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Dummies - yes or no?
53

newmum234 · 11/06/2020 08:18

My 7 week old baby is quite unsettled at the moment and has been crying a lot. On another thread a couple of posters suggested that I try a dummy to help soothe him, but I’ve always been dead against them.

However I’m now wondering if I’m almost being cruel to the baby by not allowing him to use one, as apparently babies find them very comforting and I’m denying him that comfort. What do you think?

On this website it says they’re no longer physiologically necessary after 3 months, so if he had one now he would only use it for about 5 weeks.

www.senderspediatrics.com/health-and-parenting/fussy-baby/

Are there any downsides to using a dummy apart from the fact that it could be hard to take it away once he’s used to it?

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SarahMcDonald · 11/06/2020 08:20

It can be very hard to take it away. And if you don’t , it can damage their teeth.

And you need ten dummies, not one ( they get lost ).

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Thinkpinkstink · 11/06/2020 08:22

We were also 'anti dummy' until we had DD.

Her dummy was the difference between sleep and no sleep, she only really had it for nap time and bed time, she kept it until she was 1.5.

Getting rid of it WAS tricky, but you just have to stick to your guns for a little while.

There is also research to suggest that dummies are a factor in reducing the likelihood of SIDS (I'm on the move right now so can't find the research, I'll try to later).

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Acidrain · 11/06/2020 08:22

I was against dummies but DS liked to suck things, like our finger wouod settle him at 3 weeks decided in the middle of a long crying unsettled 2hrs to give him a dummie and he fell asleep instantly. Only used it for sleep and at 5 months took it away. Worked for us, we just needed sleep and it worked!

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Letsallscreamatthesistene · 11/06/2020 08:25

@sarahmacdonald no you dont. I have 3 and its more than fine.


You can also get orthodontic dummies. The only thing you have to watch out for is falling into the trap of using them all the time as this can effect speech development.

They become a problem if you use them like this, however if you use them sensibly as a sleep aid its no problem. Its no different to feeding a baby to sleep, cuddling them to sleep etc etc. All are forms of sleep association that will need to break somewhere down the line.

OP I think theres a general anti-dummy feeling on MN so I dont think you're going to get a wide spectrum on replies here.

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TheRainbowCollection · 11/06/2020 08:28

To be honest, I was undecided on this until I read that one of the most statistically significant protections against SIDS (after not smoking around them) is a baby falling asleep with a dummy in their mouth.

They're not sure why and it does seem to be specifically related to having it as they fall asleep rather than any other time but that decided it for me. https://www.basisonline.org.uk/dummies/

Mine liked to have a dummy for sleep but it wasn't necessary for him to get to sleep. He's now 10 months old still has his dummies for sleep (and has slept pretty consistent 12 hours through the night since 7 months) but very rarely during the day.

I'm happy to take the risk of some tears when the 'dummy fairy' comes if needs be. I'm starting to think about trying to wean him off soon but we'll see.

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SuziGeo · 11/06/2020 08:30

I held off on using a dummy too, and eventually got one around 2-3months to help settle my DS for napping when we were out and about. We use a lot of public transport and I felt it wasn't safe to keep getting him out of his pram whenever he was upset plus the disruption to other passengers if he was crying. To be honest he didn't really take to it, kept spitting it out with a big smile on his face so it sort of became a game. He is almost 6 months now and he will sometimes take it for a nap and sometimes he doesn't want it. I needn't have worried about him becoming overly dependent on it.

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20viona · 11/06/2020 08:35

I was always so anti dummy as I am an orthodontic nurse but at 6 weeks we gave in. My daughter has slept through the night pretty much since 4 months or so. We went through a stage where she had the dummy clipped to her and then she started putting it in herself all the time so we now keep them in her cot and are used purely for bed time. I want to get rid once her teeth start to come
Through but I know it's gonna be tough.

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SarahMcDonald · 11/06/2020 08:38

The BDA recommend that you don’t use a dummy past 12 months as it can damage your child’s teeth and mouth.

www.babycentre.co.uk/x569366/will-a-dummy-harm-my-babys-teeth.

The Op asked for disadvantages and this is a huge one for most parents.

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Letsallscreamatthesistene · 11/06/2020 08:42

If you read it they also recommend using an orthodontic one and limiting the amount of time with one (eg - as a sleep aid)

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ThatLockdownLyfe · 11/06/2020 08:43

In the long run it's not going to matter at all.

DS had a night dummy til 2.5y. Teeth totally fine. We used orthodontic ones.

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HalloumiSalad · 11/06/2020 08:47

I think they can be a useful tool if used wisely. I think they can also delay resolving the real source of the cry and a more complete solution by providing a temporary sooth. Like a lot of potentially useful tools there are pros and cons. This crying stage will pass but weaning a child off a dummy can take ages. But every child and parent is different.

