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Well, what do you know! Dummies are blamed for speech problems

(23 Posts)
purepurple Wed 28-Oct-09 16:33:06

The latest research quoted in Nursery World proposes that dummies hinder speech development.
It is a pet hate of mine to see toddlers with dummies in, trying to speak and not being able to.
Dummies have their place, mostly for sleep, I agree.
But why does a 3, 4 or even 5 year old need one?
Does your child have one and do you regret giving it to them?
Do you agree with the research or not?

Cluckyagain Wed 28-Oct-09 16:35:01

Entirely agree. I remember sitting amazed at the HV who said that quote a few parents of 3 and 4 yr olds come to her saying that their children don't speak very much or are very unclear when they do.........child sits with dummy in their mouth.............join the dots!

GypsyMoth Wed 28-Oct-09 16:36:24

i have 5 dc...all had dummies. not been too obsessive about them (me),certainly not had them beyond age 3.....they all speak fine! developed normally,no problems at all...

herbietea Wed 28-Oct-09 16:39:39

Message withdrawn

claraquack Wed 28-Oct-09 16:39:49

I wouldn't have got through the last year without a dummy. Not for me, though, for my toddler (nearly 2) . we have had a huge amount of upheaval in our lives, had to move house and country three times, been evacuated from one place, been on numerous long flights, my dd's have slept in dozens of different places and beds/cots. While I see your point about why dummies aren't always ideal, I would just be careful about making sweeping judgements about their use. It has been a huge comfort to my youngest daughter to have her dummy and always helps to calm her down instantly. This has of course also been a huge help to us, as we have had to get her up in the middle of the night for a flight or put her to sleep in yet another unfamiliar bed.

herbietea Wed 28-Oct-09 16:40:39

Message withdrawn

claraquack Wed 28-Oct-09 16:41:20

Oh and her speech is ahead for her age.

Pinkjenny Wed 28-Oct-09 16:41:45

Dd still has her dummy when she is tired. If she reaches for it during the day and tries to talk to me with it in her mouth, we just tell her we can't understand her, and she takes it out.

That said, I had my dummy until I was 5, and my speech is just fine.

loujay Wed 28-Oct-09 16:43:02

DD is 6, has speech issues and has never had a dummy

PerryPlatypus Wed 28-Oct-09 16:45:12

I can't read the whole thing without registering but 123 children isn't a particularly big sample is it?

I have 3 children. None of them have ever had a dummy or sucked their thumbs. Two of them have had difficulties with speech development.

totallyawesome Wed 28-Oct-09 16:47:50

I don't think that dummies should be demonised in the way that they are. My DD had a dummy and her speech (in two languages) is just fine. The biggest danger with dummies, IMO, is that they are a hideous potential source of infection.

Those who declare that dummies are bad - do you chew the ends of pens/pencils etc? As far as I am concerned, it is the same kind of soothing mechanism.

dizietsma Wed 28-Oct-09 16:54:19

What bunkum!

DD is 4 and has her dummy at bedtime. Just you try and stop her nattering away with her perfectly clear and understandable speech!

I honestly don't see the difference between dummies and thumbsucking wrt speech impediments etc, and you never see headlines about thumbsucking. I think a lot of objections to dummies in this country stem from classism, with dummies being seen as lower class.

I sucked my thumb until I was 20 (only in bed, I hasten to add) and had neither speech impediment nor irregular teeth. Most of the kids in my family sucked their thumbs for a very long time too, none of them were affected in any way either.

We've told DD that if she really can't give up her dummy yet then she is only allowed it at bedtime. We've also said that if she is unable to give it up before her baby teeth fall out, then she will have to give it up then in case it damages her adult teeth, as per the one study that has convinced me of any harm done by dummy use.

