Pregnancy is long and gives us plenty of time to think about what kind of mothers we want to be. The thing about parenting is that it can be done is so many different ways that your newborn will come without instructions. Our babies will develop their own little personalities and make us change our minds. I was determined my baby would sleep in his Baby Box until he was 6 months old. He outgrew the box within 10 weeks!
Babies are not able to self-soothe during the first 3 months of their lives. Sucking is a natural way for your wee one to soothe. Some parents give their babies a dummy to help. Other parents stand strongly against the use of dummies. There are many pros and cons around this. So, should my baby use a dummy?
Sucking is a natural instinct for babies. If they don’t have a dummy they could start to suck their thumb, fingers or hand. Some people feel it would be easier to wean a baby off a dummy than to teach them not to suck their hands.
I would say one of the strongest arguments in favour of dummies is the one that claims that using a dummy could reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It is still unclear why some babies will die of SIDS. I was told at the hospital that some studies show that giving my baby a dummy at night might reduce the risk. But the face the midwife did while saying this made me think she was not one to believe this is true. The NHS website states that it is possible for this to be true, but that there is not enough evidence to support this claim.
In the case of babies that are tube-fed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a dummy will help them learn how to suckle. This way they will know how to feed once the tube can be removed.
Using a dummy can potentially affect your child’s teeth growth. Prolonged use of dummies can damage your baby’s mouth structure. In order to avoid this, it is recommended the dummy is given only to help sleep (at night and for day naps) and taken away once your child is 6 to 12 months old.
A baby that uses a dummy all day can also suffer a delay in his communication. This is because he is less likely to talk while sucking on the dummy.
If you are going to breastfeed it is recommended you wait until breastfeeding has been established (6-8 weeks) before using a dummy. Introducing a dummy too soon can lead to “nipple confusion” which means your baby will struggle to latch and feed properly on your breast.
To Dummy Or Not
I am a no-dummy mummy. For now. I am not a hater, I just prefer a baby without it. But like everything in life, I might come around and change my mind. Our little chicken is almost 3 months and we have managed fine until now. He has discovered his hands recently and sucks on them frequently. When he is unsettled we offer him a comfort toy to suck on. But as my wee one goes through new growth spurts, leaps and sleep regressions I might pull the dummy out if nothing else helps. I must confess I bought one just in case!