In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

Best Baby Pacifier

Credit: Abriah Wofford
By Molly Bradac ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Friday June 4, 2021
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Searching for the best baby pacifier? Our review ranks 2021's top 9 pacifiers. To determine the best, we scoured the market for promising contenders and purchased a selection to send through hands-on testing. Our testing metrics focused on pacifier material, nipple shape, design, and more. With so many options available on the market, knowing our testing details can help you make an informed buying decision. Let our recommendations help guide you to the best pacifier to help calm your little one.


1

Best Overall Pacifier


WubbaNub Pacifier


Sizes: 0-6 mths | One-piece: Yes
Cylindrical nipple
Pacifier not easily lost
Machine washable
0-6 months only, no next-stage pacifier available

The WubbaNub Pacifier quickly became one of our favorites. The pacifier is one-piece, medical-grade silicone (free of latex, BPA, and Phthalates), and attaches to a soft plush animal. Since younger babies can have difficulty keeping pacifiers in their mouths, the attached "lovey" helps stabilize the pacifier so it doesn't pop out as easily. The plush animal also makes it easier for older babies to locate, grab, and navigate the pacifier to their mouth. Plus, children can find comfort in playing and stroking the soft plush. WubbaNubs are handmade, and the manufacturer suggests handwashing or surface cleaning with cold water and air drying. But, it is possible to machine wash on a gentle cycle before air drying. Thanks to the plush animal, we believe this pacifier is easier to locate around the home as it is harder to overlook than single small pacifiers, especially clear contenders that might blend with its surroundings.

The WubbaNub is for babies ages 0-6 months, and, unfortunately, there is no next-stage pacifier available. If you have an early teether on your hands, be aware that emerging teeth and chomping can damage the pacifier, so frequently check a "Wubbie" before use and immediately stop use if you notice cracks. However, there is no doubt that the WubbaNub brings a dash of fun to the world of pacifiers, and we highly recommend it to families with babies between 0-6 months of age.

The plush animal at the end of the WubbaNub helps stabilize the...
The plush animal at the end of the WubbaNub helps stabilize the pacifier, and it makes it easier for children to pick-up.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

2

Best for Newborn


Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier


Sizes: 0-3 mths, 3+ mths | One-piece: Yes
Cylindrical nipple
Tab to hold
Younger babies' struggle

The Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier could be an excellent option for newborns as it features a cylindrical nipple that is soft and collapsible to respond to a baby's sucking pattern. It is medical-grade silicone (BPA-free), durable, and easy to clean with its one-piece construction with no nooks or crannies for germs to hide. The silicone shield is flat, and it offers a tab for parents to hold. If you like this option, consider moving onto the Philips Avent Super Soothie once your little one hits the 3-month mark and beyond. It is similar in design but suitable for older babies.

During our hands-on testing, our younger users seemed to have more trouble keeping this option in their mouths. However, this situation is not necessarily unique to this product as it can happen with other pacifiers. Despite this possible situation, we recommend this pacifier for families with newborns.

The Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier is distributed in hospitals...
The Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier is distributed in hospitals nationwide.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Tip: If a pacifier falls out of your baby's mouth and lands on the floor, do not clean it by sticking it in your mouth before inserting it back into the baby's mouth. This cleaning method is not "clean," and harmful bacteria from your mouth can transfer to your baby. Instead, wash it with soap and water, or sanitize it.

3

Best Bang for the Buck


Dr. Brown's HappyPaci


Sizes: 0+ mths | One-piece: Yes
Similar to Dr. Brown's standard/narrow nipple
Easy to hold loop
Longer nipple

Does your bottle-fed baby use Dr. Brown's bottles? If so, the Dr. Brown's HappyPaci may meet your needs. With a similar nipple shape to Dr. Brown's bottles, your little one may be more likely to accept this option. The HappyPaci is silicone (BPA-free), one-piece construction, butterfly-shaped, and curves away from your baby's face, providing room for the nose and cheeks. The pacifier's loop is one of the largest among the competition, and we believe this makes it easier for older babies to grab.

The HappyPaci's nipple is longer than other contenders in our review, which could cause some younger babies to gag. We noticed that our six-month-old tester's top lip would occasionally come over the pacifier's top, which implies the sizing may not be compatible with this child. This observation is specific to our tester, and it does not mean the HappyPaci will not fit your child of the same age as every child is different. We recommend this pacifier to families using Dr. Brown's bottles and would like a pacifier with a similar shape to make the transition easier.

