Can Newborns Sleep With a Pacifier?

Pacifiers are an incredible soothing tool for your tiny new baby. With so much information out there (and unsolicited advice from friends and family), it can be tough figuring out if and how you want to use a pacifier. On top of that, is it even safe for your baby to sleep with a pacifier?!


Here’s what I’ll cover in this blog: 


Should I give my newborn a pacifier?


Is it safe for my newborn to sleep with a pacifier?


What if my baby doesn’t like the pacifier?


What is the best age to take away the pacifier?


Grab your pacifier, binky, dummy, soothie… whatever you may call it, and let’s get into it!


Should I give my newborn a pacifier?


Know that the decision to try out and use a pacifier is 100% yours. It is in no way a necessity for getting good baby sleep. That being said, they can be a VERY helpful soothing tool and I think they are definitely worth a try.


Full disclosure, I am 100% in favor of using a pacifier. Here are a few reasons why…


It’s a Great Tool for Soothing


Our long-term goal is for our babies to eventually learn how to self-soothe. This is more easily done when they’ve had the chance to be soothed by something other than you, aka, using the pacifier to practice.


If you want to learn more about self-soothing behaviors and other common ways babies self-soothe, watch this video from my Instagram.

Self Soothing Sleep With Pacifier | The Peaceful Sleeper

Click here to watch the video on self-soothing techniques on my Instagram. 


It Can Be Hard to ALWAYS Get Your Baby to Your Breast


Mamas who only use nursing to comfort their baby all day (“comfort nursing”) mostly love it, but can oftentimes feel stuck. However, if you have a baby who can take a pacifier, bottle, and breastfeeds, it can make soothing them throughout the day so much easier.


Another note on comfort feeding: it can be the opposite of helpful when it comes to tummy issues. If your baby has reflux or extra gas, feeding them more even after they’re already full can exacerbate their problem. 


Pacifiers Can Help With Breastfeeding


This one’s pretty cool! When you give your baby a pacifier, it gives them the opportunity to figure out and practice more on how to form their lips around the shape of a nipple which can improve their latch.


They Can Help Detect a Tongue or Lip Tie


One reason your baby might struggle to keep their pacifier in their mouth is because of a tongue or lip tie. If you think this might be the case for your little one, I recommend you see a specialist!


Watch this video from my Instagram for other signs that your baby might have a tongue or lip tie.

Tongue and Lip Ties and Sleep with a Pacifier | The Peaceful Sleeper

Click here to watch the signs of tongue and lip tie reel on Instagram.


Your baby can also sleep with their pacifier (yes, even at night), which is AWESOME since it can help with soothing during the night. But more on this later!

Something to know for when your baby goes to sleep with the pacifier…If during your baby’s sleep, the pacifier falls out, don’t stress. If they’re doing fine without it, don’t worry about rushing in there to pop it back in. 


If they are fussing without it, give them 5-10 minus to try and resettle without the pacifier before going and giving it back.


Is it safe for my newborn to sleep with a pacifier?


Yes! It is totally safe to let your baby sleep with a pacifier, that is if you are following the safety guidelines recommended by the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP).


The AAP does not recommend anything besides a pacifier in the crib with your newborn. This includes toys or clips that may be attached to the pacifier. 


Do your research and make conscientious decisions about which pacifiers you let your baby sleep with.


Baby Sleep With Pacifier | The Peaceful Sleeper 


What if my baby doesn’t like the pacifier?


It’s actually pretty common for babies to not immediately take to the pacifier. Don’t give up! Introducing a pacifier can take some time, practice, and patience. 


Here are a few tips that might help your baby learn how to use and sleep with a pacifier:


1. Start Early


Starting early can help your baby get the hang of it faster. And, as I mentioned earlier, it can also help them learn to latch better when and if they’re breastfeeding.


2. Practice!


Give your baby a lot of opportunities for their tongue to explore and get used to the pacifier in a no-pressure situation. 


It might feel like they’re pushing it out when really they are still just trying to figure it out. Try aiming the pacifier toward the roof of their mouth which might help their latch to the pacifier.


3. Be Patient


It can be easy to mistake our baby pushing out the pacifier as them not wanting it. However, this isn’t always the case. Let me explain how sucking (on both a pacifier AND a nipple) works…


Newborns thrust out and down with their tongues before scooping back in. This can make the pacifier pop out of their mouth. Don’t give up! Gently hold it for them until their tongue can scoop around and find it. 


If you truly feel like your baby doesn’t want it, take a break. Don’t add any extra pressure or stress…you can always try again later!


Watch this video for tips on introducing a pacifier.

Tips for Sleep with Pacifier | The Peaceful Sleeper

Click here to watch the pacifier introduction video on Instagram.


What is the best age to take away the pacifier?


While you can theoretically take away the pacifier at any time, the optimal time to ditch the pacifier is either before they are 6 months old or after 2 years. Anytime between here, you are more likely to have sleep issues. 


Ditching the pacifier before 6 months is an option because it falls right around the time your baby has developed independent sleep skills or is going through sleep learning which means they have learned other ways to self-soothe. 


*Side note: If you’re wondering if you can use the pacifier while sleep learning, you can, and I’ve got an entire blog post with everything you’ll need to know. Click here to read it.


Getting rid of the pacifier after 2 years is also a good option since your little one is now old enough that you can talk them through it and involve them in the process.


Watch this video for more information on the best time to drop the pacifier.

Sleep with Pacifier and when to Drop | The Peaceful Sleeper

Click here to watch the video on Instagram.


If you’re interested in ditching the pacifier at night specifically, click here to read my blog post all about it.


Recap on Newborn Sleep With a Pacifier


While I might have a bias toward them, pacifiers are an incredible tool for your calming your baby, giving you a break, and building self-soothing skills. 


It is totally safe for your newborn to sleep with a pacifier, so long as you are following the safety guidelines of the AAP. Remember to do your research and make informed, conscious, and safe decisions when it comes to choosing a pacifier for your baby. 


If your baby is 4 months or older and you want your baby to develop more self-soothing skills for independent sleep, check out my 4-24 Months Course. It’s the most comprehensive course on the market and will teach you exactly how to be tuned in to YOUR baby’s sleep needs. 


You don’t have to go through this alone! I’ve got a team of AMAZING sleep consultants who are ready to help and support you at whatever level you need. We are always ready to help!

Christine Lawler

Christine Lawler

MS, LMFT, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant

Hi! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, practicing for over 13 years. I’ve set out to do ALL of the research and I created a method to optimize baby sleep that is tuned in, empowering and WORKS. There absolutely should be joy in motherhood, and I have learned that every baby CAN get better sleep!

Read more about my team here.

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