Dummies or soothers or pacifiers are life saviours for many parents. For another group, it is a bad habit. It is a controversial topic even among medical professionals. Babies have a sucking instinct naturally. Using a dummy is hence considered helpful in promoting sleep and calming down when the babies cry.
Dummies or pacifiers are also beneficial in satiating the need to suck. The sucking reflex is very common in children, and even the baby in the womb can suck. So, parents consider using dummies to help in preventing thumb sucking.
But is using dummies good or bad? Pros and cons do exist in using dummies.
Let’s take a look.
The advantages of using dummies:
- Dummies help babies to sleep. This is highly beneficial for babies who cry in their sleep.
- When traveling in air, ear pressure can cause discomfort in babies. Using dummies balances ear pressure, and brings down discomfort in babies
- Self-soothing is promoted in babies
- Dummies are considered to be beneficial in preventing SIDS.
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome can be caused due to several reasons. Using dummies stops the baby from rolling onto the front.
- Dummies prevent keeping their tongue forward in babies
- When babies suck dummies during the night, they sleep still and avoid covering their face with blankets.
Disadvantages of using dummies:
- The breastfeeding schedule can be affected. As the sucking reflex is satiated, babies tend to cry less for milk. This can decrease the breastfeeding frequency.
- The sleep pattern can get affected in babies who use dummies to sleep, as they grow older
- When older children keep using dummies, it can lead to dental problems
- A middle ear infection is more common in babies who use dummies. This is because sucking opens the ear passage.
- Proper and regular cleaning of dummies is mandatory to prevent infections in babies.
- A few young babies can be confused between breast nipples and dummies. This can lead to stopping breastfeeding.
Pro Tip: Giving the baby a dummy during sleep hours lets you make most of the advantages. Also, this can keep off most of the cons associated with using dummies. Use a dummy as a last resort to let the child sleep.
When to start and stop using dummies?
You can start using dummies for your baby after 4 to 6 weeks. This time would help in establishing breastfeeding practice. You need to focus on stopping using dummies before your child turns 12 months old. Stopping around 3 months is an easier solution. This is because the baby would outcome relying on the pacifier for a soothing experience. After 6 months, it would be tough for the child to forget it.
Ways to wean off dummy:
- Always choose a calm time to stop using a dummy. Do not choose a date when the baby has been recently ill or missing close ones.
- Divert with other objects. A soft toy like a teddy to hug during the night is a good replacement for dummies. The child would feel comfy.
- Stick to the routine. If the baby has managed to sleep during the nap hours or the night without a dummy, do not offer the next day. Even if the baby demands, you need to stick to the schedule.
- Appreciate and encourage the child not to use dummies for a specific period.
Remember: Stop using dummies around 6 months. Using dummies can delay speech development in kids. They would move the dummy aside, and this impairs tongue development. Dummies are also associated with tooth cavities. However, using it is better than thumb sucking. Orthodontic dummies are a good solution here.