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Can Your Baby Use A Bottle Nipple As A Pacifier? 

 June 23, 2023

By  Mei Lele

For children who often sleep hard, noisy environments make it difficult for them to fall asleep or wake up easily. In such a situation, your baby has to suck your nipple to sleep, but if the baby sleeps while feeding breast milk, it is also very easy to choke on the milk.

Is your baby often crying and difficult to comfort when your newborn leaves your nipple, even though your infant is full? Does your baby have the habit of sucking his thumb instead of a nipple? These things make you tired and even stressed.

Therefore, you see that the bottle nipple is soft and has the same structure as a pacifier, so you don't know if it can be used instead of a pacifier.

Thumb sucking is both unhygienic and affects the baby's hands and teeth, so you often use pacifiers for your baby. However, many babies refuse pacifiers but still cooperate with bottle feeding. So can these babies use bottle nipples as a pacifier?

Can Your Baby Use A Bottle Nipple As A Pacifier?

can baby use bottle nipple as a pacifier

Even if your baby isn't crying, using a pacifier may help them fall and remain asleep for longer periods of time. Thanks to that, you can sleep more too.  Babies who suck on pacifiers may have enhanced nerve reflexes and breathing muscles.

So, can newborns use bottle nipples? We do not recommend using a bottle nipple as a pacifier because they have different purposes. Plus, due to their dissimilar aims, the structure of these two types is totally unlike.

The main role of a bottle nipple is to provide liquids such as breast milk, formula milk, pure water, or juice. In contrast, the pacifier is mainly used to meet the baby’s sucking needs.

Choosing the material of the nipple is also something that mothers need to pay attention to. Currently, there are two popular types of nipples: silicone nipples and rubber nipples. You can check out a comparison of these two types of pacifiers here to learn more about the pros and cons of each.

Bottle Nipple

can baby use bottle nipple as a pacifier

The bottle nipples are normally made of rubber since its soft characteristic is convenient for the baby to feed milk. A rubber nipple is suitable for the under 6 months old baby because it is softer and similar to your nipple.

Nevertheless, because bottle nipples are totally soft, your baby can bite and swallow them.

Important notes when using bottle nipples

You should replace a new bottle nipple for your baby when the nipple has discolored or worn out, which can cause choking for the baby. In addition, you should never give your baby just one, because the older he gets, the more he will like to bite. 

Therefore, you must regularly check to see if your baby's bottle nipples show signs of needing to be replaced. If the teat of the bottle is torn, peeled, or broken, it should be thrown away immediately. 

A torn bottle nipple should not be used as a pacifier for a teething child because the baby can bite the teat into small pieces and swallow it easily. This is very dangerous for the baby because it can cause a potential choking hazard.

Pacifier

can baby use bottle nipple as a pacifier

The shape of the pacifier is very diverse, so you should choose the type with a wide bottom so that when the baby uses it, it feels as familiar as your nipples. Plus, you should choose a flat pacifier so as not to affect the baby's gums and teeth. Additionally, it has a light to make it easy to find at night.

In general, babies who have just started teething or have already teethed will love to bite, or babies who suck strongly should choose silicone nipples. Since it is hard, durable and holds shape for a long time, safe, and has no unpleasant odor.

If you try to use bottle nipples as a pacifier, it can cause a potential choking hazard. If the bottle of milk has a small nipple, it is very likely that the baby can swallow it and cause choking when your baby suckles too strongly.

In fact, every type of pacifier has its own disadvantages for the baby. The rubber nipple has an unpleasant rubber smell, so many babies do not like to suck, and the silicone pacifier is too hard or big, which is not good for the baby's palate and gums, as well as the development of the baby's teeth. 

In short, you shouldn’t use a bottle nipple as a pacifier. If the infant suckes forcefully, the nipple may burst out of the ring and choke your baby. Therefore, if the baby is both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding, a pacifier is more appropriate.

Should The Pacifier And Bottle Nipple Be The Same?

can baby use bottle nipple as a pacifier

The structure of these two things is not the same because they serve different purposes. We use a bottle nipple to provide milk, water, and juice for the newborns. Conversely, the pacifier is just to satisfy the need for reassurance for your baby, so these two items are completely different.

So, can newborns use bottle nipples? Of course, yes! However, you need to know the difference between bottle nipples and other types of pacifiers. Thanks to that, it can help you choose a suitable type that is safe for your beloved baby.

So what is the structure of the two different types? Is a pacifier made of latex or silicon the safest for your baby? Let's distinguish the difference between them!

The Rubber (Latex) Pacifiers

Rubber (latex) appears to provide increased suppleness and flexibility for pacifiers and bottle nipples. This stimulates the necessary muscular effort for the baby's jaw development. 

However, the present industry trend appears to favor the usage of silicone. This gives parents peace of mind about latex allergies, even if they do not use it infrequently. 

Besides, it should also be noted that Health Canada has imposed severe guidelines on the use of potentially carcinogenic components (nitrosamines) in order to enhance the flexibility of rubber pacifiers. 

Moreover, although silicone pacifiers and bottle nipples tend to be less flexible than latex-made pacifiers, they are still more popular than ever!

