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The Dummy Debate

(74 Posts)
cocoachannel Fri 07-Jan-11 11:03:04

Hi all,

I am sure this has been done again and again, but I wanted to gauge some up to date opinions from other soon to be Mums!

I have just heard on the radio that the use of a dummy is shown to reduce the risk of cot death (a quick google shows this comes from a 2005 study).

Neither DH and I had dummies children and our mothers have been snobs concerned about their use when it's come up.

What are the pros and cons in your opinion?

SaraL77 Fri 07-Jan-11 21:48:41

I was also like others mentioned above- totally against them pre-children, and my mum always said how much she hated them (neither me or my bro had one when little) but after having DS1 I am a convert, he is now 22 months and only uses it at night. Never had problems with him spitting it out at night and needing it put back in as he would just keep sleeping without it. Works for us- DC2 on the way and wouldn't hesitate to use one again.

growing3rdbump Sat 08-Jan-11 15:34:50

I didn't have a dummy myself (but did suck my thumb until I was 9) and both my parents and DH's parents are quite against them. When I had DD1 (now 7) I felt that I didn't want her to have a dummy and was a bit of a snob about them. She sucks her thumb still and it has been a constant battle trying to get her to stop, especially as her front teeth are now sticking forward quite a bit. I remember how hard it was getting her off to sleep and I used to comfort feed her to sleep, which was pretty time consuming and not recommended!

When I had DS1 (now 3.5) I also heard that dummies are thought to reduce cot death risk and so decided he would have a dummy. I have to say it was the best thing I ever did - he has always been a dream at bedtime and was much easier to settle. The downside was he did become quite dependent on it and he was almost 3 when we finally got rid of it.

However he is now still a dream at bedtime, doesn't suck his thumb and teeth are looking much better than DDs. I am pregnant with DC3 now and will be using a dummy again!!! I really think you have to go with your own personal preference - always be open minded when it comes to raising children!!!

pozzled Sat 08-Jan-11 15:45:42

I actually went to quite a bit of effort to get DD to take a dummy (trying different types and so on). Partly because of the cot death advice and partly because she would spend ages sucking our fingers, for a while it was the only way we could soothe her when she was fed, clean etc. A dummy made things a lot easier.

We gave it to her for settling to sleep and very occasionally in the day, and she gave it up herself when she was about 8 months- just started refusing to take it when we put her in her cot. We never had any of the problems you hear about with babies waking frequently in the night to have the dummy returned, it was all very very easy. Won't hesitate to use one with DC2.

Toni2011 Sat 08-Jan-11 18:19:24

I don't like dummies for several reasons - the main one being that although they can help to settle a baby, they can also cause distress when they lose it. I seem to spend most of my time finding and washing my niece's dummy whenever I look after her. There have also been times when we have been out, lost the dummy, and she was inconsolable until we could get her home and find another one.

In my own DD's case, I didn't want her to have a dummy because I felt that I should be able to settle her myself rather than relying on a dummy to do it for me. I did have these notions knocked out of me when she was comfort feeding so frequently that I was getting very sore indeed! I tried on several occasions to give her a dummy but she just wouldn't have it. She would suck on the knuckle of my little finger happily though. That was fine for me, as I would always make sure my hands were thoroughly clean before letting her have it - the down side is that in the absence of a dummy anyone else trying to settle her would follow my example and give her a knuckle to suck and I had no way of controlling how clean their hands were!

I must say that having no dummy certainly didn't stop DD sleeping well - she slept through the night from just a few weeks old.

I'm now expecting DS (36+4) and am keeping an open mind. I have dummies ready, and although ideally I would like to avoid giving it to him, I agree with the comments above that you just have to go with what suits your baby. It may be that a dummy suits him where it didn't suit DD.

EenyMeenyMaya Sat 08-Jan-11 20:14:51

DS2 due tomorrow and I have bought a couple of dummies already. After being anti dummy with DS1 I caved and he had one for about 4 months, he grew bored of it before he was even 6 months. Never woke demanding it either, but it did help when I put him down to sleep.

I do however have baby brain and have forgotten from what age they can be introduced, can anyone help?

LmO Sat 08-Jan-11 20:35:54

my 3 year old DS just gave all his to Santas reindeers, he has been brilliant at letting them go (was quite fond of them so started by asking him to 'throw' it back into bed each morning). Now he is fine and has beautiful straight teeth, unlike his sister who sucks her thumb out of the side of her mouth!!!!

