Pacifiers and Bottle Nipples: Questions and Answers

31-32 weeks pregnant, Health advice, Postnatal

Updated article on april 2021.

For new parents, and especially if the mother is breastfeeding, the choice of using a pacifier or not leads to many questions. What is the best model? Adapted to the age of my baby means what? Should I use latex or silicone?


In this entry:


At birth, your baby is at a stage where the structures in their face are in full growth. This development will influence their way of breathing, chewing and swallowing. The importance of the muscle work when breastfeeding on their development is considerable. The pressure exercised by their lips, tongue and cheeks will influence the future form of their mouth cavity and jaws.

Starting from birth, you need to make the right choice about pacifiers for your child (and everything else that goes in their mouth). Poorly chosen, a pacifier can potentially create problems for teeth alignment (malocclusion), the width of the palate, breathing, swallowing and more. A pacifier and bottle nipple must be chosen based on the baby’s age. Many models are on the market, made either from latex or silicone.

If you have postnatal breastfeeding problems, your health professional could recommend a pacifier, for the short-term, to fulfill the baby’s sucking needs. They will also try to minimise the risk that the baby will be confused when taking their mother’s breast.

Pacifier and nipples-the difference

The main role of a bottle nipple is to provide liquids. The pacifier is mainly used to satisfy the baby’s sucking needs. Over the past several years, efforts have been made to adapt the form and flexibility of pacifiers and bottle nipples so that they don’t interfere in the child’s proper development. However, even if this is the case, not all pacifiers and bottle nipples are optimally designed.

Breastfeeding and pacifier-risky?

When a mother breastfeeds her baby, naturally the baby must make a sucking effort to stimulate the arrival and ejection reflex of the breast milk. When breastfeeding goes well, the muscles are stimulated properly, which helps the development and growth of the newborn’s mouth and jaw structures. It also meets their natural need to suck. For some babies, breastfeeding sessions will be enough to meet their natural sucking need, while for others it’s not. Some authors suggest that the proper use of a pacifier (a good pacifier) for short controlled periods while properly breastfeeding won’t cause problems. It will also provide the baby comfort and fulfill their sucking needs.

According to the Canadian Pediatric Society, the pacifier may be associated with great benefits under certain conditions, such as painful procedures, self-comfort and non-nutritious sucking for in term and premature infants. For premature, we can even say that the use of the pacifier to satisfy non-nutritive sucking is part of the systematic development at the oromotor level for these children during their neonatal care.

Conversely, others state that the use of a pacifier or bottle nipples too early after birth can cause confusion between breast and pacifier for the baby. This might lead to early weaning. Some worry that a poorly cleaned or contaminated pacifier can cause earaches and respiratory congestion. They also note the risk for potential dental problems when a bad pacifier is chosen.

To continue reading this entry, please click on the following link—Pacifier or thumb?

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