People can feel quite strongly about dummies. For some parents a dummy can seem the only way to calm a crying baby. And they can be great sleep aids. But overuse of dummies can lead to difficulties with speech.
This page is all about the safe use of dummies – that does not cause future problems.
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- May help comfort a baby that is hard to settle.
- From 0 to 6 months may help prevent cot death.
- Improves feeding in premature babies
- Dummies make it difficult for your child to talk, and can cause speech difficulties.
- Often cause more ear or mouth infections. (Frequent ear infections can cause hearing loss)
- Babies are likely to breastfeed for a shorter time.
- Can change the position of the teeth and the shape of the mouth.
Do’s and don’ts
- Do try other ways of comforting your child.
- Don’t give until breastfeeding is established.
- Do stop use at 6 months if possible, but always before the first birthday.
- Never let your child speak with a dummy in his/ her mouth.
- Only allow your child to have a dummy for short times. It’s better only to use to help your child settle to sleep.
- Do not dip the dummy in sweet, sugary foods or drinks – this may lead to tooth decay.
Tips for Stopping Dummy Use
- Talk to your child about stopping.
- Choose a good time to give up the dummy, perhaps at a week-end or when you and your partner are not at work.
- Be prepared for sleepless nights for a while.
- Your child could give their dummy away in return for a small present.
- Some parents tell their child that the ‘dummy fairy’ is coming to collect the dummies for the little babies. They then get the child to help collect all the dummies in the house into a bag. While your child is out or asleep the ‘dummy fairy’ takes the dummies away and leaves a toy in exchange.
- Most parents report that the child cries a bit at first but that this stops after 2 or 3 days- so don’t give in and give the dummy back. It will get better!