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Should I give my baby a dummy?

should i give my child a dummy

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Along with all the other myriad of topics parents frequently have to worry about is the should i give my baby a dummy quandary, or pacifiers if you prefer, remains a debate which divides parents and experts alike. The moment you become a parent it you seem to enter into a world where morals, ethics and guilt are thrown at you in an endless tirade of advice from the media, friends, parents and your own doubting self. But what’s the problem with dummies?

Through the media’s eyes at least, Parenting is split into two definite camps: those who are adamant that anything synthetic, unnatural or presented in a plastic wrapped container is to be avoided at all costs. Then there is the other camp: parents who want to get some sleep.

Quick – find the dummy!

Facetiousness aside, parents are right to worry about what their children are placing in their mouths, but with such stringent safety guidelines, dummies are required to be made of safe, tested materials (rubber, silicone and latex) and to have a mouth shield attached to prevent the risk of choking. Dummies are so effective because they mimic the mother’s breast which, when suckled, not only feeds the infant, obviously, but can soothe the child to sleep.

Studies have also shown that dummies can lessen the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

So Why the Fuss?

Mothers who feed their babies on demand will not only be aware of the soothing effect breastfeeding has on their child, but also of the importance of ensuring their infant is breastfed until they are full. An obvious indicator of hunger is a baby’s cries and dummies can sometimes present the risk of becoming a replacement for the breast, with the child being soothed, but not fed. In this case it may be wiser to wait until your child is weaned before introducing a dummy which may in fact be unnecessary, as once a child no longer needs to be breastfed they may have learned other ways of soothing themselves. If your child is bottle-fed or has been breastfed to a schedule for at least six weeks, then this need not be a worry, as you will be assured your child is feeding at the relevant times and the dummy is merely serving as a pacifier.

shoulkd i give my child a dummy

Health issues

A popular cause for concern is the belief that dummies cause dental abnormalities due to the shape of the pacifier and the sucking action. Contemporary dummy designs have evolved from the bulbous shaped tips to flatter alternatives, which imitate the shape of the nipple. There are even products available that are endorsed by orthodontists, which should certainly be enough to allay parents’ fears of raising buck-toothed children.

There are concerns that long-term use of dummies can affect the shape of a child’s mouth, as prolonged use of a dummy has been shown to result in an overbite or crossbite, which means the upper and lower set of teeth do not meet when the mouth is closed.

As your child develops, restricted use of a dummy is advised as it can interfere with their ability to communicate. A toddler will be less inclined to speak when a dummy is in their mouth so if you do decide to use a pacifier, perhaps plan carefully when you intend to stop your child having access to one. This can sometimes be the most difficult aspect of the entire process!
















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About Denise Morgan

About Denise Morgan

Denise has five years' experience writing for various web-based companies. During this time she has also contributed to magazine articles and brochures. In addition to writing, Denise is a gigging singer/songwriter and is proud to have featured on the first series of BBC One's The Voice UK, having been selected by the great Sir Tom Jones. Denise is mother to the most talented and ridiculously intelligent two year old that has ever been and ever will be (until she creates another one that is). This kind of hyperbole is restricted only to her progeny and is not a reflection of her usual writing styles... Denise and her son live in Manchester along with their five cats - yes that's right, five.

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