That is the question!
Many new parents ask me what I think of Dummies. They ask with this hopeful (and simultaneously guilty) look in their eye.
Any person who has had an extremely distressed child screaming in their arms, car or just within earshot, who magically stops as soon as the plug is inserted knows the mystical powers of The Dummy. But is it going to be good for you and your baby in the long term?
I believe that dummies are a powerful tool when used correctly. When used incorrectly however, they are a downright pain for you and your baby.
When trying to stretch out feeds or extend time between sleeps, dummies can ease the process for everyone. Sometimes when implementing routines for the first time or updating a model your child has grown through they will be tired or hungry and you will need to hold them off until it’s the best time for them to sleep. (You know that witching hour from 6-7 where you find yourself poking your baby to keep him awake until bedtime? Dummies make that much quieter.)
Now, for the important part. If you choose to use a dummy NEVER LET YOUR BABY GO TO SLEEP WITH IT IN THEIR MOUTH.
Yes, I just yelled that at you. It is a very easy trap to fall into, and a very big deal to undo.
What happens if you let your baby fall asleep with a dummy?
- They expect it to be popped back in every time they stir (somewhere between every 45 minutes and 3 hours… All night).
- They don’t achieve proper deep sleep because their intermittent sucking wakes them up.
- They learn to speak slower as they don’t happily babble themselves to sleep.
- They associate sucking with sleeping. Not eating. (This often leads to under feeding and grazing).
- Their mouth grows around the plug and they can get crooked teeth and lispy.
- Their digestion is turned on, much like when we chew gum, ready to receive milk, but none comes.
- Sucking while lying flat can cause fluid to go into the ears and cause ear infections and other yukky stuff. This is especially important with bottle feeding, but I have heard of dummies causing the same issue.
So choose wisely my friend. Too much magic turns out to be a curse.