Many parents are against the use of dummies, while others swear by them. Two mums, with two very different views on the matter, share their thoughts…
“I dislike everything about dummies. It’s difficult to know where to start.
“First of all I think they’re unnecessary. There are plenty of ways to get kids into a sleep routine other than sticking something in their mouth. Finley was like most babies – he cried, a lot! And I was like most new mums – I worried, a lot! But we took time to get to know each other and, eventually, he learned to settle without one.
“I was against giving him one because they are known to delay speech. They reduce the time your baby has to ‘babble’ and make noises that eventually turn into words. There’s also extensive research to show that they can cause dental problems such as cross bites and overbites.
“But all of that aside, the main reason I’d never use a dummy is that I think they’re dirty. They can cause stomach and mouth infections, not to mention ear infections from the pressure of sucking. There’s nothing worse than seeing a mum pick a dummy up off the floor, put it in her own mouth (to clean it!), and then stick it in her baby’s mouth. Yuck.”
“It’s very easy to say that you wouldn’t give your child a dummy if you don’t have a baby that struggles to settle. At first I was against them but now I think that, if used correctly, they’re great.
“My son, Liam, was always a restless baby. Infants are born with a sucking reflex, so it’s completely natural for them to want something in their mouth. There are many children who don’t like dummies and many who do, so it completely depends on the individual child. They’re a proven form of non-medical pain relief – I’d rather give Liam his dummy than Paracetamol.
“The main argument I hear is, ‘What about his teeth!’ And I find it very easy to respond to that seeing as I’m a dental nurse. Yes, dummies can cause problems with teeth if they are consistently overused. But the overwhelming majority of kids will willingly give it up eventually, as they lose the sucking reflex. My advice would be to use your initiative. Don’t use the dummy too often and if you notice their teeth changing, stop using it – but don’t panic, if they’re very young they will correct themselves.
“Dummies are commonly used with first babies, as mums can be nervous. I remember reading a study that said they can reduce the chances of cot death as they encourage the baby to keep breathing. When he was a baby, the dummy was a comfort to me, as well as Liam!”