To let your baby have a dummy or not is one thing that is guaranteed to stir up debate amongst parents. We all know someone whose child has had real difficulties being weaned off a dummy (hello dummy fairy!), but then at the same time we have also all heard stories of baby’s who are absolutely fine when the time comes to get rid of it, and who have slept fantastically as a result.
But should you let your baby have a dummy?
Of course having a moment of peace is a great reason to have a dummy- but there are other pros too of course.
1.The Department of Health advises that giving a dummy at the start of any sleep period may reduce the risk of SIDS. There has been research done to suggest this. You don’t need to keep putting the dummy back in if your baby lets go of it in the night, it is mainly for the start of their sleep cycle.
2. Having a dummy also lets babies learn to self soothe themselves.
3. It also helps be a source of comfort for a crying or colicky baby.
4. It is easier to wean a child off a dummy than it is their thumb or fingers if your baby is one that gets a comfort from sucking something.
5. Dummies do help satisfy the sucking reflex. Some babies just like to suck and this can often make you sore if you are breastfeeding – a dummy will help this.
But what about the Cons?
1. If a dummy is introduced to baby too early there could run a risk of nipple confusion with a baby who is just learning to suckle. While a baby is learning to breastfeed it is best not to give a dummy until breastfeeding is well established- experts say around one month old is best.
2. Parents can sometimes mistake a child needing a dummy instead of hunger.
3. Some babies can develop problems with their speech, or even the way their teeth grow if they are particularly overzealous suckers. It is recommended you try and wean your baby off a dummy by the age of one.
4. Research has suggested that there may be a link between use of a dummy and recurrent ear infections in young children. However the Department of Health has also advised that parents should not be too overly concerned by these findings.
As you can see there are both pro’s and con’s for giving your baby a dummy and ultimately whatever works best for you and your baby is certainly the best decision you can make.