Every baby is different. Some babies have very high sucking needs (and that goes beyond just wanting to suck for food).
Both of my sons were very 'sucky' babies. My first son had a soother. This was largly in part because he was a bottle baby (I pumped exclusively for him due to tongue tie issues I got no help with - very unsupportive situation :( ). So he needed that extra item to meet his sucking needs. I was also a very 'sucky' baby so it is no surprise - but I found my fingers instead. (and I sucked on my two middle fingers until I was 8 years of age - and my teeth are just fine!...you can find info both ways on that one - I personally do not believe that finger/thumb sucking messes up teeth and I know more than a good handful of dentists that also would back that up!)
DS2 on the other hand is a boob baby. (I got his tongue tie snipped at birth and made sure my support/correct info/etc was in place before he was born - so we didn't encounter similar problems the second time around!). I am very glad that this is working out so well for the both of us (because pumping is a pain!!! lol). I was not sure if I would use a soother with him or not. It seems I suffer greatly with oversupply (having to block nurse for up to 8+ hours sometimes just to control this! lol)... so in the early days and the first few months, he would often get very irritated with me because he wanted to nurse for comfort and not food and would be upset when milk poured over him when all he wanted was to comfort suck! But - he would NOT take a soother! lol So - we were left with very little options! hehe...
Now I know it IS possible to fullfill a baby's sucking need at the breast alone. Babies are pretty clever. My son has worked out that feeding little and often is key. He can't help but get milk out when he feeds - he can control the flow a bit depending on his type of suck but milky boobs are milky boobs at the end of the day! So - he nurses little and often. He constantly has milk in his tummy meeting his hunger and nutritional needs but then he also gets in that sucking time that he needs as well!
This however would not be possible if I did not 1). Wear him all the time. and 2). Nurse on demand.
A good sling is a must. I really like wraps for a newborn. I also have a few ring slings. And I currently use a soft structured carrier because the weather is poo and we are out often (as we don't have a car during the week) - so I need something 'clipable' (but that will hold him correctly unlike a 'bjorn carrier'). An Ergo is an example of this - though we have the 'Boom Carrier' from 'The Korean Baby' (as I liked their fabrics better! hehe).
A sling also solves the problem of overstimulation and the distractable baby! It can offer a baby a bit of a safe haven away from the world and act like 'horse blinders' as well! The tail of a ring sling is handy as a 'nursing cover' (though I personally hate nursing covers and would never really use one for that purpose - I happily get my boobs out anywhere and everywhere! lol - but also they can help a baby 'concentrate' on the task at hand so have found the tail of a ring sling handy at times for DS2 because he is terribly distractable! hehe)
Some woman have not found this possible though. For whatever reason. I was not sure if it would be possible for me before DS2 was born because of the oversupply issue and because I had never put it to test - but I am glad it has worked out that way for us as it is very handy! So sometimes a soother is what a baby wants instead. They can be handy in the car or other suck sticky situations. (once again - I don't drive so I am always in the back seat with my boobs out - contorting my body in all sorts of funny ways to help soothe a car hating baby! hehe)
People worry about soothers. Health issues they say...you constantly lose them and have to clean them and they are a pain, and then you have to eventually get rid of them right?...etc... All fine and well if 1). You don't have a sucky baby and/or 2). You can use your boobs like a soother - but sometimes a soother can have a place within the family! If the soother is orthodontic - there really isn't much evidence to suggest that they mess up teeth. Most children also only use them when they actually need them - if they needed them in the first place - so really they shouldn't interfere with speech either. I have only ever rinsed a soother off as if I were washing my own dishes by hand. You can also get clips for them - one end holds the soother and the other clips to their t-shirt or whatever...if dropping them or finding them in the middle of the night is a problem. They can be a great comfort for children and as I chose to give this to my first son, I also then let him decide when he no longer needed it. With no coercion or force or judgment - he gave up his soother shortly after he turned two (mostly because he chewed it to bits when his last molars came through and did not want a replacment!). I would never force my child to give up something that comforts then. I certainly wouldn't appreciate it if someone did that to me! I have a specal pillow - its all downy and soft and falling apart from too much love...but it is my comfort. We all have our comforts. Who is to say I am too old for that now or that I might inhail a feather and die or something silly like that? If you choose to use a soother - they really are not that big a deal!