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Dummies or not?

(126 Posts)
Lizzer Wed 04-Jul-01 13:55:33

Right then folks, I'm feeling in a debating mood today so I'm going to throw open a topic for the thrashing out, holding no punches (in the nicest possible way of course!)...

I HATE dummies - there I've said it. I can just about stand seeing them in a tiny baby's mouth, even though I prefer to see what the child actually looks like rather than a lump of plastic and two little eyes. I can't stand seeing children over the age of 6 months with one, hate it when they're trying to speak with one attached or having one shoved in their gob by their parent. Basically I wonder why people bother. My daughter was far from an angelic, wonder baby that never cried, she was in fact very demanding (still can be) but cuddles and feeds got us through the early months - would a dummy have made all the difference? I am opening this up to see if I can understand why people give them to their babies at all, is it something you plan in advance - do you take them in with your labour bag or is desperation the main cause? Does it stop them crying completely? Does anyone wish they hadn't bothered or couldn't live without one - if so, why? Or does anyone feel as strongly as me?

Like I said I fancy a challenge today, so come on then....!

Tigermoth Wed 04-Jul-01 14:11:23

Lizzer, I wish I had the time to fully rise to your challenge, today. I can't marshall a considered viewpoint for this one at the moment, but just to throw my bit into the ring, neither of my sons have had dummies. I liked the sound of their voices too much. Had I felt they really wanted to suck on something, though, for their sakes I would not have ruled out a dummy. I'll add more later......

Croppy Wed 04-Jul-01 14:14:54

Ok as it's confessional time, I hate them too!!. I just cannot bear the look of them. Endless people tried to foist them on me when our son was a baby with my mother-in-law even buying a few for me. Sorry but I just think they look horrid.

Marina Wed 04-Jul-01 15:20:10

Most of the people I know who used them did so out of desperation. I can't stand them either so soldiered on, but did envy friends who opted for the dummy their bedtime peace and quiet, to the extent that I did buy a couple to try them out. My son didn't like them and I really didn't push the issue (total experiment time = approx 10 minutes).
Feel particularly strongly about older children too, Lizzer. Soothing a little person off to sleep is one thing, stopping them from interacting vocally with their surroundings entirely different.

Sid Wed 04-Jul-01 15:28:54

I'm sure this is another of those live and let live topics. I too hate the sight of them, but my son had one from about 5 months until he rejected it himself at 8 months. It helped us over a difficult patch (including a holiday abroad)when he would wail all the time and I don't think he has been psychologically damaged as a result...Of course all the time he was using it, I felt like an inadequate mother, but that just goes with the territory. My daughter on the other hand always rejected a dummy, but is still at 2 a frenetic thumb sucker. I'm not sure that that is any better, particularly as I have no control over when she does it, or when she'll stop..

Tigermoth Wed 04-Jul-01 15:51:38

If your baby uses a dummy, what harm can it do to them? I can see it negates vocal interaction as already mentioned, plus there's a risk of infection. What else please, anyone?

Kmg Wed 04-Jul-01 18:02:07

We could not have survived without dummies - my eldest son was extremely fractious as a tiny baby, and I remember at the time my husband saying he would pay £50 for a dummy, for the peace it bought us, when we were at our wits' end. It comforted him, soothed him, stopped him crying, and sent him to sleep (It did these things better than breastfeeding). He gave it up himself when he was 15 weeks' old.

My youngest son also had a dummy. He didn't give it up himself, and we had to fight that battle this Feb, (when he was 21 months old). I personally dislike dummies in toddlers, especially during the daytime.

Bloss Wed 04-Jul-01 18:39:21

Message withdrawn

Lizzer Wed 04-Jul-01 20:50:14

V interesting so far, the thing that most suprised me was finding out that you could use them for just a limited time. I was under the impression that once you gave them one at 6 weeks or whatever it would be with them til they went to school!

Lisav Wed 04-Jul-01 21:20:38

I hate dummies too. But when we went on holiday with our (then) 6 month old, we took a dummy for the flight. We found it really useful to soothe her to sleep when we were in restaurants in the evenings. When we got back home, the dummies went in the bin and she never missed them.

So I think it's fine for short-term useage, especially in young babies. What I can't stand is seeing mothers suck the dummy clean before giving it to her child - yuk!

