Pros And Cons To Introducing A Dummy
Should I give my baby a dummy or soother?
When you’re a parent having a settled or sleeping baby is one of you top priorities as a distressed baby who won’t sleep disrupts the whole family. In saying that there are many ways to soothe your baby from bouncing and rocking to a simple cuddle. However sometimes it helps to have the assistance of things like dummies or even bouncers.
Deciding to give your baby a dummy is a highly personal decision, but there are signs that can help you make this choice. Some babies are content to suck only during feeding, while others seem to continue the sucking motion even after they’ve had their fill. If you’re baby continues this motion or if they remain upset even after you try to sooth them with bouncing it may be worth trying a dummy. Like many things with parenting there is a lot of trial an error, while a dummy or a soother may work for some and not others, it’s simply worth trying.
What are the benefits of giving my baby a dummy?
- Helps self-soothing - The sucking reflex releases chemicals that reduce stress helping babies settle and encourages sleep. This is obviously the biggest reason many parents opt to try a dummy.
- Teach premature babies to suck - It has been said that the sucking reflex can be honed by introducing a dummy which is particularly helpful for premature babies who may struggle with this reflex.
- Prevent dental problems from thumb sucking - Some babies are born with the desire to suck on their hands or fists which has been connected to dental problems so giving them a dummy instead can help prevent this type of behaviour and future problems. Plus it’s easier to wean your child off a dummy than sucking their thumb as you can simply get rid of a dummy but thumb sucking requires more drastic action like deterrent medication.
- Encourages a healthy mouth - Sucking on a dummy helps produce saliva which reduces plaque build-up which is particularly important when your baby starts to teeth. It can also help soothe the pain of teething.
What are the disadvantages of giving your baby a dummy?
- Concerns around introducing it too early - If introduced before your baby has mastered the technique of breastfeeding giving them a dummy could interfere with their ability to suck well during feeding. This can obviously have implications on ability to supply milk and may result in a bottle fed baby so experts recommended that babies aren’t introduced to a dummy until 6 weeks of age. There are also round style dummies with large shields that are designed to more closely simulate breast feeding and inspire the same sucking motion required.
- Length of use can cause problems - If your baby uses their dummy past 12 months there is an increased risk in speech problems as its thought that they haven’t had enough opportunity to babble due to trying to talk with a dummy in their mouth. Dummies used regularly by children as old as 3 or 4 have been linked to dental problems such as cross bites or overbites, so it’s important to wean your baby off their dummy after their first year.
- Weaning may take time - It’s important to wean your baby off their dummy as they get older and no longer need the soother, however the longer you leave it the harder it might be. Some parents don’t have any problems while others may have to put up with a few restless nights before their baby is happy to soothe themselves without their dummy.
If you do choose to soothe your baby with a dummy it’s important to get the right sort. Natural Rubber Soothers are a great option as they come in different sizes to match your baby’s growth and different shapes to cater to your babies sucking technique. Most importantly they are made from a single piece of rubber making them more hygienic and safe.
Check out the Natural Rubber Soother range of dummies.