Binky vs Pacifier Explained (And Other Pacifier Nicknames)

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When you discover that you will be a parent soon, all of the sudden people start talking to you all about babies.

While all of this is usually super helpful (it’s great to learn from veteran parents) sometimes you can get lost in the lingo.

All of this newborn vocabulary could almost be considered a new language! 

One thing you’ll definitely want to study up on is pacifiers.

When can you give them to your baby? Should you use a clip? Will the pacifier cause “nipple confusion”?

And what’s the difference between a soothie, pacifier, dummy, and binky anyway?

Binky vs pacifiers is a trick question because they are basically the same!

Binkies and pacifiers are the same thing, especially in the US — they’re both sucking devices designed to soothe your baby. Binky can also refer to a child’s comfort item, like a blanket or stuffed animal. Finally, there is also a specific brand of pacifier called Binky by Playtex baby.

But most of the time when a parent talks about a binky, they just mean pacifier.

Let’s find out a little more about these two terms and what parents should know.

Pacifiers Explained

The meaning of pacifiers is all in the name: they pacify your baby! 

Newborns and babies are sometimes impossible to please.

You’ve changed them, fed them, made sure they slept enough, and sometimes they will still cry for no apparent reason.

It’s just part of being a baby.

Since babies can’t eat solid foods, they have a sucking instinct beginning from before birth to nurse from the breast or bottle.

But babies don’t always nurse for food, they sometimes nurse to be close to mom and for comfort as well.

The problem is, some parents might not want to feed their baby every single time they are fussy, especially when it’s certain that they are well fed!

This is where the pacifier comes in.

What’s a Pacifier Made of?

Pacifiers are usually made from latex or silicone.

They can be all one piece or made up of several parts.

Some pacifiers have an open base, while others are closed.

The nipple part can be of various shapes, from flat to round.

Babies can be picky in their pacifier choices; you might have one baby who prefers one brand, and when the next newborn is born, he or she makes you replace them all with a different brand!

(Learn more about the types of pacifiers here.)

Benefits and Drawbacks of Pacifiers

The obvious benefit of pacifiers is that they keep your baby happy.

They also have been proven to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrom (SIDS) in newborns.

Plus, they are inexpensive and disposable. Once you are done with pacifiers, you can just throw them away!

One main drawback of pacifier use to be aware of is dependence.

Once you start using a pacifier for your baby, it’s best to have a supply of them on hand wherever you go.

You will want a set of at least 2 in each of these places: your baby’s room, at a caretaker’s house/daycare, and in the diaper bag.

You will find out quickly that they get dropped constantly or lost, and when your baby is used to a pacifier, it can be difficult for your baby to calm down without it!

Common Concerns With Pacifier Use

Some people worry about giving their baby a pacifier for a couple of reasons.

One is that they won’t breastfeed well if introduced too early. As long as your baby is nursing well from the start, it’s okay to introduce and use a pacifier.

Another reason people are worried about giving their baby a pacifier is because of possible dental problems in the future.

The truth is that babies under 3 years old should not have teeth problems if given a pacifier, especially when you only use pacifiers for the recommended amount of time of 6 hours or less per day.

After age 3, though, it’s probably time to break the pacifier habit if you don’t want teeth problems.

(Learn more about pacifier alternatives when your baby reaches toddler age.)

Binkies Explained

A binky, typically in the US, is most commonly just another name for a pacifier.

However, there are a couple of other uses for the word.

Some have used the word “binky” synonymously with “lovey,” meaning any object (toy, blankie, or stuffed animal) that is a child’s favorite above all others.

This object usually soothes them when they’re upset and they usually always sleep with it, too.

A binky also refers to a specific brand of pacifier made by Playtex Baby.

The Binky is made of latex and has two parts. It has a specially designed nipple to be “just like mom.”

Also, it comes with a handle for easy grabbing and is made for various age ranges.

Other Common Names for Pacifiers

Here are a few other popular nicknames for pacifiers parents might need to know:

  • Paci (American English)
  • Dummy (British English)
  • Soothie (Canadian English)
  • Dodie (Irish English)
  • Bobo (Puerto Rico)

There are tons of names parents and babies give the pacifier.

Here are a few that are less common, but you might hear them thrown around, or you might want to use them yourself:

  • Bah-Bah
  • Plug
  • Suckie
  • Wubbanub (a specific brand)
  • Nuk (also a specific brand)

Wrapping Up

So we’ve now learned the differences between the words “binky” and “pacifier.”

If you’re talking about binkies with someone, it might be a good idea to double-check with the person you are talking to to make sure you are on the same page.

Usually, people just use binky as a nickname for a pacifier — but they could be describing a lovey or blanket, or even the brand name Binky pacifier.

Before you go, check out:

Hope this helps!