SaraL77 Sat 08-Jan-11 21:44:31

EenyMeenyMaya- I've read that you should wait a bit before giving to babies- not sure how long- maybe it's until breastfeeding is established? However that's easier said than done if the baby is crying and needs comforting and your boobs are sore from comfort sucking!

drosophila Sat 08-Jan-11 21:49:44

Agree Sleep is the Holy Grail.

Never used a dummy as DS1 did not take to it and then never bothered after that with other 2 bu hey if it works use it.

PermaShattered Sat 08-Jan-11 22:03:04

I'm a dummy snob. My two eldest didn't have one and didn't need one.

But, by the time my 3rd was about 3 days old and he was lying in bed next to me going to sleep with my little finger in his mouth, my husband said I can't possibly spend half the day with my little finger in his mouth for the next few weeks!

So the next day he (NOT me!) bought a dummy -and it's the absolute BEST thing we ever did. Although my husband did give me stick for a day or so: "You bad mother, sticking a bit of plastic in the baby's mouth."

He's now 3 and only has it when he's going to bed (or resting on the sofa with me) and he knows he won't get one just cos he wants it.

But I hate seeing toddlers walking aound with dummies in their mouths. It's so unecessary and definitely unhygienic.

Expecing 4th in 10 weeks - and if a dummy makes all the difference, then so be it!! Snob or no snob........

cocoachannel Sat 08-Jan-11 22:04:29

Thanks for all the comments ladies. Lots to think about, but I think the main thing I'll take away is just to wait and see how it goes when DD arrives!

EenyMeenyMaya Sun 09-Jan-11 05:43:30

Thanks SarahL, good point about establishing BF 1st.

ZippyPippy Sun 09-Jan-11 10:08:52

My first is due soon and our NCT breastfeeding counsellor told us not to introduce a dummy for 6 weeks otherwise it might confuse baby and prevent breastfeeding getting established which seems a long time if baby is not settling - can anyone offer any advice on this?

Zippy - yes this is the advice that health professionals give. Personally I gave my DD2 a dummy from birth to help settle her after feeds and she is still BF 8 months on - in fact she's never had a bottle or formula.

There is no way I could have had her sucking on me for comfort all the time as I have 2 other young children - this is why I introduced the dummy.

This is only my experience though! smile

TheBreastmilksOnMe Sun 09-Jan-11 12:02:25

In my experience:

Pros-
# Reduce the risk of cot death
# Baby more settled and soothed (sometimes)
# If you are breastfeeding it can buy you some more time as sometimes baby just wants to suck and not feed.
# Placate a tantrumming toddler.
# Part of a routine for naps.

Cons-
# Can harbour thrush so need to sterilise everyday, thrush not pleasent if you are breastfeeding and not pleasent for baby either.
# Can interfere with breastfeeding and latch
# Baby may prefer dummy for comfort when tired rather than breast, which can be hurtful.
# If dummy use is not restricted and used for a long time then it will affect the allignment of the upper teeth so orthodontics might be needed in the future.
# Difficult to wean them off.

growing3rdbump Sun 09-Jan-11 21:29:29

Zippy, I def didn't wait 6 wks to establish breastfeeding and had no problems feeding my two. I'm sure at most 2/3wks would be sufficient.

CrystalQueen Sun 09-Jan-11 21:36:04

Don't rule anything out before you've met your baby! I thought (and still think) that dummies are horrible, but they really helped my DD go to sleep.

whatireckonis Thu 24-Jan-13 23:39:31

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

TheFallenNinja Thu 24-Jan-13 23:45:33

DD Has one, it seems it was her call, not mine smile

Kafri Fri 25-Jan-13 01:57:58

My ds WILL NOT take a dummy. I actually wish he would fir 2 reasons

1. He has AWFUL colic and a dummy as a soother might help him. (Cos nothing else does). 12 hours of screaming later and any mum would want some relief!

2. He has digestion issues, just immature newborn/baby system issues but still, a dummy helps stimulate to keep things moving.

Unfortunately, no matter how many time I tell him this ;-) he doesn't listen and will not take it. He's only 5 weeks so maybe he will in time.

I've fad 2 friends who were fully against a dummy and both ended up giving in and weaning off later. I just think as long as they're weaned at an appropriate age, anything that helps is fine by me.

HandMini Fri 25-Jan-13 08:03:57

My DD (now 20 mo) has one. We introduced it around 6 weeks and I guess she was a "sucky" baby because she seemed to get a lot of comfort from it and it was definitely her sleep association thing from about four months, when dummy meant nap/sleep. I breastfed her exclusively for six months and didn't find dummy interfered.

