Should I give my child a dummy?
Choosing an appropriate dummy for your new born baby:
· Babies are born with a need to suck
· Sucking provided pleasure as well as nourishment
· Sucking represents the infants first means of self-quieting
· Babies suck their fists, fingers and can benefit from a dry nipple or a pacifier/dummy
· Careful consideration is needed when deciding whether to use a dummy and when
· A dummy can be useful with any infant who shows a tight suck or no tongue thrust
· If a baby is born pre -term (Premature) dummies can be particularly helpful especially if there are added medical complications.
Do not use a dummy if your baby spits it out
What you need to know about using a dummy:
· Some parents use a dummy as a plug to keep baby quiet. Extensive use can lead to
passive children who are only happy when their mouths are full however research
suggests there are no specific short term negative outcomes of using a dummy
· When teeth develop these can be pushed out of place. This may mean that the top
and bottom teeth may not meet properly and this may lead to some children
developing a lisp.
· Children may tend to breathe through their mouth rather than their nose. This may
cause increased dribbling leading to a sore mouth and chin.
· You may find that your child does not want to communicate preferring the comfort
of the dummy.
· With the mouth blocked, it becomes harder for them to communicate with adults
and other children i.e. chatting to you or other children during play. This may affect
the development of their social skills.
· A dummy is not a substitute for good parent child interaction
· Children often wake up at night looking for their dummy causing sleepless nights for
· Dummies often get dirty which may cause unwanted germs in the mouth.
· Using a dummy can affect speech sounds as follows:
Slushy sounding ‘S’ - when air escapes from the side of the mouth rather than the front.
Lisping - when an ‘s’ is said as a ‘th’, e.g sun -> thun. This is common in children who’s teeth do not
meet in the middle as the tongue tends to stick out instead of staying behind the teeth.
Backing - when some sounds are made at the back of the mouth instead of the front, e.g. using a ‘k’
instead of a ‘t’ e.g. tea -> key.
Using a dummy wisely
Speech and Language Therapists recommend that children over 12 months of age do not
use a dummy. If you choose to give your baby a dummy up to 12 months, try to only use it
at sleep times.
Top Tips to remember:
1. The dummy is not a plug.
2. Don’t automatically presume your child needs a dummy.
3. As the child gets older, try giving your child another comforter e.g. a teddy.
4. Don’t let a dummy become a habit that’s hard to break.
5. If your baby is using a dummy when they start to babble, take it out when they are trying to make these babbling sounds.