Whether or not you decide to give a dummy (pacifier or soother) to your baby is a matter of personal choice. There’s no right or wrong answer. Some parents swear by dummies, and they can help soothe a crying baby. Other parents detest them.

Positives of dummies for babies

  • Dummies work a treat for most babies. You can calm an unsettled baby pretty quickly with one of these bad boys.
  • You can use them tactically. For example, as soon as you’ve laid your little bundle down for bed (if you know they’re about to cry) then slip them the dummy at just the perfect moment and they can settle in the cot for the night (hopefully).
  • It’s arguably cleaner than sucking a thumb.
  • When it’s time to stop using a dummy, you can take it away (that can’t be said for a baby’s thumb!).

Cons of giving your baby a dummy

  • Babies drop dummies… all the time.
  • Dummies need cleaning – it’s another thing to go into the steriliser.
  • Dummies cost money. The thumb is free!
  • There’s a school of thought that dummies might slow down a baby’s speech development and also affect their teeth.
  • You can lose them… and there’s nothing more stressful than fidgeting through the baby bag for a dummy whilst you’re little one is screaming their head off.
  • Even worse… you can forget them! The dummy, not the baby.

If you decide to give your baby a dummy, use it tactically.

To help you decide if a dummy is right for you and your baby, there are a few more things to consider

  • If you decide that you want to give your baby a dummy (and most importantly, if your baby decides that they want to use the dummy) then it’s worth buying 4-7 identical dummies, so you always have sterilised ones in reserve and that all lids fit all dummies.
  • You will need to sterilise dummies just as you sterilise baby bottles.
  • Consider tapering how often you give your baby a dummy, so that your baby doesn’t come to rely on the dummy throughout the day. If you want the dummy to be effective at relaxing your baby (or sending your baby to sleep) then it isn’t wise to let them have the dummy throughout waking hours.
  • Tapering how frequently your baby uses a dummy also lowers the risk of the dummy affecting your babies speech or teeth. If there’s no dummy in their mouth, then they can natter away until the cows come home.
  • Latex, Silicone or Orthodontic? Latex and rubber dummies are meant to be softer and more flexible than silicone dummies but they don’t last as long. Silicone dummies are potentially more hygienic. Orthodontic dummies are the third option and are shaped to encourage a baby to suck in a similar way to when they’re being breastfed. Orthodontic dummies are also meant to be less likely to affect tooth development.
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