What is a Pacifier Called in England? All You Need to Know

If you’re an American who has ever spent time around British babies, you may have been thrown off by one particular item: the “dummy.” No, not a person who isn’t very bright, but the British slang term for what Americans call a pacifier. The word “dummy” can seem quite fitting, though- after all, it’s a non-living object designed to mimic a human body part.

Of course, beyond just slang terms, there are different styles of pacifiers available in the UK versus the US. Some British dummies, for instance, feature a more rounded, nipple-like shape than the flatter, more button-like American variety. Additionally, British parents may use pacifiers less frequently than their American counterparts, with the UK’s National Health Service recommending parents try other soothing techniques before turning to dummies.

While the pacifier/dummy debate may seem trivial, it’s just one example of the differences in parenting styles and child-rearing techniques that exist across cultures. For expectant parents, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the customs of your own country as well as those of any other place you may be spending time with your little one.

What is a pacifier and its purpose?

A pacifier, also known as a dummy, is a rubber or silicone nipple designed to satisfy a baby’s natural urge to suck. It is a popular baby item that has been used for decades, and its use has become a topic of debate among parents and pediatricians. The pacifier is a soothing tool that helps calm babies, enable them to fall asleep, and reduce their fussiness.

  • The pacifier is usually used during the first year of the baby’s life.
  • Many parents offer pacifiers to their infants as a means of calming them down after a feeding.
  • Some babies use pacifiers as sleep aids, and pacifiers that contain attached objects such as stuffed animals or soft cloth are often referred to as comforters or security blankets.

Several studies have shown that using a pacifier can help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by up to 90%. Pacifiers may also help to reduce the risk of ear infections, improve oral development, and decrease stress and pain during medical procedures.

However, there are also some concerns related to the use of pacifiers. Some experts believe that the prolonged use of pacifiers can lead to dental problems, such as an overbite or crossbite, and speech delays. Additionally, excessive use of pacifiers can lead to the overuse of antibiotics, as frequent sucking could lead to ear infections that require medication.

Ultimately, whether or not to use a pacifier is a personal choice for parents, and one that should be made after considering the benefits and drawbacks. Parents who choose to use a pacifier should aim to limit its use duration and use it only in appropriate settings.

The Origins of Pacifiers

Pacifiers, also known as dummies or soothers, have been a staple in many parents’ arsenal for calming their babies. But where did the idea of pacifiers come from?

  • Historical Evidence: The use of pacifiers dates back to ancient times, where it was common for mothers to give their babies an object to suck on to soothe them. In Greece, babies were given honey-coated pacifiers made from figs. In ancient Rome, pacifiers were made out of animal bones.
  • The Evolution of Pacifiers: Over the years, pacifiers have come a long way. In the 17th century, ivory and coral were used to make pacifiers for aristocratic babies. In the 19th century, rubber pacifiers were introduced, which proved to be more popular due to their affordability and ease of cleaning. Today, pacifiers come in different sizes, shapes, and materials to suit the needs of babies and parents.
  • The Science Behind Pacifiers: The use of pacifiers has been found to have some benefits for babies, including reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and providing a sense of comfort to babies during stressful situations. However, prolonged and excessive use of pacifiers can lead to dental problems and delayed speech development.

The Different Names for Pacifiers in England

In England, pacifiers are known by different names depending on the region. Some of the commonly used names include

  • Dummy: This is the most commonly used term for pacifiers in England and is used across the country.
  • Soothers: This is another popular term used in some regions, including Scotland, Northern Ireland, and northern England.
  • Binkies: This term is used less commonly and is mainly used in London and some parts of the south-west of England.

Choosing the Right Pacifier for Your Baby

Choosing the right pacifier for your baby can be a daunting task given the wide range of options available. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a pacifier:

  • Shape: Pacifiers come in various shapes, including orthodontic, cherry-shaped, and flat-topped. Consider the shape of the pacifier and choose one that best suits your baby’s mouth.
  • Materials: Pacifiers come in different materials, including silicone, rubber, and latex. Consider your baby’s allergies and choose a pacifier made of a suitable material.
  • Size: Pacifiers come in different sizes intended for different age groups. Choose a pacifier that is appropriate for your baby’s age.

