To Dummy or Not to Dummy
Everyone has a different view on the use of dummies. If they are good or do the risks outweigh the benefits. I personally struggled with this decision initially, trying to not give him one but eventually chose to give Quentin a dummy when he was a few months old because he was struggling to sleep. The sucking action the dummy creates is a natural soothing action that helped him fall sleep quickly. It is best to only use to settle so it doesn’t interrupt with breast feeding and wait until they are at least one month old. Even though Quen is bottle fed, I only use it when putting him to sleep and only in his room. He sometimes falls asleep without it when we are out.
- The dummy helps sooth bub when destressed, upset, or helps him go to sleep
- Helps on flights as babies don’t know how to pop their ears, the sucking motion helps clear their ears
- Lower the risk of SIDS- studies show a lowered risk of sleep related death by more than 50%
- Sucking can work as a pain relief such as when having injections
- Baby may become reliant on it and find it hard to stop using it
- Rise in risk of ear infections, also possibly upset stomach and chest infections
- Continued use can increase risk of dental problems
- May interfere with breast feeding, so make sure they have a routine down before giving a dummy
- Can be a choking hazard
- be aware of damage
- one-piece dummies have less risk
- ensure you are using the right dummy size for their age
- Dummies carry a lot of germs as they are dropped a lot- ensure they are sterilised regularly. There are also clips that may be used to attach the dummy to their shirt to reduce how much they get dropped or thrown on the ground
- Some have BPA plastic which can cause toxicities- use BPA free dummies or only use these for a short period of time
- Also may cause cuts on the mouth – monitor for damage and ensure the dummies haven’t been recalled by manufacturer
Removing the dummy:
Some say to stop using the dummy after 12 months, others say the child will stop between 2 and 4 years old.
Signs to remove the dummy is if the baby is using the dummy as a teether with excessive drooling – meaning its being chewed on instead of sucked.
Ways to remove the dummy:
- Weaning off the dummy by limiting to a certain time of the day
- Giving gummy only at certain times
- Restrict where it is used ; i.e., just in bedroom
- Allow them to find other ways to self sooth such as a blanket or toy
- Praise when settles without the dummy or choses not to use it
- If child is older- make an agreement on a certain date to stop using for example Christmas or birthday
- Keep trying – it can take time, multiple attempts, and perseverance
- Chose the right time; when bub is having difficulty sleeping because of teething or a growth spurt may not be the best time to remove the dummy
Whether you give your child a dummy or not is a personal preference and each parent will have a different view. Some love them, some hate them.
You are the only one who can decide what is best for your baby but if you have concerns ensure you talk to a medical professional.