Becoming a new mom comes with a whole world of questions. You’ve got questions for the answers to your questions, you’ve got questions for your own parents, questions for your pediatrician, questions for your mom friends, questions for doctor google. It’s as though overnight the world becomes a giant question mark as you attempt to navigate through this thing called motherhood. How often do I feed my baby? How many dirty diapers should my baby have per day? How much spitting up is considered normal? How often should I bathe my baby? Will I ever sleep again?!?
Just when I felt like I had answered one batch of questions, a situation would occur that would bring forth a whole new round of questions. The most recent question to pop into my head in the wee hours of the night?
...How often should I replace my pacifier?
My daughter loves her pacifier. We typically have it attached to her via a pacifier clip and whether she’s using it to practice her hand eye coordination or using it to actually pacify, it’s rare that you will see my daughter without one nearby. Due to how much use that thing gets, sanitizing our pacifiers has become a new household chore since little miss entered our lives. One night after a round of cleaning, I was laying there thinking about the little silicone paci that goes in my daughters mouth every day and wondered... if we replace our tooth brushes regularly, why would we not replace pacifiers regularly? How often should I actually be replacing this thing?
The answer to this is surprisingly hard to find. However, motherhood has turned me into a professional researcher so I decided to take one for the team and pour what little energy I have left into finding all of the information I could on this subject.
Turns out, we should be replacing our pacifiers far more often than I would have ever thought---and apparently we are all on the same page according to a recent Ulubulu instagram poll in which 86% of moms reported that they didn’t know how often pacifiers should be replaced.
Just last year, Romper.com, a well known motherhood website, had a discussion with Jonas Sickler, marketing director at Consumer Safety about this subject. He told them that one of the most important indicators that it's time to toss the paci is damage. "Even a baby with no teeth can eventually break down a pacifier, especially if the soother takes countless trips to the dishwasher”. He also explained that pacifiers are required to have ventilation holes, which can become weak spots. He said, "If you see any rips that could result in pieces breaking off, replace it immediately”.
Sickler also brought up another piece of information that I think we as new moms often overlook... making sure your baby is using the correct size of pacifier. As he told Romper.com, "New parents may not be aware that pacifiers have age limits due to the size of your baby's mouth. If you aren't sure what age yours is rated for, they are cheap enough to buy a new set”. Typically, pacifiers come in 2 sizes: 0-6M and 6-18M. This means, just like replacing your baby’s bottle size when they reach certain age markers, we should be replacing their pacifier size as well.
Ok, cool, so I only need to be replacing my pacifiers 1. when any signs of damage are noticeable, and 2. when my baby moves from size 0-6M to 6-18m? Right??
Webmd reported than in a small 2012 study that tested 10 used pacifiers, five of the used pacifiers were slightly contaminated, and the other five were heavily contaminated. Microbiology expert at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Thomas Glass, DDS, PhD told webmd that all used pacifiers be should be thrown out after two weeks and that all pacifiers should be replaced if your baby has recently been sick.
While replacing your pacifiers every two weeks may sound a little impractical, you may be relieved to hear that this opinion does differ... but not by much! According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, you should “always replace the pacifier every two months, before damage occurs”.
All of the large baby product companies seem to agree with this.
According to MAM’s website, they “recommend the soother be replaced every two months for hygienic purposes”. Similarly, Ulubulu says that “all pacifiers should be replaced every 4-8 weeks” and Nuk says “For hygiene and safety, replace pacifiers after 2 months of use”.
The general consensus? Replace all pacifiers at minimum every two months, when your baby is sick, and when your baby changes sizes.
Simple enough. Case closed. This question has finally been answered.
...Now to investigate the other 20 mom questions that I’ve thought up all before 10am today while simultaneously adding a new batch of pacifiers to my cart.
Hosseini, Sarah. “Here's When Should Replace Baby's Pacifier.” Romper, Romper, 02 Mar. 2017, www.romper.com/p/when-should-you-replace-babys-pacifier-more-often-than-you-think-41102.
Mann, Denise. “Pacifiers Crawling With Germs.” WebMD, WebMD, 2 Nov. 2012, www.webmd.com/children/news/20121102/pacifiers-crawling-germs.