt your baby's teeth.
  • Don't force your baby to take a pacifier. Offer it gently multiple times, but don't force it into his mouth if he seems uninterested.

About the Author

Shelley Frost relies on her experience as a mom and working professional to cover topics on sites such as Working Mother and Intuit. She runs her own business and has previous experience working in educational management, insurance and software testing. She routinely covers parenting, education and business topics in her freelance career.