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    Home ›› Newborns and dummies: A guide to using a dummy safely

    Home ›› Newborns and dummies: A guide to using a dummy safely

    Newborns and dummies: A guide to using a dummy safely


    Reading time: 7 mins


    It’s the question that’s on every new parent’s lips: ‘are dummies bad?’. From your neighbour to your doctor, and from your mum to your favourite blog, you’ve probably heard countless opinions on using a dummy. That’s why it’s time to cut through the noise and answer the important questions.


    You know better than anyone what’s right for your baby. In this article we’ll help equip you with all the essential facts about the use of a dummy for a baby including:


    • What is a soother?
    • Does using a dummy help?
    • Can you give a newborn a dummy?
    • Are dummies bad?


    So, with answers to questions like, ‘can a baby sleep with a dummy’ to exploring the various dummies pros and cons, read on so we can help you make an informed choice when it comes to newborn dummy use.

    What is a soother?


    Let’s go back to basics: what is a dummy? Here are a few facts to help you understand what a dummy is before we explore newborn dummy use.


    • A dummy is usually a silicone nipple given to an infant or young child to suck upon.
    • The standard dummy has a nipple, a mouth shield, and a handle.
    • The mouth shield and handle are there to prevent the child from choking or swallowing it.


    Now you know what it is, why is using a dummy so common? There are three key points to be aware of when it comes to newborn dummy use:


    1. A dummy’s primary purpose comes down to the fact that newborns are born with an instinct to suck.
    2. Whether they are bored, tired, or needing comfort, this sucking instinct is separate from their need to eat.
    3. Some babies prefer to suck on their thumbs or fingers, and others prefer dummies.

    Newborns and dummies: How dummies affect your baby


    A dummy provides a very calming, soothing effect on your baby. Below are some reasons behind newborn dummy use:


    • Help your baby fall asleep.
    • Calm your frightened baby.
    • Aid in digestion.


    As you can see, these reasons all have one commonality: they keep your baby calm by satisfying their innate need to suckle.

    Dummies: pros and cons


    Whether you choose to give your baby a pacifier or to suck on one of his or her fingers, let’s have a look at what do soothers do , and of course, dummy’s pros and cons.

    Benefits of the use of a dummy for your baby

    If you’re thinking about using a dummy, there are several benefits. Here are some of the most common reasons parents choose to opt for newborn dummy use:

    1. Satisfies the suck reflex.

    The first benefit of a dummy is that it meets a baby’s need to suckle. While the breast or bottle can usually satisfy this need, dummies can help to soothe your baby in-between feeding sessions. However, keep in mind that dummies are not to be used as a replacement or to delay mealtimes.

    2. Encourages baby to self-soothe.

    Another benefit of using a dummy is that it can encourage your baby to self-soothe when he or she is crying or upset.

    3. Soothes your baby during painful procedures.

    If your baby is due for a vaccination or for blood to be drawn, a dummy is great way to reduce the pain and keep your baby calm at the doctor’s office.

    4. Helps baby fall asleep.

    Parents often ask, ‘can a baby sleep with a dummy?’. The dummy can be used when helping your baby to fall asleep, right before nap time, or after a feed; most babies find sucking soothing. Stay close to your baby while the dummy works its magic.


    5. You can monitor your newborn’s dummy use.

    Unlike thumb sucking, you can monitor when your baby uses a dummy. This gives you the ability to limit use or take it away at your disposal. It also makes breaking the habit easier when the time comes.


    Tip: If your baby is going to use a dummy, you will want to ensure that it is the right dummy. Explore the different options available and make sure you adapt them to your baby’s development.

    Cons of giving a newborn a dummy

    Like most things in life, there are some potential downsides of using a dummy. Here are some reasons why you might opt against giving a newborn a dummy:

    1. Nipple confusion.

    While ‘nipple confusion’ is a concern for many parents, there is no real scientific evidence that supports this. It is however recommended that you wait until your baby is breastfeeding well before offering a dummy, which is usually around three to four weeks of age.

    2. Easily dropped.

    Dummies tend to be easily dropped or spit out onto the floor, which calls for proper cleaning before putting back into your newborn’s mouth. If you do decide to use a dummy, make sure that you are armed with the proper cleaning equipment while on the go.

    3. Limited supply.

    What do you get when a newborn is accustomed to her dummy and loses it? A not so happy newborn. If you are going to rely on dummies to meet your baby’s sucking needs, ensure that you travel with a backup supply if your baby loses it.

    4. Problems with your child’s teeth.

    Perhaps one of the most common concerns among new mothers contemplating using a dummy or not is their effect on your baby’s teeth. It is true that improper or prolonged use of a dummy can lead to dental problems1 including teeth alignment issues. Ensure that you choose a dummy designed to help healthy oral development, like Philips Avent Soothers which are all orthodontic and BPA-free.

    What you need

    Newborns and dummies: what’s the verdict?


    So, are pacifiers good or are pacifiers bad? There are many parents who choose to use them, as they do boast plenty of advantages. If you have decided to use a dummy for your child, you’ll want to ensure that it’s the right dummy. Explore the different options available and make sure you adapt them for your baby’s development. And once you’ve chosen the perfect one (or two or three!), learn how and when to introduce a pacifier to your baby – properly.

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