The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Mayo Clinic recommends introducing pacifiers between 4 to 6 weeks after the baby is born. They also have some recommendations of how to use and not use a pacifier:
- Do not rely on a pacifier as a first line of defense. Sometimes a change in positions or a little rocking can soothe a baby’s crying.
- Only allow your baby to use a pacifier after or in between meals.
- Use one-piece silicone pacifiers. If two-piece pacifiers break, they can pose a threat to the baby’s health as they can be swallowed. Once you choose a pacifier, keep other ones that are identical on hand.
- Let your baby set the pace. If he or she is not interested in the pacifier, try it later or let the baby give it to themselves. If it falls out of the baby’s mouth while it is sleeping, do not put it back in. Keep them clean: wash pacifiers in hot water or in a dishwasher.
- Always make sure the child is safe. Replace pacifiers frequently, use a size that is right for the baby’s age and check to see if pieces of it get lost or if it starts to wear out. Do not use a long cord or string to secure the pacifier as the baby can choke on it.
Related article: Pacifiers: how bad can they be?