The Dr. Brown's HappyPaci is easy for little ones to grab, and it...
The Dr. Brown's HappyPaci is easy for little ones to grab, and it has the same shape as the bottle nipple.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

4

Best for Glow in the Dark Pacifier


MAM Air Night Pacifier


Sizes: 6+ mths | One-piece: No
Orthodontic nipple
Glow-in-the-dark button
Extra airflow shield
Travel-friendly case
Risk of water in nipple

The MAM Air Night stands out among the competition with its glow-in-the-dark button, making it easier to locate in the middle of the night. Another noteworthy feature is its minimal shield, allowing generous airflow, which is excellent for babies with sensitive skin. The orthodontic nipple is silicone, and the shield is plastic, both are BPA-free. It is available in various colors and patterns, and each set comes with a plastic sanitizer case. During testing, our little tester could easily grab and hold this pacifier. We also like that the case helps keep the pacifier together in the diaper bag and safer from germs.

With concerns regarding plastic and the potential of leaching chemicals, we feel that sanitizing the pacifier in its plastic sanitizer case is not the best method. Instead, we think the old-fashioned boiling water method works fine. Also, the pacifier is not of one-piece construction, and there is potential for water to enter the nipple, leaving moisture for germs to grow. Nonetheless, we recommend this product to families who will appreciate the glow-in-the-dark feature and minimal shield with extra airflow, reducing the chance of skin irritation for their little one.

The MAM Air Night is easy for children to pick-up, and it...
The MAM Air Night is easy for children to pick-up, and it illuminates in the dark, making it easier for babies to find in the crib in the middle of the night.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

5

Best for Style


MAM Clear Pacifier


Sizes: 0-6 mths | One-piece: No
Orthodontic nipple
Multiple airflow holes
Moisture can enter the nipple

The MAM Clear Pacifier is a stylish option with fun button designs, despite its translucent, butterfly-shaped faceplate. This multi-piece option has a thin plastic shield (free of BPA and BPS) with a silicone nipple. The symmetrical orthodontic nipple has a narrow base, which increases to a bulb shape. The manufacturer claims dentists created the paci's design, and the nipple shape is ideal for oral development. The shield is unique as it sports a subtle textured surface and ventilation openings, allowing the babies' skin to breathe while sucking. Since the shield slightly curves, we noticed that this pacifier has a close fit on our tester's mouth.

Since this pacifier is not one-piece construction, there is potential for water to enter the nipple, which is not ideal for hygiene reasons as it can promote germ growth. If this occurs, the manufacturer suggests squeezing and shaking the nipple to expel the water. However, if you don't mind a multi-piece paci, we recommend this contender for those who are seeking a stylish option.

The MAM Clear Pacifier has a curved shield, big air holes, and an...
The MAM Clear Pacifier has a curved shield, big air holes, and an easy to hold button. For our little tester, she found the shield easy to grab and hold, which works, too.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

6

Runner-up Best for Newborn Option


RaZbaby JollyPop Pacifier


Sizes: 0-3 mths | One-piece: Yes
Cylindrical nipple
Loop easy to hold
The nipple is soft but not the softest

The RaZbaby JollyPop Pacifier is 100% medical-grade silicone (free of BPA, latex, phthalate, and DEHP) and one-piece construction. It has a low profile and curved shape, and RaZbaby's website mentions it is likely compatible with CPAP, nasal cannulas, and a side-lying position. It also features two ventilation holes on the upper lip, and the loop handle has small nubs.

The JollyPop is for babies without teeth, and the manufacturer suggests discontinuing use if your baby can fit it in their mouth or teeth have emerged. Interestingly, the JollyPop is available in an unscented and lightly scented (vanilla) version. The scent is FDA-approved vanilla essence added to the silicone during the manufacturing process. It is considered food and safe for babies. We prefer the unscented version, which we used during our hands-on testing, as we believe babies' do not need scented pacifiers. But, we recognize it is a personal choice. Despite the JollyPop's shorter age range, we recommend this pacifier to families with a newborn.