A Comparison of Popular Pacifier Brands

Brand Material Shape Size
MAM Silicone Orthodontic 0-6 months
Nuk Latex Orthodontic 0-6 months
Dr. Brown’s Latex Cherry-shaped 0-6 months
Philips Avent Silicone Flat-topped 0-6 months

When choosing a pacifier, consider your baby’s individual needs and preferences, and always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for use and cleaning.

Different types of pacifiers

Also known as a dummy or a soother, a pacifier is a device made of rubber or silicone that babies can suck on for comfort. In the UK, pacifiers are commonly referred to as “dummies.” Here are the different types of pacifiers available:

  • BPA-free pacifiers: This type is made without the use of bisphenol A (BPA), which is a chemical that can seep into food and beverages from certain types of plastic. BPA-free pacifiers are safer for babies, as they are less likely to cause hormone disruption or other negative health effects.
  • Orthodontic pacifiers: These pacifiers are designed to mimic the natural shape of a baby’s mouth, which is beneficial for the development of their teeth and jaw. Orthodontic pacifiers have a flattened, asymmetric nipple that is meant to rest on the roof of the mouth, rather than the back.
  • Novelty pacifiers: These pacifiers are just for fun and come in a variety of shapes and sizes, such as ones shaped like mustaches or animal faces. However, it’s important to note that novelty pacifiers should only be used for short periods of time and not as a long-term pacifying solution.

Pacifier Safety

While pacifiers can be a useful tool in soothing babies, it’s important to use them safely. Here are some tips:

  • Always choose a pacifier that has no small parts that can break off and cause a choking hazard.
  • Replace pacifiers every few months or immediately if they show signs of wear and tear.
  • Never tie a pacifier around a baby’s neck, as it can pose a strangulation risk.
  • Do not dip the pacifier in sugar or other sweeteners, as this can lead to tooth decay and other health problems.

Comparison of Top Pacifier Brands

Here’s a comparison table of some popular pacifier brands:

Brand Material Shape Age Range
Avent Soothie Medical-grade silicone Round 0-3 months
Nuk Orthodontic Pacifier Soft silicone Flat, asymmetrical 0-6 months
MAM Perfect Orthodontic Pacifier Silicon Curved 0-6 months
WubbaNub Pacifier Medical-grade silicone Attached to plush toy 0-6 months

Remember, it’s important to choose a pacifier that works for both you and your baby. Don’t hesitate to try out different brands and styles to find the perfect fit.

When should a baby stop using a pacifier?

A pacifier is an essential item for many parents with infants, providing comfort and soothing effects for both the baby and parents. However, there comes a time when your baby has to stop using it. Here are some guidelines to help you determine when it is time for your little one to say goodbye to their pacifier.

  • Age: The most commonly suggested time to wean your baby off the pacifier is between six and twelve months. Typically, babies at that age begin to develop their teeth, and pacifiers can push against their developing teeth and heavily affect their dental health.
  • Sleeping Independently: According to experts, babies should not have a pacifier once they start to sleep on their own, around six months. At this point, it is best to wean them off gradually to help them learn to fall asleep without it.
  • Speech Development: Your child’s pacifier usage should also be taken into account to avoid any negative impacts on their speech development. Using a pacifier frequently and for longer periods can affect the child’s speaking, especially when they need to produce specific pronunciations or talk opportunities.

While experts suggest that your child should no longer be using a pacifier after their first birthday, it is best to keep in mind that it is entirely up to parents to decide when to stop using one. However, it is best to avoid the extended use of pacifiers as it can harm your baby’s dental, speech and overall development in the long run.

If your child enjoys the pacifier and has difficulty letting it go, try to decrease its use gradually, especially during bedtime, to help ease the transition without upsetting them too much.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the decision to wean your baby off the pacifier should be based on their individual needs, but it should be done in due time to avoid any negative impacts on their development. Keep a close eye on their dental health, speech development growth and sleeping habits to ensure a painless pacifier transition.

Recommended timeframe to wean off pacifier: Recommended age the pacifier can be used until:
Between six to twelve months First birthday or earlier

After the recommended time frame, pacifier usage should be avoided as it can hamper a child’s overall growth and development.

