Dr. Pamela Smith, ND 

Dr. Pam has a family practice at The Nest Family Wellness Centre which offers naturopathic and midwifery care. She combines science-based natural medicine with conventional medical therapeutics. Learn more about Dr. Pam and the services offered by her clinic here, or book an appointment at www.drpamelasmith.com.

Check out the latest Ask Dr Pam Q&A and posts by topic below as well as her health and wellness posts.

Ask Dr Pam   

Are bottles and pacifier bad for my baby?


The need to suck is an innate way for a baby to feel calm and relaxed; some babies even suck their thumbs in the womb! This need is stronger in some infants more than others. In the early weeks of breastfeeding, it is important for a newborn to first learn how to attach to their mothers nipple to ensure proper latching, stronger suction, and reduce chances of sore nipples. Introducing a pacifier or bottle too early can, on occasion, confuse the newborn as there is a difference between the two and how the mouth is orientated. If breastfeeding is not an option or if milk flow doesn’t come in and supplementing is required most infants will adapt but it may be beneficial to discuss with a lactation consultant. 

It is a good idea to start weaning off a bottle and the need for a pacifier between ages 18-24 months. This is when the upper gum-line and palate start to reshape and how an overbite or “buckteeth” can develop. The intensity of the sucking is what will determine if any dental concerns arise. Another concern is when a bottle is used for night feeds as this can lead to tooth decay; so avoid letting your baby fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth. A good strategy is to see a pediatric dentist approximately six months after your baby’s teeth have come in to avoid any major dental issues. 

Related posts:
At what age should I switch my baby from a bottle to a cup?
How should I transition my baby from a bottle to a cup?