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Should I give my baby a dummy?

Just because your mother-in-law never gave a dummy to any of her babies doesn’t mean you have to follow the same path… no matter what she says. Likewise, if all the other mums in your mothers group are comparing dummies, there is no obligation on you to give your baby a dummy to join the conversation! Like with everything to do with parenting, the choice is totally up to you… and your baby. There is no right or wrong answer.

What are the pros and cons of dummies?

Weighing up the pros and cons of dummies will help make the decision much easier. Here are a few of the key pros and cons to consider:

Pros

  • A newborn dummy can help soothe your baby as they learn to self-settle. The sucking motion is very comforting for babies so it can help them to settle, stay calm and sleep - that’s the ultimate pro for any sleep deprived new parent
  • It’s much easier to remove a dummy down the track than it is a thumb if that’s what your child chooses to suck on - even if weaning the dummy is challenging, you can’t give a thumb to the “fairies” like you can with a dummy
  • Dummies have been proven to reduce the risk of SIDS - but always make sure you are following safe sleep practices and never use a dummy clip or other dummy attachment while baby is sleeping - strings and cords can be very dangerous for babies
  • For preemie babies, dummy use can help them hone their sucking reflex, which in turn helps them establish feeding

Cons

  • Very early dummy use can cause nipple confusion if you are breastfeeding
  • Babies can develop a reliance on their dummies or weaning them off their dummy can be challenging
  • Long-term dummy use for extended periods without a break can lead to an increase in middle ear infections
  • It may disrupt your sleep more if baby regularly wakes to have their dummy put back in

When to introduce newborn dummies?

When you introduce a dummy to your newborn will depend on a few different factors.

If you are breastfeeding, it is usually advised that you wait at least four weeks until feeding is established. Introducing a dummy too early can lead to nipple confusion which can make settling into a good breastfeeding routine a bit trickier.

If you aren’t breastfeeding, you can give a dummy to your baby straight away from birth. Jollypop dummies are the #1 hospital dummy used in Australian hospitals so if you are unsure about when to introduce the dummy to your baby you can ask your doctor or midwife.

For premature babies, preemie dummies are often introduced earlier as they can help baby to learn the sucking reflex which will assist with establishing breastfeeding.

Gut instinct can also play a role in when to introduce a dummy. As you get to know your baby, you will learn their cues and what they need.

Should I give my baby a dummy?

The best tip we can give is to be open-minded. Don’t make a decision until you need to. Be open to the idea of giving your baby a dummy, just as you should be open to the idea that they may not want one.

Your baby may not take to a dummy and simply be happy with lots of cuddles. For others, when you slide a newborn dummy into their mouth, it’s like it was always meant to be there. Your baby may not immediately take to the dummy either. It might take a few tries before they get the hang of it and will happily suck away.

So it’s up to you, the choice is yours. We might be biased but we think there is nothing sweeter than a little baby sucking peacefully on their dummy as they sleep!

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