The Dummy Debate
Deciding whether to give your baby a dummy, still remains a highly debated topic. There are good reasons both for and against, it mostly comes down to parents’ choice.
Here’s some pros and cons:
Aside from some peace and quiet other pros include
- Giving your baby a dummy at bed/nap times can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) this is according to the Department of Health.
- Can help a baby self soothe. And is often a source of comfort during times of crying and colic.
- A dummy can satisfy the suck reflex
- Easier weaning a baby off a dummy than their thumb.
- If introduced to early it can cause nipple confusion if you are breastfeeding. Experts advise to give baby a dummy once breastfeeding is well established usually around 1 month.
- Can mistakenly give dummy instead of milk/nutrition
- Use for long periods can cause problems as teeth grow and develop
- Can hinder speech development, limit the times of use and wean off completely by the age of 1 is recommended.
Did we use a Dummy?
In short yes, we have used a dummy for all three of our babies. My son was a very colicky baby and often a dummy was the only way to soothe him, we also used it a lot during the teething stages. He also had a habit of screaming his lungs out whenever we went in the car, so the dummy gave us some peace and allowed him to soothe himself. He is now 25 months old and no longer using a dummy in the day or at night. I talk about how we weaned him off it in my post on Dummy Weaning Tips.
My middle daughter who is 14 months now is only having her dummy at nap time and bedtime and if she is struggling with teething pain. She has never really been that fussed by it, and really only has one at bedtime and naps because her brother used to have one. By the time she is two we hope to have weaned her off it completely. I think she will be a lot easier to wean off than her brother.
My youngest is now a month old and barely has it at all, only if she really won’t settle. Usually if she has managed to get overtired. I am hoping that she will not need it nearly as much as her brother and sister, but of course if she needs it to be able to self soothe then I will let her have it.
Did we have any concerns with using a dummy?
In the early months no. We really needed it, especially with our son. He had such bad colic and this was often the only thing that would calm him.
As he got older we discovered that he spoke to us better when he did not have his dummy in his mouth. This was around the 16-18 month mark, and this is when we removed it during the day. I think it can definitely have an impact on speech. Now at 25 months he is able to speak in full sentences, clearly and learns new words very easily. (We are really having to watch what we say, I am trying not to drop the F-bomb when he is in ear shot!)
At the same time my middle daughter was 6-8 months and we also limited her use of the dummy in the day and now at 14 months her speech is far better than her brother’s was at the same age. I really believe that this is down to limiting her use of it in the day time.
I think that as long as they don’t have one by the time they are 3 years old, and if it is the only thing that will sooth them, then why not give it a go! Parents can only listen to so much whinging and crying for so long before they go insane!
Did you give your little one a dummy? When did you wean them off/ when do you plan to wean them off?