Re the whole "I don't like the way dummies look"/snobbery, well, I don't know anyone who goes round saying "i love dummies, they're so attractive (even tho i secretly do think DD does look like a cute little piglet with hers in) so I wouldn't waste too much time on justifying or explaining your decision - some babies take to them, others don't, but those that do clearly get comfort and soothing from it, so I've always felt fine about giving one.

CountryCupcakes Fri 25-Jan-13 12:12:19

I don't like the look of dummies particularily (i don't think anyone does?) but have used them with DD's 1 & 2 and have some packed in my hospital bag for DD3, due today, if necessary- The midwifes came pee off if the dare to pass comment!

I found them a godsend as I didn't have time to have a baby constantly suckling on me all day. I always buy new ones at the first sign of wear and tear and sterilise them everynight.

My niece on the other hand was never allowed one and spent her first year almost constantly crying. needless to say my sister used dummies with DD's 2 & 3.

WRT the whole waking at night thing I a dummy at each corner of the cot. DD's would crawl and get them themselves if they ever woke up and wanted a suck - meant I never had to get up and they settled themselves quickly again.

Do what suits you and ignore everyone else!

LeBFG Fri 25-Jan-13 12:18:03

Kafri, I actively encouraged my DS to take a dummy. Whilst moving around I would stick it in when mouth was open. He would pop it out but eventually accepted it. It was great because after a bf, I could replace boob with dummy and put him sleeping into his cot. It helped sometimes to calm him at the supermarket or if he was upset out of the house and I didn't want/couldn't bf. The love only lasted a few short months however and he soon just went to sleep without anything. I've packed some in my hospital bag for the next one wink. DS was premmie too and they insisted the dummy helped the babies to digest better.

Eletheomel Fri 25-Jan-13 13:05:48

Can't really give a balanced view, as I personally don't like them (and find it hard to get over that dislike!) but I've read the pros outlined by the posters above. My son was breastfed and never needed nor wanted any kind of dummy/sucky comforter to settle and he never sucked his thumb either, he was happy without one. (don't know what this bean will be like though)

I've just seen so many parents try to shove dummies into their babies crying mouths rather than pick them up or talk to them (crutch for lazy parenting) and then of course you get the dummies dropped on the ground, wiped on sleeves and put back in (gross!).

I totally accept that the above is just examples of bad practice and it's not necessarily fair to blame that on the dummy, but as I said, I can't really give a balanced view :-)

I've had a couple of friends who used dummies and left them with there little ones a bit too long and ended up with stroppy toddlers who refused to give them up until there was tantrums, and it was a nightmare for them, so i reckon if you do want to use them, probably best to get them to stop before the terrible two's kick in!

As with any parenting/feeding/sleeping option though, it's totally up to the individual parent to decide what they want to do in relation to their child, and if anyone wants to use them, just ignore folk like me and do what you think is right - cos ultimately it's your child and you know better than anyone else!

NAR4 Fri 25-Jan-13 15:25:16

Cons; some shape dummies can damage teeth
can hinder breastfeeding
can cause rashes on face
don't look nice for toddlers
can delay speech or cause poor pronounciation

Pros; can buy orthodontic dummies and teeth normally correct themselves when dummy use is stopped
can aide sleep and provide comfort for baby
usage can be limited ie for bedtime only, unlike thumb sucking
research has shown it slightly reduces the risk of cot death

To be honest it just depends how often and when you use dummies, what problems (if any) they could potentially cause. None of my children liked a dummy but two of them loved sucking their thumb, which I have no control over at all. They can do it whenever they want and until whatever age they want. At least a dummy can be limited to useage and taken away at a set age. By the way, thumb sucking causes the same potential problems as a dummy.

I wouldn't rule them out. Just see what your baby likes and what suits you and your Dh.

BonaDea Fri 25-Jan-13 15:36:09

I wish my mother had given me a dummy! I sucked two of my fingers (no thumbs here!) and it was sooooo hard to stop it. I continued sucking my fingers well into primary school (although only at night in bed, or perhaps cuddled on the sofa) but it is terrible to try to stop when your hand is just there all the time! It's subconscious... I ended up having to wear a glove in bed to give up because even if I didn't suck on purpose, the fingers would end up in my mouth after I was asleep.

FInger sucking also resulted in me needing braces for slightly buck front teeth - all sorted now, but not nice having braces at 13 if you can avoid! One of my fingers is also a slightly funny shape and the nails took literally YEARS to properly recover and harden up after I'd stopped.

If our baby turns out to be sucky, a dummy it is!

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