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newmum234 · 11/06/2020 08:52

I just read the below:

If you’re bottle-feeding your baby then you will almost certainly need to use a dummy if your little one doesn’t thumb-suck as bottles just don’t provide enough sucking time for a young baby.

www.motherandbaby.co.uk/baby-and-toddler/toddler/dummies-pacifiers-newborn-pros

I’ve never heard this before - is it true?

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TeddyIsaHe · 11/06/2020 08:53

I didn’t use one for dd and I ended up being the dummy. Getting Dd to wean from bf was much harder than taking a dummy away I imagine!

I would definitely use one next time, just on the SIDS evidence alone. Plus I really like sleep.

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newmum234 · 11/06/2020 08:54

After reading that I now feel even more guilty about not breastfeeding, because I’m denying my child “sucking time” now as well apparently Sad

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newmum234 · 11/06/2020 08:55

Just to clarify, my last post was referring to the website link I posted above, not TeddyIsAHe’s post!

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FATEdestiny · 11/06/2020 08:57

Lack of sleep has a negative effect on a child's development.

Lack of sleep has lifelong and serious health implications in the long term. And many aspects of sleep habits and hygiene are established in the formative years.

Not to mention prolonged crying in babies - which cannot be nice for anyone (the parent and the child).

Dummy use reduces SIDS risk and is recommended by the NHS for helping with reflux and colic.

Like every aspect of parenting a baby, it's about balancing risks. Which is the greater risk, is it worth it?

IMO dummies are AMAZING!

The benefits far, far outweigh and downsides.

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Pinkblueberry · 11/06/2020 08:57

DS has always been fairly easy to get to sleep - I’m pretty sure that without a dummy this wouldn’t have been the case. We’ve always used it just for sleeping. Advice against using it generally comes from those who didn’t use one... I don’t know anyone who’s said ‘Looking back I wished we hadn’t used one, LO’s teeth are sticking out in all directions now...’ I think you just need to be sensible with it. Obviously don’t keep it in 24/7 until the age of 3 - I have no doubt that could cause some issues. We only used ours for sleeping - not because I was particularly worried about health risks, but because that way it signalled ‘time to sleep.’ And obviously sleep reduces over time, so that’s less dummy time. When the naps dropped, the dummy fairy eventually arrived to take it away for good. It wasn’t easy, but hardly traumatic.

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TeddyIsaHe · 11/06/2020 08:57

Don’t be guilty about not bf!! I don’t know a single child that has had lasting issues because they didn’t have enough sucking time. They might be a bit shouty but it won’t cause lasting damage.

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Sandybval · 11/06/2020 08:59

I was set against them until I had DS. We used them for naps and sleep, during the day when he was 6 months we just didn't get it out, and it was solely used for sleep and caused no issues. At 18 months we stopped popping one in the cot and he settled without it, you might have a battle on your hands but personally I would say it was worth it.

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FATEdestiny · 11/06/2020 09:01

Re: sucking

Don't grieve breastfeeding. Using the breast for comfort sucking ends up being a far harder habit to break than stopping using the dummy, when the time comes.

Dummies allow for comfort sucking, but independently. They mean baby can do that magical thong of being put down to sleep. Feeding to sleep doesn't.

There are very good reasons dummies are so widely used. It's because they are so simple and so good.

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EnidsCrochetCorner · 11/06/2020 09:02

@newmum234

After reading that I now feel even more guilty about not breastfeeding, because I’m denying my child “sucking time” now as well apparently Sad

Well Ds1 is 17 and seems perfectly fine having been initially BF for about 3 weeks then bottle fed.

Ds2 was "prescribed" a dummy by his paediatrician as he had severe acid reflux and said it would help prevent scaring of his oesophagus. Sadly he didn't grow out of the reflux until he was 8 years old, but gave up the dummy when he was 2 1/2 ish. He had that thing permanently in his mouth not just for sleeping. He is now 14 years old. He is fine, no teeth issues.

He did have speech therapy when he was 3 but I have worked with children who have never had a dummy and need speech therapy. That comes down to modelling language and correcting speech.
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newmum234 · 11/06/2020 09:03

Thanks all. Does anyone know what the website in my OP means when they say dummies are no longer physiologically necessary after 3 months? I know lots of babies/kids use them for a lot longer than that!

I suppose my question is, am I being cruel to my baby and making him unhappy by denying him a dummy and the comfort that goes with that? That’s what I’m worried about.

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newmum234 · 11/06/2020 09:05

Thanks @FATEdestiny - that has made me feel better!

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Letsallscreamatthesistene · 11/06/2020 09:07

If your using them as a sleep aid a way to promote self settling then babies not needing them 'physiologically after 3 months' seems a bit odd. Babies wont magically self settle at 3 months and be fine after that. My son is 11 weeks old, and im not going to take the dummy away next week because he 'physiologically doesnt need it'

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TeddyIsaHe · 11/06/2020 09:08

You are NOT being cruel. Some babies won’t take a dummy even if you want them to and it does not cause any harm. But try him with one and see how you get on?

I think the advice is not to take a dummy away before 6 months due to SIDS, but I may have plucked that number from thin air.

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