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Dummy, Dummy, To The Bin? When To Say Goodbye To Dummies

The controversial topic! In this guide, we will clearly lay out the following:

  • Benefits of dummies
  • When to stop using dummies
  • Tips for weaning your baby off dummies
  • Frequently asked questions about dummies

Benefits Of Dummies

Dummies can be a lifesaver for parents and babies. They can help soothe a fussy baby and provide comfort during times of stress. A 2016 study has shown that dummies can also reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). However, like all good things, they must come to an end eventually (keep reading for why…).

When To Stop Using Dummies

Experts recommend weaning your baby off dummies between six and twelve months of age. This is because prolonged dummy use can lead to dental problems, speech delays, and even ear infections. 

Prolonged dummy use can affect the development of your child’s teeth and jaw. When your child sucks on a dummy for extended periods, it can cause their front teeth to push forward and their bite to become misaligned (called an ‘anterior open bite’). This may result in the need for braces or other orthodontic treatment later in life.

Additionally, the use of a dummy for an extended period of time can lead to speech delays. This is because sucking on a dummy can affect your child’s ability to form certain sounds and words correctly, which can hinder their speech development.

Moreover, prolonged dummy use can increase the risk of ear infections. This is because sucking on a dummy can cause fluid to build up in the middle ear, which can lead to infections. This risk is especially high if your child is prone to ear infections.

It’s important to note that the negative effects of dummy use are generally only seen in children who use them for a prolonged period of time, such as past the age of 2 or 3.

We must also acknowledge that every child is different, so there’s no set age for when to stop using a dummy. You should trust your instincts as a parent and discuss the best approach with your paediatrician.

Tips For Weaning Your Baby Off Dummies

Weaning your baby off dummies can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips to make the process easier:

  • Gradual approach: Start by limiting dummy use to specific times, such as naptime or bedtime.
  • Cold turkey: If you prefer to go cold turkey, be prepared for a few tough days of crying and fussing.
  • Distraction: Offer alternative comfort measures, such as a favourite toy or blanket.
  • Praise: Praise your child for not using a dummy, and provide positive reinforcement for good behaviour.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dummies

Q: How can I clean my baby’s dummy?

A: Wash your baby’s dummy with soap and water, or sanitise it by boiling it for five minutes.

Q: How many dummies should I have on hand?

A: It’s a good idea to have a few dummies on hand, as they tend to get lost easily. 

Q: Can dummies cause ear infections?

A: Prolonged dummy use can lead to ear infections, as bacteria can build up on the dummy and be transferred to your baby’s ear. It’s important to clean your baby’s dummy regularly.

Q: What if my baby won’t give up their dummy?

A: Be patient and persistent, and keep trying different approaches. If you’re concerned about your baby’s dummy use, talk to your paediatrician.
So, don’t fret if your little one isn’t quite ready to say goodbye to their dummy yet. With a little patience and perseverance, you’ll both get through this milestone with flying colours. And who knows, maybe you can even turn that old dummy into a cool piece of baby jewellery.

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