When to Change Pacifier Size

Pacifiers satisfy your baby’s natural sucking reflexes when they’re not feeding. They also work to soothe, calm and comfort your child when they’re upset or tired. As your baby grows, and for their safety and wellbeing, it’s essential to know when to change pacifier size.

Your baby’s first pacifier is normally sized newborn to 3 or 6 months old. That’s if you started your tot on the binky at the recommended three or four weeks after birth. You’ll do the next sizing by the time your child reaches their sixth month. That size proceeds up to one year where there’s a different size for up to three years of age.

It comes down to your baby’s preference. Despite a manufacturer’s designation, you shouldn’t give your child an under or oversized pacifier. To find out when to change pacifier size that meets your tot’s sucking needs, continue reading this article.

Why Change Your Baby’s Pacifier Size?

Pacifiers come in different sizes, shapes, and nipple designs. Your baby’s sucking urges will grow alongside their bodies, meaning you’ll need larger shields and longer, firmer nipples. Every child is unique, and by keeping a close eye on their needs, you’ll be able to judge the best binky size.

I recommend that you replace your child’s binky every four to six weeks of regular use for safety and hygiene reasons. For manufactures, age remains the best indicator for pacifier sizing. Pacis go through a lot of wear and tear. They’ll last only so long after getting sucked, chewed, and stepped on or dishwasher cleaned.

Your baby with no teeth will break down a pacifier, and weak spots will start from the required ventilation holes. Every so often, check your child’s binky for signs of cracks, tear or other damage and replace immediately before small pieces start breaking off. Another choking hazard is when a paci becomes too small in nipple size, or in general.

When Do You Know it’s Time to Size up Your Baby’s Pacifier?

Many popular brands of pacifiers come in two or three sizes, starting from age newborn to six months or older. All binkies have a shield, which enlarges alongside the nipple for sizes one through to seven. Size two has a range of 6 to 18 months old while sizes three, four, and five cover eighteen to 3 years.

Of course, you’ll be watching your baby’s growth and age to determine when to change pacifier size. Other signs that it’s time to replace or size-up your baby’s binky size include;

When Your Child’s Pacifier Can’t Get Clean Enough

That’s particularly an issue with latex pacifiers whose nipples tend to break down quicker, tearing or becoming sticky. If there’s still muck stuck between the shield and ring, or inside the nipple, even after sterilizing, go ahead and throw away the binky.

It’s good to have a few spares, probably of a larger size, for instances where a paci gets lost or has to be replaced.

If There’s Visible Damage on the Pacifier

Any time you see a part of your baby’s pacifier that’s broken, ripped, torn, or is cracked, get another. A dummy that can fall apart when your child is sucking is a choking hazard. Nipples can become elongated, lose form, texture, or elasticity. That usually happens when rubber is exposed to high temperatures.

If Your Child Responds Negatively to the Pacifier

When your baby seems to have a preference for a larger-sized pacifier it’s time to say goodbye to the old one. Could be our baby gets more agitated every time you give them their binky. Make sure you upsize that binky when you’re replacing it.

It may also be time to introduce a shadowy character named the ‘paci fairy,’ which comes at night to get disused binkies and gives those to new babies. Switch the pacifier for some incentive, toy, or treat, and that chapter may soon be forgotten. Otherwise, the binky can become a destructive habit that lingers on and can affect your child’s teeth.

Will My Baby Take to a Change in Pacifier Size?

Not all kids will agree with your pacifier change, especially if they’re attached to a particular binky. Some babies will outgrow a dummy but still insist on using that one, a sort of a security blanket-like reflex. If you need to enforce a sizing up without too much fuss, use a model that looks similar but differs in size.

If your child notices that their binky has been switched, use creativity to have them get used to the larger size. You can come up with a story about how their favorite binky grows, or blooms when properly cared for.

But what if they don’t buy it, but they’re still within the recommended age range? You can re-think upsizing or wait till it’s a concern that you can discuss with their dentist. It may also hinge on the shape of the larger-sized nipple of your preferred model. The general teat types you should be aware of include;


These nipples are typical of what you think a pacifier looks like. It’s relatively straight, but the end is rounded to encourage tongue sucking in young infants. The cylindrical design replicates your breasts nipple


The cherry shape is similar to the cylindrical, but its tip is more bulbous. Said to be the most naturally shaped option, this is recommended for babies who are breastfed due to its mimicking of your breast’s nipple.


A flatter but wider nipple than other shapes, you can use the butterfly design once your baby is set in their feeding routine. The pacifier shape is different from anything your infant may be used to.


Symmetrical contours and side beveling are features on orthodontic-shaped pacifier nipples. Depending on the brand, these are designed to allow your baby’s tongue freedom of movement for stellar jaw and palate development.


The correct use of a pacifier is related to a reduction in the risk of sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. These self-soothing aids have no defined expiry date, as that has more to do with the materials a binky is made from. Usually, your baby’s dummy will have a silicone or latex nipple, alongside BPA-free non-toxic plastics for shields or rings.

Trashing their dummy is the first sign of teething. This happens when it doesn’t offer comfort and should be traded for a dedicated gum soother. You should also note if your child wants to quit a pacifier before upsizing. Especially if it’s past their second birthday. You’ll know it when your tot starts finding other things to do with their binky, like chewing, doodling on walls, or playing ‘soccer’ on the sofa with it.