The Dummy Issue!

May 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

Hmmm dummies seem to have been a hot topic of discussion for me of late.

A lot of the clients I work for have cornered me to ask ‘do dummies create bad habits?

It seems of late so many parents now are concerned that introducing a dummy to their baby is a bad thing. They considered germ carriers, they’re a deterrent to breastfeeding (This can be true if introduced before breastfeeding is established) and cause problems with speech development in toddlers.

I’ve always thought that dummies were a good tool to use if you had a ‘sucky, ‘ unsettled or distressed baby. It’s considered that the use of a dummy can reduce the risk of cot death or SIDS

I used a dummy with my own daughter when she was a baby. It was a great way to help settle her at bedtime and when she fell asleep the dummy would promptly fall out of her mouth and she would sleep soundly until her next feed.

However as the years pass by I have found more and more of the parents I work with now, refuse to use dummies at all, and those who are using dummies are panicking about creating bad habits and the idea of weaning their babies off them.

Now in my opinion and might I just stress again MY OPINION, dummies can be useful.

I would NEVER ever tell a client that they should or shouldn’t use a dummy however when asked for my opinion I always give it.

And I think as long as you’re not constantly stuffing a dummy in baby’s mouth just to keep them quiet there’s no reason why you can’t use a dummy without it leading to bad habits.

Here are my recommendations for using a dummy with your baby without creating bad habits that I share with my clients.

  1. If breastfeeding try not to introduce a dummy to your baby before you have established it so not before your baby is 2-4 weeks old. However if you are bottle feeding it shouldn’t matter when you introduce a dummy.
  2. Limit the use of the dummy to the time of day when you will gain the most benefit for example if your baby can fall asleep without a dummy, don’t use it at bedtimes however   if it soothes your baby whilst waiting for the next feed then would be a good time to use a dummy. Once it has fulfilled its use put it away.
  3. If your using a dummy to help soothe and calm a baby at bedtime. I would recommend that you remove the dummy before your baby completely falls asleep. Now if your baby can fall asleep on a dummy without you needing to get up to put the dummy back in several times a night then great but the previous step is to help you avoid that problem.
  4. NEVER coat the dummy with something sweet.
  5. Once your baby has reached four months is a great time to get rid of a dummy. This is when the sucking reflex has gone and has been replaced with a conscious choice to suckle.

It’s really not a good idea to still be using a dummy after the age of one as it can inhibit and distort the growth of the baby’s first teeth and impede baby’s speech development

Nia’s Mum x


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