The RaZbaby JollyPop is a single-piece 100% medical grade silicone...
The RaZbaby JollyPop is a single-piece 100% medical grade silicone that meets the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

7

Best for Soft Silicone


Evenflo Balance + Cylindrical Pacifier


Sizes: 0-6 mths | One-piece: Yes
Soft cylindrical nipple
Loop easy to hold
Frosted color may be easy to overlook

Developed with Pediatric Feeding Specialists, the Evenflo Balance Plus Pacifier is a stage 1 pacifier that encourages healthy sucking skills. It features a cylindrical nipple shape that promotes tongue cupping, a position that resembles babies' latch while breastfeeding. It is 100% silicone (free of BPA, polycarbonates, PVC, and phthalates), lightweight, soft, and flexible. The ventilation holes on the upper portion of the shield increase airflow, and the easy-grip handle angles downward. Once your little one ages out of this option, consider the stage 2 version, Evenflo Balance + Orthodontic Pacifier, designed for babies 6 months and on, offering a different nipple shape that the manufacturer claims supports oral development and emerging teeth.

The Evenflo's frosted color can be overlooked or misplaced as it does not stand out. Besides this factor, if you seek a soft silicone pacifier, look no further. This option may be a match for you and your baby.

The Evenflo Balance Plus pacifier is 100% silicone. The pacifier for...
The Evenflo Balance Plus pacifier is 100% silicone. The pacifier for babies ages 0-6 months has a cylindrical nipple, whereas the 6 months+ version has an orthodontic nipple shape.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

8

Best for Nipple with Upward Flex


Chicco PhysioForma Soft Pacifier


Sizes: 0-6 mths, 6-16 mths, 16-24 mths | One-piece: Yes
Orthodontic nipple with upward flex
Airflow holes on the top and bottom
Reusable case to sterilize and keep pacifiers clean
Transparent color may be easy to overlook

The Chicco PhysioForma Soft Pacifier is 100% silicone (free of BPA and latex) and features an orthodontic nipple that flexes upward. The manufacturer claims the exclusive nipple design holds various benefits, like supporting babies' breathing by keeping a forward tongue position, evenly distributing tongue pressure across the palate to support oral development, and its narrow base allows for optimal lip closure. The shield has four heart-shaped ventilation holes for air circulation, two on the top and two on the bottom. It also offers a loop that is one of the largest, right behind the HappyPaci Pacifier, which our tester (6 months old) could easily hold. In addition, this pacifier comes with a sterilizing carry case that helps keep a pacifier protected and away from lint and germs or vanishing in a diaper bag.

The carry case allows you to sterilize pacifiers; however, we prefer not to use it in this manner, given the potential of plastic leaching chemicals. We believe boiling water to sanitize is an easy task and favor this method. The Chicco's clear color can be easy to overlook, but other colors may be available. We think this is a potential contender for parents concerned with oral development based on the manufacturer's claims.

The Chicco PhysioForma Soft Pacifier is a one-piece 100% silicone...
The Chicco PhysioForma Soft Pacifier is a one-piece 100% silicone design with an orthodontic nipple.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

9

Best for Flex


Tommee Tippee Closure to Nature Pacifier


Sizes: 0-6 mths, 6-18 mths | One-piece: No
Orthodontic nipple
Ventilation holes increase airflow
No loop

The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Pacifier claims to be breast-like, allowing the nipple to feel, flex, and stretch like mom's breast to ease the transition between breast, bottle, and pacifier. This multiple-piece contender is polypropylene plastic and silicone (free of BPA). There is no right way to place the pacifier with a circular shield, and it has multiple holes around the shield to increase airflow, which can lessen the chance of skin irritations.

The outer shield is plastic, and it does not have a loop. Our little tester (6 months old) couldn't hold onto this pacifier and accidentally put it in his mouth like a wafer, prompting his parent to remove the pacifier and help with proper positioning. Once in place, our little tester enjoyed it. We recommend this pacifier to families looking for breast-like similarities or use Tommee Tippee bottles as the latch is similar.

The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Pacifier offers an orthodontic...
The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Pacifier offers an orthodontic nipple and is easy to grip.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Tip: Pacifiers can crack and tear over time. Occasionally, inspect and pull on the nipple to look for wear and tear to avoid potential choking or ingestion hazards.

