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19 May 2022

Me & You with Jennifer Griffiths: The great dummy debate . . .

Me & You with Jennifer Griffiths: The great dummy debate . . .

The great dummy debate . . .

Last week, I wrote about our children’s teeth and the impact giving a bottle (too much) can have.

So, still with our babies, toddlers and children’s smiles and their development in mind, the theme this week is all about the dummy!

This is often a very divided issue, most people either love them or loathe them. That is unless you are like me and don’t mind them a little, as long as it is only a little and they are not five-years-old and still walking round the shops with it.

So, here’s my thoughts (in no particular order), some points to think about, make you think is this right for my little one.

Have a think to yourself, talk to your partner, friend and mum - what do they think, do be honest, is the dummy the right choice, their choice, or is it your choice!

:: Shock, yes I said ‘your choice’ - I have seen parents give their child a dummy to make them be quiet, not to settle and soothe just because it makes their child quieter … are you guilty?

:: Soothe and calm, some babies do like the sucking sensation, it does calm them, after all if you are breast feeding that’s fine for a feed but YOU are not a dummy. 

:: If your toddler or child does not need the dummy at nursery, they don’t need it at home - it really is that simple!

:: Too much dummy can impact on developing teeth, make them protrude, stick out. Do you really want to plan for your child to need braces already?

:: A dummy can help a baby with colic, or reflux I don’t know why but it does!

:: Too much dummy does impact on speech development - try talking with your child’s dummy in - yes do! I did this with some parents a long time ago, they were amazed how hard it was, yes they did then wean their child off it.

:: Dummy (maybe with a comfort blanket too) can help your little one to settle to sleep, but once asleep, try to slip the dummy out - for most little people it will fall out naturally. Don’t force it back in - this will wake them up and make them ‘learn’ I NEED my dummy all the time - do you really want to be woken up every few hours just because it fell out?

:: A dummy for sleep, fair enough, but when your little one wakes put it away. If they are old enough to ask for it, they are older enough to learn dummy is for sleep not playtime. 

:: Sucking a dummy is not natural for every baby, not every baby wants a dummy and some babies do, but need to learn how to suck this. It’s harder for breast fed babies so do make sure your breast feeding is well established before you introduce the dummy. 

:: Advice from health visitors and speech and language therapists suggests that you should wean baby off the dummy by about 6- 12 months, as this stops them becoming too attached to it. 

:: A dummy can help a premature baby learn to suck. Please don’t use a dummy ‘chain / ribbon etc’ to hang the dummy on to your baby’s arm / hand / neck - think how easy it is for them to turn, trap themselves - strangulate themselves - scary!

:: Toddlers do chew their dummy, they can end up with holes in, bits missing - do check them every day, every time you give it to them, otherwise you are giving him a ‘chance to choke’ and no one wants to see their little one doing that.  

:: Yes, I accept the argument, ‘if they don’t have  a dummy they might suck their thumb or fingers’, but would reply, maybe use the dummy as your child starts this habit, then stop!

:: A four, five, six and seven year old does NOT need a dummy! (I would argue a three year doesn’t too!). Once they are old enough to reason with, accept explanations, then any arguments about the dummy YOU can win … with a bit of help from Father Christmas / Easter Bunny / Fairy at the end of the garden if need be. 

:: To me, the word ‘dummy’ reminds me of a clothes dummy, a mannequin in a shop window, something without a brain, something that cannot think. Surely, no one wants to think about their child like that, can we call them soothers instead? 

:: I had a look on line at some research, but do google this yourself and ask your health visitor or midwife too, that suggested using a dummy when putting a baby down to sleep could reduce the risk of sudden infant death. That’s a scary thought to me, it would make me think I am definitely using the dummy, that’s why I said do ask a professional their views and thoughts. 

:: Research suggests little ones who have a dummy may get more ear infections. 

:: What’s more beautiful your baby’s smile or a smile with a dummy? Please do not EVER dip the dummy into juice, your cup of tea - anything, this links directly to tooth decay!

:: As your little one gets older, think, if she spits the dummy out, she obviously doesn’t want it!

:: Toddlers and children are experts at hiding their dummy (and dummies!) everywhere, especially when they know it’s time to give it up!

Anyway, just as I made the choice for my son, you can make the choice for your son or daughter, no I’m not telling you what I did, well not in this article anyway.


Have a great week. xxx

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