Chelle Wed 04-Jul-01 23:47:42

Snap! I too hate dummies and was livid to find a midwife had shoved one in my 4 day old baby's mouth when I had dashed off to the loo! There were other new mums in hospital with me who virtually shoved a dummy in their baby's mouth on delivery!

Our little boy was born a bit early (36 weeks) and had lots of feeding problems and the paediatrician was adamant that a dummy would only hinder his progress (I think that was his personal opinion, I'm not sure if it is based in fact or not!). As a result of feeding problems for the first few months, our little boy was also fairly wingey and irritable most of the time. I can understand people wanting to give them a dummy at this stage as I was very nearly contemplating driving all the way to town at 3 am to buy one!! However, with the threat of exacerbating his feeding problems hanging over our heads, we persisted and managed to get through. I am glad we did now as I watch other children his age (2 years), and a friends 4 year old son, still sucking on their dummies for all they're worth!

Mooma Thu 05-Jul-01 05:39:46

When my eldest was born, she was declared to be a 'sucky baby' by a nurse, whom I caught trying to get my daughter latched on to a 'dummy' fashioned from a bottle top and teat sealed with micropore tape. I ask you!!!
She subsequently refused a real dummy and the only time she sucked was to feed, no thumbs etc. So much for the 'sucky' diagnosis!

Tigger Thu 05-Jul-01 07:02:00

Both of mine had them, but noone ever saw them outside this house with them. I cannot stand to see children with them strapped to them being constantly shoved in their mouths. My 2 had them for bedtime and the youngest gave his up at a very early age and found his thumb, in fact they used to fall asleep with them and then chuck them out of the cot!. I have heard of children having them when they go to school, not at school of course but still having them at bedtime. And my pet hate about dummies is, wait for it, MOTHERS WHO CLEAN THE DUMMY IN THEIR MOUTH!, yeuch.

One question, are bottle fed babies, more likely to have a dummy for sleeping than breast fed babies?

Emmam Thu 05-Jul-01 07:43:43

We did the dummy thing, but our son was not allowed to go outside with it. If we went out then the dummy stayed behind. He then only really had it for sleeping (yes, he was a bottle fed baby). Finally, we got rid of the wretched thing (see a previous board) and I'm ashamed of how much we used to use it just to shut him up. I too hate to see toddlers out with dummies - I even find it weird now to see babies with them. Yukky bits of coloured plastic spoiling a beautiful face.

If another child comes along I don't think I'd be so ready to get a dummy again. But saying that, if I found that it did make a difference I would allow one, but only for sleeping, definitely not for day time pacifying and certainly not outside the house.

Debster Thu 05-Jul-01 08:00:23

I used a dummy with my son from when he was about 2 weeks old until we stopped it at around 2 years. We found it the only thing that would soothe him off to sleep (he was breast and bottle fed up to 6 months then just bottles).It allowed him to get used to the idea of getting off to sleep by himself in his cot and I have to say that he has been absolutely brilliant at sleeping ever since. We thought it was going to be a real hard slog getting him off it but in fact we just told him he didn't need it anymore, threw them in the bin and after a few minutes grizzling he was asleep. He has not used one since. We only ever used it for bedtime, or if we were in the car on a long journey and I would definitely use them again. Although bearing in mind not all children like them I would not force a child to use one.

Batters Thu 05-Jul-01 09:03:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Harrysmum Thu 05-Jul-01 09:23:18

With apologies to the sensible people below who seem to have managed to tightly control the use of dummies, I think that they are essentially a sign of lazy parenting. For many it seems to be an easy option just to not be bothered to interact with a child and stick a dummy in their mouth to shut them up. Possibly contraversial but I think putting up with a few grizzly days is much more preferable to having a child stuck to a dummy for years.

