When you become a parent for the first time it seems as though you’re never short of advice. Advice from other ‘experienced’ parents, from your own mother, advice from your doctor, midwife, Plunket nurses, coffee group pals and advice from childless people that have read too many baby books. At times it can be overwhelming and with an already cloudy baby-brain all this advice can become muddled up and cause some unnecessary
To this day Lincoln still has no idea what a dummy is or what they are used for. My mum used to try to sneak a dummy to him when I had my back turned, it was introduced to him too late in his little life though so it never took. Now that I’ve had my time as a new parent and gone through the whole baby stage I thought I’d look into the many opinions that people have regarding
dummies. I decided that the best way to present this information to you was in a list of pros and cons and then provide some points on safety. These are recommendations from paediatricians, parents and midwives and are based on scientific evidence so that you can make an informed choice of your own.
- Babies have a natural tendency to suckle. A dummy will help to soothe and comfort a fussy baby rather than constant feeding. Dummies are also comforting for colicky babies.
- Dummies can help to ease discomfort on flights since babies can’t voluntarily yawn or swallow to ‘pop’ their ears.
- The American Academy of Paediatrics actually recommends the use of dummies for babies during the first 6 months to help protect against SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). There is a proven reduction of risk in dummy suckers.
- When it’s time to wean it’ll be much easier to get your baby to give up a dummy rather than their thumb.
- As with early bottle feeding, early dummy use may interfere with breast-feeding. There may be confusion for your baby between the nipple and dummy/bottle.
- Babies can become dependent on their dummies. This could mean some mid-night crying spells when their dummy falls out while they’re asleep.
- Dummies can lead to 40% more middle ear infections if used regularly after 6 months of age. Paediatricians recommend dummies for the first 6 months to decrease the risk of SIDS, then to stop using them as regularly.
- Dummies can cause confusion for parents. Your baby may need nutrition based sucking such as a bottle or breast instead of a
- Dummies can cause dental and speech problems. If used for longer than the first few years it can lead to tooth alignment issues and also speech concerns as the sucking motion can lock the mouth into an unnatural position for growing littlies.
- Use an age-appropriate dummy for your child. A dummy that has been designed for a newborn may have components that can cause choking in an older baby.
- Never put a dummy on a cord as there is a risk of strangulation.
- Don’t share a dummy. Always clean them with soap and water if they are dropped on the ground rather than sucking one clean yourself. Adults have a ton of germs in their mouths!
- From a dentistry point of view dummies that have a shield wider than your child’s mouth and ventilation holes in the shield are better for baby’s mouth.
- Don’t let your child keep sucking on one well into their toddler years!
And remember, regardless of any advice that people give you the final decision is up to you, whether you want to introduce a dummy to your baby or not. Hopefully you have found some helpful information in this post to help you make a safe and informed decision.