The Silicon Pacifiers

Because silicone pacifiers and bottle nipples are less pliable, they do not support sucking or the optimum development of the child's facial structures. The more flexible a pacifier or nipple is, the more useful and preferred it is.

However, due to safety concerns, the packaging of these items makes it hard for you to check flexibility while making a choice.

Generally, if you use a bottle nipple, your baby will swallow a lot of air and easily burp, gas, discomfort, etc. Also, the bottle nipple is easily pulled into the oral cavity because the material is too flexible and unfitting. 

Hence, it is easy to become a choking hazard when your baby sucks too strong.

What To Do If Your Baby Refuses A Pacifier?

can baby use bottle nipple as a pacifier

You complain that your baby refuses to suck on a pacifier, but in fact, you only give your baby a pacifier 2-3 times and see that the baby does not latch on. Hence, you suppose that the baby refuses to suck. 

When offering pacifiers, you often try to put them in the baby's mouth without letting the baby take the initiative to approach. This makes the baby uncomfortable and often responds by spitting out the pacifier and refusing to suck. 

Therefore, if your baby doesn't suck, don't be discouraged, be persistent in using it for your baby next time.

Most importantly, you have to buy pacifiers that have the shapes and materials that are safe and suitable for your baby. Your baby could want a pacifier with a different shape, like round or flat, one that sits higher or lower in their mouth, or one made wholly of flexible silicone rather than hard plastic.

You can test multi-types of pacifiers to determine which your little one prefers, as long as the pacifiers you're buying are safe for their age. Here are some kinds of pacifiers that you can refer to:

Pigeon Mickey Disney

What we like

  • A flat nipple design with silicone material should be safe for your baby.
  • Designed with a lovely and lively Mickey Mouse image.
  • Prestigious and famous Pigeon brand.

What we don't like

  • It is no glow lights.

Nuk Sleeptime Silicone Plus (Mickey Disney)

What we like

  • High-quality medical-grade silicone material, so there is no plastic smell.
  • A narrow nipple neck helps the baby's mouth area stay dry.
  • Easy to clean in the microwave.

What we don't like

  • Not easy to clean in the microwave.

How can I soothe my baby without a pacifier? If your baby loses the pacifier or temporarily doesn't have it, you can try using minimum soothing to calm the baby down. Non-invasive approaches include jiggling the crib (so the baby's head jiggles lightly) or gently rubbing the baby's back like a tom-tom.

6 Must Know Safety Notes When Choosing And Giving Pacifier To Your Baby

Many parents use pacifiers for their babies to limit their kids' thumb sucking. So when should a baby suck on a pacifier? What principles should you pay attention to?

If you want to give your baby a pacifier, there are a few guidelines you can follow to ensure your baby's safety and prevent a number of health-related risks to your baby, including:

Don't Force Your Baby To Suck On A Pacifier

Let your child decide instead of putting the pacifier directly in his mouth. If you accept it right away, it's okay, but if you refuse, don't force it. You can try again next time or simply find another way to make your baby happier and more interested.

Only Use A Pacifier When Your Baby Is Not Hungry

The best way to use a pacifier is to give your baby a pacifier between meals when you are sure your baby is not hungry. Plus, avoid using it as a way to delay breastfeeding or to substitute care and attention of you.

Instead, a pacifier will be useful in situations where a baby needs to be comforted. For example, while you are shopping at the supermarket, shopping mall, or sitting in the car.

Giving Your Baby A Pacifier Is Not The Only Way To Comfort Your Baby

Try giving your baby a pacifier when napping and at night. If it falls out of your baby's mouth while he's asleep, don't put it back in your baby's mouth. When your baby is fussy, try to comfort her in other ways first, such as cuddling, holding her, or singing, before thinking about using a pacifier.

Be Careful When Wearing A Pacifier To Your Baby

Don't tie a pacifier around your baby's neck or put it on your baby's crib. Your baby can accidentally be strangled with those ties. It is safer to attach the pacifier to your baby's clothes with a special clip made specifically for this.

Clean The Pacifiers

First, choose a pacifier that is safe and suitable for your baby. During use, you need to pay attention to how to clean the pacifier before giving it to your baby. You should wash the pacifier regularly with warm water. If you see small cracks appear or other signs, you should replace the new one immediately.

Don't clean a pacifier by putting it in your parent's mouth. Adult saliva contains bacteria that can cause tooth decay in babies as soon as teeth begin to emerge from their gums. You should also not dip pacifiers in juice or sugar as this can also cause tooth decay.

When Should You Not Give Your Baby A Pacifier?

In some of the following cases, using a pacifier will be counterproductive:

  • The baby is having a weight gain problem.
  • Your newborn has a middle ear infection.
can baby use bottle nipple as a pacifier

Closing

On the whole, can baby use bottle nipple as a pacifier? Of course not! Hence, you have to use the pacifier. The use of a pacifier may protect infants from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). So don't worry if your baby is too excited about this item. 

However, to be safe for your baby, consult your doctor before deciding whether to give your baby a pacifier or not!

Hopefully, with the information that the article provides, you will have more comprehensive knowledge about the issue of letting your baby use a pacifier in the most comfortable and safest way!

Mei Lele


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