Can I give my newborn a pacifier?

Our expert offers advice on when to introduce a pacifier to your new baby.

Photo by: DomenicoGelermo, istock

Q: Are newborns too young for a soother? I feel like other parents will judge us for giving our fourweek-old infant a pacifier, and I’ve seen message boards talking about “nipple confusion.” 

A: There’s no minimum age; pacifiers are even used in NICUs for non-nutritive sucking and comfort. However, in the first few weeks at home, a soother may not be a great idea because this is a period of learning: Parents are getting to know cues indicating hunger, gas, pain, illness, a need for sleep, or a need to be changed. If you’re still trying to establish breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, offer a feed before the pacifier. You can use one as soon as you’ve seen a weight gain, as early as 10 days of age.

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