Benefits and drawbacks of using a pacifier

Pacifiers, or dummies as they are commonly referred to in England, are a source of comfort for babies to suck on. While they have their advantages, they also come with some drawbacks that should be taken into consideration. Let’s take a closer look at both the benefits and drawbacks of using a pacifier.

  • Benefits: Pacifiers have shown to have a calming effect on infants, helping them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. They also provide a source of comfort when babies are feeling upset or anxious. Additionally, pacifiers can help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) when used during sleep as they keep the airways open.
  • Drawbacks: Extended use of pacifiers can lead to dental problems and malocclusion (misalignment) of the teeth, particularly if the child continues to use them after the age of two. Prolonged use can also affect the development of speech and language. In addition, overuse of pacifiers may interfere with breastfeeding and cause nipple confusion for newborns.

It is important to note that while pacifiers can have benefits, they should not be used as a substitute for parental attention and affection. It is recommended that parents use them in moderation and wean their child off of them by the age of two to prevent any negative effects on their child’s development.

If you are considering using a pacifier for your child, be sure to discuss it with your pediatrician to weigh the pros and cons and determine what is best for your baby’s individual needs.

Advantages Disadvantages
Calming effect Dental problems and malocclusion of teeth
Source of comfort Affects speech and language development
Reduces the risk of SIDS Interferes with breastfeeding and nipple confusion

In conclusion, pacifiers can have both benefits and drawbacks when used for babies. While they can provide comfort and help babies sleep, they can also interfere with proper dental and speech development. It is important for parents to use them in moderation and wean their child off of them by the age of two to avoid any negative effects. As always, consult with your pediatrician before making any decisions regarding your child’s use of a pacifier.

How to introduce a pacifier to a baby

Introducing a pacifier to a baby can be both exciting and nerve-wracking for new parents. While pacifiers are known to soothe babies and help them self-soothe, the introduction should be done with caution to ensure that the baby does not get addicted to it later on. Here are some tips on how to introduce a pacifier to a baby:

  • Wait until the baby is ready: It is important to wait until the baby is at least one month old before introducing a pacifier. This gives the baby enough time to learn how to latch properly for breastfeeding without being confused by the pacifier.
  • Choose the right pacifier: Not all pacifiers are created equal, so choose one that is the right size for your baby’s age and mouth. The pacifier should also be made of safe materials and be BPA-free. Some pacifiers come with a variety of shapes to choose from, so try out a few until you find one that your baby likes.
  • Introduce it at the right time: When introducing the pacifier, make sure that your baby is calm and not hungry. This will help them relax and be more accepting of the pacifier. Also, only offer the pacifier when they really need it, such as during sleep time or when they are fussy.

Once the pacifier has been introduced, it is important to monitor your baby’s use of it to ensure that they don’t become too reliant on it. Here are some additional tips to help manage pacifier use:

  • Limit pacifier use: Set limits on when and how long your baby can use the pacifier. Gradually decrease the time and frequency of pacifier use as your baby gets older.
  • Offer other forms of comfort: Instead of always relying on the pacifier, try other soothing methods such as rocking or singing to your baby.
  • Wean them off gradually: When it’s time to wean your baby off the pacifier, do it gradually by gradually reducing the frequency of use. You can also substitute with a transitional object like a stuffed animal or blanket to help ease the transition.

The table below summarizes the dos and don’ts of pacifier introduction and use:

Do’s Don’ts
Wait until the baby is ready before introducing a pacifier Introduce a pacifier too early
Choose the right pacifier for your baby’s age and mouth size Use a pacifier with unsafe materials or is not BPA-free
Offer the pacifier when your baby is calm and not hungry Use the pacifier to replace or delay feedings
Limit pacifier use and gradually decrease frequency Allow the pacifier to become a constant comfort item

Introducing and using a pacifier can have its benefits if done correctly. By following these tips, you can help your baby learn to self-soothe while avoiding potential negative effects of pacifier addiction.

