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Once you are done researching whether giving a pacifier to your baby is safe or not, the next big decision to make is to which pacifier to buy. Most parents get confused between rubber or latex and silicone made pacifiers.
If you ask parents who already gave pacifiers to their babies, you will get mixed opinions. Some will say latex pacifiers are totally fine, whereas, some will always give preference to use silicone-based pacifiers.
I had a little idea about both these materials, and after doing hours of research and reading expert opinions, and going through a few studies, I am going to share what I learned regarding this to help you decide which one to buy for your little one.
Rubber Pacifier Vs Silicone: Know The Difference
What is a Rubber or Latex Pacifiers
Since the rubber itself is a natural material, a lot of people prefer rubber pacifiers for their babies. Pure latex material is collected from rubber trees. The rubber then is filtered and dried in order to process for commercial using purpose. Unlike silicone, rubber doesn’t contact with chemicals during the processing stage.
Latex nipples are also much softer and flexible than silicone ones. Many pacifier manufacturing brands try to mimic the mother nipple so that the baby feels he/she is not fed anything else. That’s why when it’s about acceptability, most babies seem to accept rubber pacifiers more than silicone ones. You can find here Pacifiers For Tongue Tied Babies.
The material is also biodegradable, which makes quite an appeal to some parents. However, there are some cons involved in using a rubber pacifier for the baby.
Compared to silicone nipples, rubbery ones expand and break more often. As the baby continues to suck, the rubber expands. So the size will increase, which can make the baby feel uncomfortable while sucking it.
Furthermore, within 6 to 8 weeks of use, rubber pacifiers tear and break down. These also get sticky over time, so you will have to replace it sooner.
What is a Silicone Pacifiers
As the name suggests, the manufacturing process includes some chemicals. Silicone nipples are primarily made from silicone; oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon are also a part of the process. Apart from all these naturally occurring chemical substances, silicone nipples contain chemical preservatives and softeners as well.
If you consider how both these pacifiers are processed, you will surely prefer buying a rubber pacifier without a doubt. Now, you might ask, why do most people suggest using a silicone nipple?
Most parents indeed buy silicone pacifiers for their babies. Even though silicone nipples aren’t as flexible as rubber ones, these nipples are more durable and last-longer and rubber nipples.
If your baby has teeth, most likely he/she is going to cut the rubber, and swallow some of the rubber particles. But, this is something that the baby cannot do with silicone nipples. Due to the durable material, silicone pacifiers are less prone to wear and tear and can be used longer than its competitor.
Due to this longevity and durability concern, most people prefer silicone pacifiers over latex or rubber pacifiers, even though silicone is more expensive than rubber.
When Should You Go for Silicone-Based Pacifiers?
Based on the discussion above, there is no denying the fact that, even though silicone pacifiers are expensive, these last longer and more durable. So, you will not have to replace them anytime soon.
Also, there isn’t any risk of swallowing the particle for your baby if you buy him/her a silicone pacifier.
So, considering these facts, silicone-based pacifiers are the clear winner here.
But, apart from the risk of swallowing the nipple particles, there is another risk involved in pacifiers, which is the bacteria forming issue.
Silicone pacifiers come in two or multiple parts that allow the bacteria to settle and grow further. Even if you sterilize with boiling water, still there will be some parts where water cannot reach.
Experiments have shown that water stays inside the silicone head. This is because that particular part has a lot of bacteria, so water cannot clean it well.
When Should You Go for Rubber Pacifiers?
On the other hand, most rubber pacifiers are one-piece models that don’t have joints or cracks on them at all. So, when you sterilize a rubber pacifier, the chances are very less that bacteria will be there in a similar number as on silicone pacifiers.
You will have to replace rubber pacifiers more often. So, a shorter period of usage means there will be fewer bacteria to contact the baby.
So, overall, latex or rubber pacifiers harbor quite fewer bacteria than silicone-based ones. If the health of your baby is your prime concern, I would say, latex pacifiers are much better for infants. Infants don’t have teeth to bite the rubber, so it will not easily take wear and tear.
Also, for older babies, I would still recommend using latex or rubber pacifiers considering the fact that fewer bacteria can harbor these pacifiers.
But, before you plan to buy a rubber one, make sure that you periodically change the pacifier, sooner enough to have wear tear on the nipple. As latex-based ones are cheaper than silicone ones, it will not be considerably expensive too. Giving your baby a latex pacifier will reduce the number of times the baby gets sick.
If you prefer not to replace the pacifiers frequently, then go for a silicone-based one. As not all the bacteria are bad for humans, you can give the benefit of doubt to the pacifier at your own risk. If you have the baby in your home you can try Dryer Sheets For Babies
When it’s about rubber pacifier vs silicone, you will notice that the vast majority of parents prefer silicone pacifiers because these are more durable, and babies cannot cut the material with their teeth.
But, considering the well-being and health, rubber pacifiers are better. Even though there is a high risk that the baby will cut the rubber and swallow rubber particles, if the parents are well-aware and replaces the rubber nipple before it takes too many biting, then the risk can be reduced significantly.