Should I Give My Baby a Dummy?

Dummies (sometimes called pacifiers) are one of those things that split parents’ opinions. Some swear by them as they are useful for calming and soothing babies whilst others think they should be avoided, believing that using a dummy can lead to long-term problems. But when faced with a crying baby, most parents will try anything to help them settle; so if you’re looking for a way to calm your baby, should you consider using a dummy?

Yes – Lynn
I have three children and each one of them has used a dummy with no long-term problems. I have experienced disapproving glances from other dummy-less parents but I’ve learnt to ignore them. After all, only the parent of a child can decide what is best for them. In my case, I found that my babies struggled to settle at night. Once I gave them a dummy they were much happier, slept better and cried less.

If you don’t use a dummy you can experience other problems as the baby looks for alternative things to suck on for comfort. For example, some children will start sucking their thumb which is a much worse habit as it can last for years and you can’t physically take your child’s thumb away from them. And for women who are breastfeeding, a dummy can be a lifesaver as it gives the baby something to suck when they just want comfort rather than food – which can really help avoid sore nipples.

I weaned my babies off using a dummy by the time they were a year old and haven’t experienced any problems. If you have a baby that struggles to settle, I’d suggest trying a dummy – after all, it’s got to be better than you and your baby being constantly tired or stressed.

No –Isobel
I gave my baby a dummy out of desperation when he refused to settle himself to sleep during naps. It worked initially but I’m regretting my decision now as my son is almost three and refuses to give up his dummy. I’ve tried taking it away or hiding it but he just screams until I give it back to him. I’m now worried about how it will affect his teeth as I’ve heard that some children need their teeth straightening after using a dummy for too long. It’s also frustrating when he tries to talk with his dummy still in his mouth – I’m forever telling him to ‘talk properly’ which worries me that his speech isn’t developing as quickly as it would normally.

Other mums have also told me that a dummy can cause confusion for babies who are trying to breastfeed as they can’t always tell the difference between the dummy and a nipple.

I really wish I’d found a better way to settle my son, rather than resorting to using a dummy. It might have worked at first but trying to get him to give it up now is proving to be a real battle.

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