Should I give my baby a dummy?
Find out the pros and cons of using a dummy to put your baby to sleep.
Letting your baby sleep with a dummy (pacifier/soothers/binkies) brings conflicting results on both sides of the debate.
Many experts advise against giving your baby a dummy to sleep, because of hazards, while some child psychologists say that it could help them sleep by themselves better.
To give a dummy or not?
To be frank, it is really your right as a parent to decide what helps your baby to sleep the best. So whether you choose to give or not give their baby a dummy to help them sleep is your decision. Theoretically there is nothing wrong with letting your baby sleep with a dummy to help, but always keep in mind their safety and the effects of sleeping with a dummy.
Using a dummy to help your baby sleep
Many parents have found lots of benefits of allowing their baby to sleep with a dummy.
1. Babies associate sucking on a dummy with nutrition and safety.
2. It gives them the sense of comfort while they are in that big bed all by themselves.
3. There have also been some studies that show using a dummy to help babies sleep may reduce the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (Although it remains unclear why).
If you do give your baby a dummy there are some things to note:
1. Don't give your baby a dummy in the first month if you're breastfeeding, as it may interfere with your child's ability to feed at the boob.
2. Gently withdraw your baby from using a dummy after six months, by which time the risk of cot death is dramatically reduced.
3. Don't allow your baby to suck the dummy for more than six hours a day as this is likely to affect your baby's teeth. Do also use an orthodontic dummy where possible.
4. Don't put a dummy in your own mouth to 'clean it' as mouths are full of bacteria!
5. Dummies trap bacteria and germs easily so do sterilise it daily in a steam steriliser or sterilising solution. Do also throw it away at the first signs of wear.
Go to page two for cons on using a dummy to help baby sleep
Con's of using dummies for bedtime
There are a number of cons of using a dummy during bedtime. Some of them include
1. Teeth problems
As mentioned in the first page there are studies that show prolonged time spent sleeping with a dummy will lead to teeth problems. Pacifiers have been linked to Candida (thrush) and caries.
2. Interferes with breast feeding
It is also advisable that if you are breastfeeding to not introduce a dummy for at least a month after the baby is born. That way the process of breastfeeding is well established and you will not have to worry about your baby getting confused.
3. Medical reasons
Many doctors also recommend to not use a dummy after your baby reaches six months old. They have noticed an increase in ear infections, yeast infections in the mouth and some intestinal infections. You can use other methods to soothe your baby if you notice they are having any of these problems.
Some babies have developed a dependency for the dummy during the night. If the dummy falls out of their mouth while they are sleeping, they will wake up crying for it.
Mums, Shileen and Joanne share on the breastfeeding mums support group that one of the reasons they do not give their baby a dummy is because of hygiene reasons as it drops easily.
All experts agree that once your baby starts showing teeth that you should stop all use of the dummy. The sucking effect on the dummy has been shown to cause extensive dental problems with prolonged use. This can include separated teeth, extreme overbite and tooth decay. Your baby will need to be watched carefully for any signs of these side effects.
While using a dummy to help your baby sleep is ultimately your choice, there are many other options you can try to use to soothe your baby.
You can try swaddling, cuddling, rocking and even soft music to soothe them instead of a dummy. Whichever method you decide to use, check out all the facts.
This way you will know what to look for and the consequences of using that method.
Which side are you on for this debate? We'd love to hear feedback from you!
Check out what our mums think about pacifiers here:
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