Love them or hate them, people often have strong views on dummies! I find dummies a very helpful tool when babies are little and I used them with both my babies, Charlie until he was 14 weeks and Amelia until she was 16 weeks old. If you do want to use them here are a few tips on dummy use, getting the best results from using a dummy and avoiding the problems that give dummies a bad name.
- When babies are small they have a strong urge to suck and dummies can be helpful in calming your baby. If you’re breastfeeding it’s best to wait until breastfeeding is established at around a month old before introducing a dummy.
- If your baby is struggling with colic a dummy can be very helpful, as colic gives babies tummy ache. When babies suck they produce more saliva which calms the stomach, so colicky babies love to suck. I’ve known babies latch on to my arm they are so desperate to suckle and often parents mistake this need to suck, for their baby being hungry. Using a dummy soothes the baby’s need to suck, without the constant feeding that can make colic worse.
- It sounds obvious but make sure the dummy you’re using is clean and sterile. Change it regularly and wash and sterilise it after every use. Otherwise your could be putting germs straight into your little ones mouth. Bear in mind that the germs in your mouth are very different from the germs in your baby’s mouth so don’t suck the dummy to clean it and then pop it back in their mouths!
- We know that dummies aren’t great for children’s teeth long term. Always use a flat or orthodontic dummy so that this doesn’t happen and stop using the dummy at 6 months old (before most teeth come through)
- Dummies can eventually stop children’s speech from developing properly, and I always recommend that you stop using them by 6 months at the latest, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
- At around 5-6 months old the benefits of using a dummy to settle your little one to sleep start to lessen, and the dummy can become a total pain! If you find that you’re getting up in the night to pop your baby’s dummy back in, and you’re doing this a lot, it’s probably time to say goodbye to it.
- To stop using a dummy, start by reducing the amount you use it during the day, so that your baby is less dependent on it. Then use it less and less, or just take it away and stop using it altogether.
For help with removing your baby’s dummy and settling your baby to sleep without it, get in touch.