How many pacifiers do I need?

A pacifier is such a small, simple thing but there seems to be so much to learn about them when you’re becoming new parents. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about pacifiers and answer some common questions like how many pacifiers you need, what to look for when you’re deciding what to purchase, and how often to replace them.

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How many pacifiers do I need?

In general, you’ll need at least two pacifiers. One to use and another to wash/sterilize. However, it’s more practical to have 4. Pacifiers often get lost or dirty and it’s nice to have a number of pacifiers so you can store one in your diaper bag as backup and one in your nursery for nap time and bedtime. 

  • How many 0-3 month pacifiers?
    • At least 2, but 4 is better.
    • One to use, one to wash at a minimum.
  • How many 6+ month pacifiers?
    • At least 4, they need to be replaced more often (especially if your baby is teething and chews the pacifier).
  • How many is too many pacifiers?
    • This is dependent on your family’s needs but in general, you probably won’t need more than 8 pacifiers at a time in total.
  • How many pacifier clips do I need?
    • At least 2, but 4 is better.

In general, you’ll need one pacifier to use and one to wash. If your baby uses a pacifier only for naps and bedtime, 2-4 pacifiers might be enough. If your baby uses a pacifier frequently throughout the day, you may find that having more is helpful. One should be in your nursery, another in your diaper bag, and even having a spare pacifier in a soother case in your car, can come in handy.

many multicoloured pacifiers

How often should you replace pacifiers?

If you’re wondering ‘how long should a baby use one pacifier’… in general, the answer is up to 4-6 weeks but the answer is also dependent on the brand you’re using. For example, Philips Avent recommends replacing their ‘soothie’ pacifiers every 4 weeks for safety and hygiene reasons. The brand Bibs recommends replacing their rubber latex soothers every 4-6 weeks

Why should you replace your pacifiers? Because as they are used, the material they are made of breaks down and becomes more porous. It can also hide bacteria, become unhygienic, and even start to crack or break apart. Discard your pacifiers at the first sign of wear and tear for your baby’s safety. Use a new pacifier every 4-6 weeks.

What to look for in a pacifier?

My personal favorite pacifier is the Philips Avent Soothie. They are silicone one-piece pacifiers that are safe to use and have a 98% acceptance rate when given to newborns, which means they likely will not reject using them. Another good option is the Nuk orthodontic pacifier.

When you’re looking at what type of pacifier to buy there are a few things you might want to consider like: 

  • Design
  • Shape
  • Stage
  • Material

Design: Do you want a pacifier with a streamlined design? Some pacifiers are made from silicone that has been poured into a mold so they are one piece; other pacifiers are multiple pieces and have moving parts like a handle. 

Handles can be a nice spot to attach a pacifier clip, but they can also be where bacteria collect. A streamlined one-piece design can be helpful for cleaning and sterilizing. 

Make sure your pacifier of choice has ventilation holes so air can pass through around the face shield. Ventilation holes help make sure your baby’s skin doesn’t develop a drool rash from trapped saliva making skin wet. 

one-piece pacifier vs two piece

Shape: The best pacifiers have an orthodontic-approved nipple shape. Some pacifiers are more likely to change the shape of your baby’s teeth and the upper palate in their mouth which can lead to future dental issues. Well-shaped, orthodontic pacifiers can also help reduce the risk of nipple confusion for a breastfed baby.

Stage: What month/age is the soother designed for? Some pacifiers are designed for newborns ages 0-2 or even 0-3 months. Those newborn pacifiers are made from very soft materials. As babies get bigger and stronger, it’s safer for them to have more durable, bigger pacifiers. Every brand is different. Look at the packaging to check for age recommendations. 

Material: Is the pacifier made from latex, silicone, or rubber? Latex is softer but wears out more quickly. Latex also often smells strong and might make your baby refuse the pacifier because it doesn’t smell like mom. Silicone is easy to clean, scentless, and it is durable but not as soft as latex. Rubber is the most durable, strong option but it’s also more rigid than silicone or latex. 

Are pacifiers necessary for babies?

No, pacifiers are not necessary for most babies. They can be nice to have because they often help babies with self-soothing, which means they will cry less. Some babies will refuse pacifiers completely and that’s not a problem. 

Multiple studies have shown that the use of pacifiers is associated with a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome. In particular, these scientific studies recommend giving infants soothers for naptime and bedtime up until the age of 1, when the risk of SIDS is greatly reduced. 

What’s the best pacifier clip?

I personally prefer a pacifier clip that has a strong grip on clothing, is safe to use and reasonably priced. Liname, Booginhead, and Dodo Babies are all great options but you can read a full list of the best pacifier clips I’ve reviewed here.

If you need to know how to use a pacifier clip, check out this article with a how-to video.

soother clips

Do I need a pacifier case?

Using a pacifier case is a personal preference. A pacifier case or pacifier holder is helpful for keeping your pacifier clean especially when you’re on the go. They can get covered in germs and dust when you store them in a diaper bag. I would recommend either using a pacifier clip to keep it close by when your baby needs it, or carrying it in a case in your baby bag. 

How to clean a pacifier?

Never use your own mouth to ‘clean off’ your baby’s pacifier. This will just transfer germs from your mouth to your infant. Wash your baby’s pacifier with warm soapy water frequently throughout the day. Sterilize your baby’s pacifier at least once a day when your baby is a newborn. It’s the best way to ensure your pacifier is free from bacteria. As your baby’s age goes up, sterilization becomes slightly less important because older babies have a stronger immune system.

It’s a good idea to wash and sterilize your baby’s pacifier before putting it in your child’s mouth.


Pacifiers can be very helpful tools that have a calming effect on a fussy baby. Depending on your baby’s preference, there are many different pacifiers and pacifier brands that have a good orthodontic shape for you to choose from. I hope this article has assisted you in choosing the right pacifier to add to your baby registry as well as helping to explain the different sizes, the benefits of pacifiers, and how often to replace your pacifiers. At the end of the day, the number of pacifiers your baby needs could be different depending on your baby’s needs and frequency of use.

For more information about pacifier clips, check out these articles from Mama’s Buzz:

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