Each pacifier in our review experienced hands-on testing.
Each pacifier in our review experienced hands-on testing.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Why You Should Trust Us


BabyGearLab has been testing a wide range of products over the past decade, accumulating extensive experience and knowledge with every review. Leading this review is Senior Review Editor, Molly Bradac, who also holds over 14 years of experience as a professional nanny and Newborn Care Specialist. While testing, we were able to enlist the help of some awesome little testers, ranging in age from newborn to 6 months. We purchased each product in our review and completed hands-on testing and side-by-side comparisons to assess performance.

The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Pacifier has a shield that is...
The WubbaNub Pacifier is soft and cuddly.

Analysis and Test Results


We tested our lineup with various little testers and evaluated each product for material and nipple shape, which played a role in our contenders' ranking.

Every pacifier will differ in size and shape depending on age. This...
Every pacifier will differ in size and shape depending on age. This information is found on the packaging, and it is best to follow manufacturer recommendations.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Tip: It is critical to choose a pacifier that is the appropriate size for your baby's age and stage. As babies develop and teeth emerge, pacifier needs can change, so keep an eye on the suggested age, typically found on a product's package. We encourage you to discuss the use and transition of pacifiers with your child's pediatrician to ensure proper oral development.


The MAM pacifiers have different shield designs, with the MAM Air...
The MAM pacifiers have different shield designs, with the MAM Air Night (right) offering minimal surface area for babies with sensitive skin.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Material


Pacifiers are often silicone, but latex nipples are also available. We suggest double-checking the material before using a pacifier, especially if your child has a latex allergy. All of the pacifiers in this review are silicone, including the Dr. Brown's HappyPaci and Evenflo Balance + Cylindrical Pacifier. Silicone is less porous and less prone to bacteria growth than latex nipples. It can also withstand high temperatures, which is excellent for boiling and sterilizing for hygienic reasons. A few pacifiers in our review utilize some plastic, like the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Pacifier, the MAM Air Night, and the MAM Clear Pacifier. If you are looking to avoid plastic due to the potential of chemicals leaching, this is a factor to consider.

Nipple Shape


Are cylindrical or orthodontic nipples better? Honestly, the answer depends and every baby is different. We suggest discussing this topic with your pediatrician and lactation consultant, but we can kick start the discussion and provide information. A cylindrical nipple is bell-shaped, whereas an orthodontic nipple has an irregular shape with an indent in the center. For instance, the Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier has a soft, cylindrical nipple. In contrast, the Chicco PhysioForma Soft Pacifier has an orthodontic nipple with an upward flex, unlike any other option in our lineup. Finding the right pacifier for your baby may take some trial and error. Also, since there is some discrepancy in what style is best for breastfeeding babies or when to introduce a pacifier to breast-fed babies, your pediatrician and consultant can help you navigate these waters.

Design


Some pacifiers are one piece, while others are more than one part. Every baby is unique, and will likely have a personal favorite, despite the design, so we don't think it is fair to link design with performance. However, we do recognize that design can affect the product's quality and durability. For example, those with a hollow nipple provide no chance for saliva and water to enter the nipple as it is one mold. However, bulb-like nipples that attach to a shield can result in trapped moisture inside the bulb. Moisture increases the chance for bacterial growth potential, an issue you'll want to avoid happening in a product your baby sucks on. If you notice moisture trapped inside the nipple where it can't get dry, it is best to replace the product with a new one. In general, we suggest all pacifiers should be regularly checked and inspected for damage. Those with more than one part deserve closer investigation as damage could lead to a potential choking hazard, a logical assumption when it comes to small parts.

Tip: More is Better
As these little buggers can easily get lost, dirty or accidentally misplaced, we recommend purchasing several pacifiers for your home, car, and diaper bag. Keep a couple in the diaper bag for times when one hits the floor, so you'll have a backup.

The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Pacifier was one of our little...
The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Pacifier was one of our little tester's favorites.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Conclusion


A pacifier can offer comfort for your baby and fill non-eating sucking / soothing needs. Some studies also show that it might help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). If you feel a pacifier is right for your baby, ensure the pacifier's size is appropriate for your baby's age and consider discussing your choice with your child's pediatrician. We encourage purchasing a variety of baby pacifier brands and styles to try as you never know what your little one may prefer. We are confident that the information and recommendations in this review will help your decision-making.

Molly Bradac