Hmonty Thu 05-Jul-01 09:37:55

I too hate dummies and have never used them with my two. We had some tough months at first but they both sleep beautifully now. I can understand the use of dummies in babies when parents are desparate but I can't bear to seem toddlers with the plastic stuffed in their mouths. I suppose I still haven't got my head around why they are needed. Surely if a baby wants to suck then it's better to give them something with nutrition in it to suck on ie bottle/boob. If they're just bored or upset then use some other form of distraction and if they won't settle to sleep try sleep training. If you never use a dummy you never have the traumas of getting rid of it. Nearly went ballistic when my childminder used a dummy on my (then) 6 months old. He'd never had one up to that point so why start then...particularly as it was against my express wishes.....Grrrrr

Tigermoth Thu 05-Jul-01 09:53:48

So many of us, me included, seem to hate dummies. Especially in public. And especially for older toddlers.

Yet, I still can't see why they are bad as such. Are there any firm health reasons? Dummies seem to get offered to us in hospitals, after all.

I can think of two negatives: the lack of vocal interaction and the risk of infection. But definitely the latter, and arguably the former are not comfinded to dummies. I mean, if your toddler was sucking on a favourtie 'blankie', a toy or a teething ring when you were out, (not to mention a bottle or a beaker) would you still feel the same way?

You could present a pro-health case for dummies. As soothing tantrum-stopper, doesn't a dummy score higher in the health stakes than a sweet?

Put bluntly, are we being vain, shallow and selfish in our condemnation of dummies? Are we putting our own wishes about how we present our child to the world, above our child's wish for fairly harmless comfort?

Numbat Thu 05-Jul-01 09:55:41

I hate them too. And after three dummy-less children including one very unsettled one I'm afraid I'm with the smug "It's just lazy parenting" school on this one: I think people often just shove the dummy in whenever the baby makes a noise and I don't like to see them soothing themselves with a piece of plastic instead of their parents. But hey, maybe if I'd been more willing to experiment a dummy would have made life much easier and the unsettled baby's early life more fun, who knows. I wonder if there's a correlation between dummy-sucking as a baby and smoking in later life? Just a random thought.

Winnie Thu 05-Jul-01 10:12:44

I think the main reason people hate dummies (me included) is that there is an assumption of bad parenting that goes with it. When did dummies begin getting such bad press? When were they introduced to begin with?

Today I feel exhausted simply reading all of the threads on different ways of parenting! I think that we are largely, myself included, very good at making judgements about other peoples parenting, and it simply makes us feel better about our own parenting with all of its flaws. Maybe parenting has simply become yet another area of competition that we have all been sucked into, which makes me wonder about the motivation that lies behind having children... which is aan entirely different thread! I am going to go and lie down now...or I would, if I didn't have to do the lessons that I fit into my 8 month olds daily routine! (Ha.Ha)

Paula1 Thu 05-Jul-01 11:02:10

I think they are brilliant. My son has one only for sleeping, and in the car. Never at any other times. It soothes him instantly. He spoke really early, people were always commenting on how forward he was with his speech, so I think that arguement is rubbish (unless of course it is about children who suck them 24 hrs per day). I would so much rather he sucked a dummy than his thumb, or a piece of blanket (which I hate to see as passionately as some people here hate dummies)

Bloss Thu 05-Jul-01 11:11:05

Message withdrawn

Anoushka Thu 05-Jul-01 11:37:50

hi it's my first time doing this and this topic has got me so mad what is SO TERRIBLE about dummies i have one child and i gave him a dummey only at night and it settled him to sleep he was brest fed but i found he liked the comfort of it .what it so terrible about that. he gave it up him self after about the age of 18 mounths i find it crazy that it like every thing is a compition like when does he start walking we nearly force the child to do it if they have not done it by this recomonded date like there first bithhday.stop it if the child likes it let him have it i must agree i think i would not like it if my son was still on it at aged three or four talk soon i feel better for getting that of my chest

Azzie Thu 05-Jul-01 11:51:36

I was very anti-dummy - no child of mine was ever going to have one. This lasted until we got fed up with sitting with ds at night with a little finger in his mouth until he sucked himself to sleep. The HV said 'what's the difference between him sucking your finger and a dummy?' Answer: an extra half hour every evening for Mummy (or Daddy) to relax. So we got a dummy, and it worked very well - until ds realised he was being fobbed off and learnt how to pull it out of his mouth and throw it away. So that was the end of that.

Funnily enough dd is totally different - she never wanted to suck anything at all, so the dummy issue never reappeared in our house.

I still don't like to see dummies glued permanently into babies mouths, but I reckon they can have a place in a desperate situation!

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