Cluckyagain Wed 28-Oct-09 16:56:28

Lets be honest - research results will always come across in the media with an 'edge' as that's what makes it more newsworthy. I think the OP is saying what most of us think at one point or another - a child of 4 or 5 who constantly has a dummy in their mouth are less likely to be able to learn to speak properly with it in their mouth than out of it..........just as I can't speak properly with a large object in my mouth (dh would be convulsed at this suggestion!!grin

cat64 Wed 28-Oct-09 17:16:12

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dizietsma Wed 28-Oct-09 17:22:02

I never see kids over the age of 3 with dummies in during the day, and I am constantly in the company of families and parents. I think this is an overstated problem.

purepurple Wed 28-Oct-09 17:46:55

I do see children of 3 and 4 with dummies in all day. I work in a nursery and have done for 20 years. I do feel that a child who has a dummy in is hard to understand.
Sometimes, they are hard to understand without the dummy in.
I work with 2 and 3 year olds and a lot have dummies. I have no problems with a child who needs a dummy for an afternoon nap.
But they shouldn't need them during the day at that age.
Obviously, different children have different needs and I always put the needs of the child first. I would rather try to build a relationship with the children in my care and build up trust and hope that the child feels safe and secure in my care than just resort to sticking a dummy in to stop them crying. (I am talking about nurseries here, not parents! before you all flame me)
I have used dummies for my own DC, Ds refused his and DD had hers till she went to nursery school. So I can see both sides.
I just feel that sometimes dummies are over-used.

cat64 Wed 28-Oct-09 22:11:45

Message withdrawn

BoysAreLikeDogs Wed 28-Oct-09 22:21:07

The title of the Nursery World piece says 'Children's speech development impaired by fingers and dummies' [my italics]

choosyfloosy Wed 28-Oct-09 22:26:41

found what looks like the original article here.

The increased risk of speech disorder appeared to be seen in children who either sucked their fingers for extended periods, or who used a dummy for THREE YEARS or more.

To me that's not quite such a 'aha' moment.

Chunkamatic Wed 28-Oct-09 22:39:51

I agree that sometimes dummies can be over-used and this is sometimes where these research reports are lacking [disclaimer: i haven't read the article linked by the OP].

IMHO children of 2, 3, 4 and 5 have no need to use a dummy when not sleeping. I know every child is different but I do sometimes feel a bit sad when I see older children at the park or out in town with dummies in their mouths.

DS has had one since he was quite little - one of many tatics to get him to sleep which actually worked! He would happily have it all day long if I let him but it is quite strictly limited to sleep times as he is old enough to find other ways of comforting himself now that he is older and can express himself better.

His speech is developing, but he is 20mths and still not properly talking. I dont put this down to dummy use though as he never has a dummy when he is awake so to interfere with his developing speech...

Caro1302 Sun 01-Nov-09 12:59:41

My DS is 2.9 and still has a dummy when asleep or if he's really upset and I can't console him with anything else (rare). He does have speech delays but I really don't think it's down to dummy use.

trixiechick Sun 01-Nov-09 13:38:41

ok i'm a first time mum and no level of education/career experience is comparable to being a mum. I want to say that to preface what I have to say because I have a lot of education/experience in early childhood education and the acquisition of speech.
not very clear but however....

Children's speech is affected by the use of dunmmys. WHEN... they are randomly stuck in childrens' mouths everytime they threaten to make a noise. WHEN... children are not given lots and lots of time to razz and gurgle and wah and practise taking turns in conversations (from birth). WHEN..they are allowed to become a day long comfort toy which discourages children from using their sounds to request and respond. WHEN..children are not taught that speaking out of the side of a soother is acceptable.

In other words as with most things to do with parenthood and education anything which gets in the way of you talking, interacting and constantly encouraging communication with babies and toddlers will affect their speech and general development. I have witnessed terrible speech problems resultant from parents who talk around and not to their children.

Finally before I come down from my soap box I prefer to call them soothers because that is what they should be used for. dummy is negative and suggests its purpose is shutting the child up rather than providing comfort. Oh and btw I use a soother with my baby.

purepurple Sun 08-Nov-09 08:28:06

I agree with every word, trixiechick
I saw a 3 year old pre-schooler being picked up by her dad from nursery on friday afternoon.
Before thet had even got down the stairs in to the hallway, she had a dummy in her mouth.
Why? I really don't understand.
She wasn't crying, or tired (it was just 3.30)
Surely, if you haven't seen your child all day, you would want to talk to them, to ask what they had been up to?

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