The pros and cons of introducing a dummy

Should I introduce a dummy? What are the pros and cons? The dummy debate will continue for as long as there are both babies and dummies (and that isn’t going to stop anyone soon). This info will help you to make an informed decision on whether or not to introduce one.

The pros

  • Giving your baby a dummy when she sleeps may reduce the risk of SIDS. You should put it in her mouth when you put her to sleep but there is no need to give it back to her should it fall out.
  • It also allows your baby to comfort and soothe herself.
  • It satisfies the sucking reflex. Some babies like to suck more than just when feeding and a dummy allows them to do this.
  • When the time comes that you don’t want your baby to have it anymore, it is easier to wean off a dummy than it is off sucking a thumb.
  • The cons

  • If you introduce a dummy before breastfeeding has been established, it may cause nipple confusion. This could result in your newborn being unable to breastfeed. It is best to wait until your baby is at least one month old.
  • Recent research suggests there may be a link between dummy use and ear infections. It is thought this is due to a change of pressure between the middle ear and upper throat. Bear in mind, there is not enough evidence to confirm if this link is accurate (it may be that mothers in the test group had babies who were already more prone to ear infections and gave a dummy to soothe them).
  • Overuse of a dummy can delay speech, it is recommended you limit the amount of time your child has it, using it for sleep time only is a good way of preventing this.
  • It may cause problems with teeth development if your child regularly uses it for prolonged periods.
  • You may offer a dummy when your little one really wants to be fed, it is an easy mistake and one you will have to be aware of.
  • Dummy safety

  • Always sterilise the dummy before use if your child is under 6 months. After this you can wash with warm soapy water.
  • Never clean a dummy by sucking it – you have lots of bacteria in your mouth that you will transfer.
  • Replace it regularly to ensure there are no cracks, this is where germs/bacteria can survive.
  • Never dip it in anything, particularly not sweet things like honey or juices.
  • Choose an orthodontic dummy with a large shield and air holes, look for the British Dental Association logo.
  • Avoid using a cord attached to the dummy as there is a strangulation risk.
  • Resources:
    WebMd, Product safety