Why I Changed My Mind About Dummies

Photo credit: eperales https://www.flickr.com/photos/eperales/2504967075

I hated dummies. I really did. I was determined that none of my kids would ever have one. I would never judge a parent for giving their child one, but I have to admit to doing a little inward shudder when I saw babies with one in their mouth, or a toddler running around sucking on them.

Not only did I think they looked awful, I was worried about the effect that they would have on speech development and getting them to give them up. I really did hate them.

Then Benjamin became ill, and everything changed.

On his first night in the High Dependency Unit in hospital, where he was being treated for severe jaundice and sepsis, he was on a drip to keep he hydrated and increase his sodium levels, so he wasn’t allowed a bottle. Three week old babies have the natural instinct to suck, whether on a bottle, a boob or a dummy. To calm him down, the nurses made him a makeshift dummy out of a disposable bottle teat stuffed with cotton wool (to stop him sucking in air). It instantly soothed him. The next day they found him a proper dummy – and he has had one ever since.


Now, whilst I would rather him not have one, I have realised that it is something he wants, and something that soothes him. It’s not the awful thing I thought it was. They are only babies for such a short time – if something makes them happy, let them have it. It can also give you a bit more peace at night! It also can apparently help reduce the risk of SIDS, which in my eyes can only be a good thing.

I still hate the look of it – I’ve got too many photos where he has one in his mouth, but now that he is almost eight months, we are very slowly trying to cut down on how often he has it. I try not to let him have it whilst he is having a crawl around or play, and when he hits twelve months, I’m hoping we can wean him off it apart from naps, nights and in the car.

I used to think (naively) sucking thumbs was better than dummies – for the simple reason that children can’t really play with a thumb in their mouth the same way they can with a dummy, but actually, that’s pretty daft. You can take a dummy away – you can’t take a thumb away. You sometimes see adults sucking their thumb but you never see teenagers sucking a dummy!

What are your thoughts on dummies?

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6 thoughts on “Why I Changed My Mind About Dummies”

  1. I’m the same as you, never thought I’d use one, but my older daughter was ill and it was the only thing that soothed her. Nowadays she only has it at nap time and bed time, hopefully soon she won’t even need it then!

  2. I don’t agree or disagree to be honest. Although, I do think some children that you see with them who are older don’t really need one. Nicholas had one from about 3 months when he started teething (as he liked to chew it more than suck it). He had it till he was about 18 months-2 years, we took it off him one day and he never even asked for it. Bradley on the other hand has never had one. He just didn’t want one when offered as a baby and we never tried again. Xx

  3. I learned very early on you have to do whats right for you and for us it was to use a dummy. Our girl had one right from the start but I only ever used it when she was poorly or when she needed to nap and was fighting it. Fast forward to 2.5 years old and she only ever has it as part of her bedtime routine, which is setting up a massive horrible task for us in a few months when we have decided to get rid of it #PoCoLo

  4. I was sooo anti-dummy. My oldest never had one and I think if I’m honest I was a bit judgemental, particularly if the toddler was older. But when my younger son had reflux and the only thing that helped him sleep without bringing up (too much) feed was the suck-swallow reflex a dummy encourages…well, I changed my tune. If I were to have another child, I would probably not think twice about using one again either, reflux or not. My youngest is a much better sleeper than his brother ever was, and I do think the dummy helped with that.


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