Choosing the Right Pacifier for Your Baby

As a new parent, choosing the right pacifier for your baby can be overwhelming. With so many options available in the market, it’s difficult to know where to start. Here are some points to consider when choosing the right pacifier for your baby:

  • Size: Pacifiers come in different sizes designed for different age groups. Newborns require smaller pacifiers, while older babies need larger ones. Make sure to choose a pacifier that is age-appropriate for your baby.
  • Shape: Pacifiers come in different shapes such as orthodontic, symmetrical, and flat. The shape of the pacifier can affect how your baby’s mouth develops, so it’s important to choose a pacifier that is comfortable for your baby’s mouth and won’t cause any oral problems in the long term.
  • Material: Pacifiers come in different materials such as silicone, rubber, and latex. Silicone is easy to clean and durable, while rubber and latex are softer and more flexible. Choose the material that your baby is most comfortable with.

Other factors to consider when choosing a pacifier for your baby are brand and design. Some parents prefer specific brands for quality and safety, while others choose pacifiers with cute designs and colors.

To help you choose the right pacifier for your baby, consult with your pediatrician or healthcare professional. They can recommend the best option based on your baby’s age, health, and personal needs.

Pacifier Size Baby’s Age
0-3 months Newborns and young infants
3-6 months Infants approaching teething
6-12 months Teething babies
12+ months Toddlers and older babies

Remember, pacifiers are not meant to replace feeding or comforting, and should be used in moderation. Always monitor your baby when using a pacifier and replace it if it becomes damaged or worn out.

Common pacifier safety concerns

Pacifiers are often a saving grace for parents with fussy infants. However, there are certain safety concerns that come with using pacifiers. Here are some common safety concerns that you should be aware of:

  • Choking Hazard: Pacifiers often come with a warning label that cautions against choking. It is essential to check the size and age recommendations before purchasing a pacifier for your child. You should also throw away a pacifier if it starts to break down or if it becomes cracked or damaged.
  • Dental Issues: Prolonged use of pacifiers can lead to dental problems such as misalignment and bite issues. It is recommended that the pacifier be taken away from the child before their first birthday and that parents try to limit pacifier use as much as possible to prevent dental issues.
  • Infections: Pacifiers can harbour bacteria if not properly cleaned and can increase the risk of infections such as thrush or ear infections. It is recommended to clean pacifiers regularly with soap and water and sterilize the pacifiers frequently.

How to choose a safe pacifier

When purchasing a pacifier for your child, there are certain things that you should look for to ensure that the pacifier is safe. Here are some tips on how to choose a safe pacifier:

  • Age-appropriate: Always check the age recommendations on the pacifier packaging before purchasing. Using a pacifier meant for older children can pose a choking hazard for infants.
  • Size and shape: The pacifier should be the appropriate size for your infant’s mouth and should not be able to fit entirely inside their mouth, which poses a choking hazard. The shape should also be considered, as different shapes can impact dental development differently.
  • One-piece design: Pacifiers that come in two or three pieces can become a choking hazard if they break apart. One-piece pacifiers are a safer option.
  • Easy to clean: Look for pacifiers that are easy to clean and sterilize to reduce the risk of infections.

Pacifier safety standards in the UK

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has set specific safety standards for pacifiers in the UK. These standards ensure that pacifiers are tested for strength, durability, and chemical composition before being sold. Parents should look for the BSI logo on the packaging when purchasing a pacifier to ensure that it meets safety standards.

BSI Safety Standards: Description:
EN 1400 Specifies safety requirements, test methods, and information for instructions for use of pacifiers.
EN 71-3 Safety of toys – Part 3: Migration of certain elements. This standard tests the migration of elements such as heavy metals and phthalates in toys, including pacifiers.

It is essential to pay attention to safety concerns when using pacifiers to ensure that your child is safe and healthy. By following these safety guidelines, parents can make informed decisions when choosing a pacifier that is safe for their child.

Cultural Attitudes Towards Pacifier Use

While pacifiers are a common item for infants across the world, cultural attitudes towards pacifier use vary greatly. In England, pacifiers are commonly referred to as “dummies” or “soothers.” Here are some insights into the cultural attitudes towards pacifier use in England:

  • Pacifiers are generally accepted as a tool for calming fussy babies, but many parents in England try to limit their use to the first few months of a baby’s life.
  • Some parents worry that pacifier use will interfere with their baby’s ability to nurse or learn to soothe themselves without external help.
  • There is a general perception in England that pacifier use is more common among the middle and lower classes, and that its overuse can be a sign of poor parenting or neglect.

