While pacifiers may be your absolute essential to get through the day and night in relative peace, they can be a nightmare to keep hygienically clean. Here are the cardinal tips for keeping binkies free from germs.
Pacifiers are the perfect breeding ground for biofilms, a slimy slick of bacteria that can affect the healthy balance of baby’s oral microbes. To avoid this, ensure you have a stash of clean dummies in your nappy bag (and car) lest one should hit the road, literally.
“I usually advise against cleaning a baby’s paci with your own mouth as you can pass adult bacteria to your baby that can cause cavities,” explains paediatrician Dr. Tanya Altmann, a spokesperson for the American Association of Paediatrics (AAP). “Also, you can swap germs either way that may cause illnesses from colds to cold sores.”
Instead, if you need to urgently clean a contaminated paci before your tot starts a riot, use warm soapy water—or breastmilk, if you’re nowhere near adequate facilities.
For daily dummy care, a basic soapy water wash and an air dry at the end of the day will suffice. Pop in the dishwasher every now and then for a super clean—just bear in mind that hot temperatures will break down the materials in the paci quicker. But don’t eschew proper cleaning for the sake of keeping a dummy intact; for health and safety, they shouldn’t be used forever, anyway:
“Once they start looking worn out or have any breaking or cracked parts, it’s best to toss them and get new ones,” says Altmann.
“Although baby products are now BPA (industrial chemical bisphenol A) free, there are still other things in the pacifier material that with lots of washing and breakdown may leach out,” she explains. “It’s a good idea to replace if worn or any broken down pieces. This is also for safety. In case a piece actually breaks off it could become a choking hazard or cause injury if sharp.”