However, it’s worth noting that attitudes towards pacifier use are not universal across England, and can vary between regions and social groups.

Here’s a table summarizing some of the pros and cons of pacifier use:

Pros Cons
Can provide comfort and a sense of security for babies May interfere with nursing or speech development if overused
May reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) May become a difficult habit to break, leading to orthodontic problems or speech issues
Can help soothe and calm a fussy or upset baby Can be a choking hazard if not used properly or if the pacifier is damaged

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use a pacifier is a personal one that should be made by parents in consultation with their pediatrician. While pacifiers can be a helpful tool for soothing fussy babies, it’s important to be mindful of their potential downsides and to use them in moderation.

Alternatives to pacifiers for soothing babies

Parents have long relied on pacifiers as a quick and easy solution to calm their infants. However, some parents prefer to avoid pacifiers for various reasons, whether it’s a concern about dental issues or simply wanting to try different techniques for soothing their babies. Fortunately, there are several alternatives to pacifiers that can work just as well. Here are 10 alternatives to pacifiers for soothing babies:

  • Skin-to-skin contact: Hold your baby close and allow your skin to touch their skin. This helps your baby feel safe and secure and has been shown to regulate their heartbeat, breathing, and temperature.
  • Swaddling: Wrapping your baby snugly in a blanket can mimic the feeling of being in the womb. It can also help prevent the startle reflex that can wake a sleeping baby.
  • White noise: Babies are used to hearing the constant whooshing sound of blood flow in the womb. Playing white noise, such as a gentle fan or a white noise machine, can be soothing for your baby and help them fall asleep.
  • Motion: Rocking your baby in your arms, using a baby swing, or taking them for a walk in a stroller can provide gentle motion that can be calming for your baby.
  • Breastfeeding: Nursing your baby can be both soothing and comforting. Breast milk contains hormones that help your baby relax, and the act of nursing can promote bonding between you and your baby.
  • Babywearing: Carrying your baby close to your body in a baby carrier or wrap can provide the same benefits as skin-to-skin contact and can be comforting for your baby.
  • Gentle touch: Massaging your baby’s back, arms, and legs with a gentle touch can be soothing and help them relax.
  • Sucking: Some babies simply have a strong need to suck. If you prefer not to use a pacifier, offering a clean finger or a knuckle to suck on can provide the same benefits.
  • Distraction: Sometimes, distracting your baby with a toy or book can be enough to calm them down and redirect their attention.
  • Patience: Finally, it’s important to remember that not all babies respond to the same techniques. It’s okay to try different methods and give your baby time to adjust and find what works best for them.


While pacifiers can be a helpful tool for soothing babies, there are many alternatives that can work just as well. From skin-to-skin contact to gentle touch and distraction, there are many ways to comfort your baby without relying on a pacifier. Remember to be patient and try different methods until you find what works best for your baby.

What is a pacifier called in England?

Here are some frequently asked questions about what a pacifier is called in England:

1. Is a pacifier called a pacifier in England?
No. In England, pacifiers are called “dummies” or “soothers.”

2. Why are pacifiers called dummies in England?
The word “dummy” is thought to derive from the verb “to dumb” meaning “to make silent or mute.” So, it makes sense that pacifiers are called dummies because they pacify a crying baby and make them quiet.

3. What is a soother?
A soother is another word for a pacifier in England. It’s called a soother because it helps soothe a crying baby.

4. Are there any other names for pacifiers in England?
Yes. Pacifiers are also sometimes called “comforters” or “binkies.”

5. Do pacifiers work the same way in England as they do in America?
Yes. Pacifiers work the same way no matter where you are. They are designed to give babies a sense of comfort and security, and to help them self-soothe when they are feeling upset.

6. Are pacifiers popular in England?
Yes. Just like in America and many other countries, pacifiers are a popular baby item in England.

7. Is it okay to use a pacifier with my baby?
Yes, it is generally considered safe and okay to use a pacifier with your baby. However, as with any baby item, it’s important to use them appropriately and with caution.

Thanks for Reading!

We hope that this article has helped answer your questions about what a pacifier is called in England. Remember, in England, pacifiers are called dummies or soothers. Thanks for reading, and be sure to come back for more helpful articles in the future!