To Dummy, or not to Dummy: Are dummies okay for bub’s health?
Opting for the use a dummy – or pacifier – for your baby is a personal choice, but seeing every other baby with a pacifier makes you sit back and think about the reasons behind such choices. To help you make your decision, whether or not to spit the dummy, we’ve pulled together some pros and cons for using a pacifier.
Pros of using a dummy
Pros #1: Helps soothe your baby
Newborns cry! Typically, they just cry they become settled and start following a proper routine. As the name ‘pacifier’ suggests, a dummy can help you placate a crying baby almost immediately, unless your baby has a health issue or a serious discomfort. Many people use dummies to help babies sleep well and keep them calm while parents are busy, such as when they’re shopping or in the middle of a gathering.
Babies become focused in the sucking motion of the dummy, and they enjoy doing it as its shape is very similar to a breast nipple. Mostly babies fall asleep while doing this calming action. It’s sort of like baby exercise, which tires them out until they fall fast asleep.
Pros #2: Helps reduce risk of SIDs in infants
When you give your bub a dummy to soothe them, they keep sucking on it. This continuous movement helps them to breath normally, as it keeps the jaw in a constant state of action, which further opens the nasal passage. As their mouth is not completely closed, there’s a very little chance they would stop breathing, as oxygen can easily pass in and out through their mouth by the sides of the dummy. Once your baby falls asleep during the day or night, if the dummy falls out, there is no need to put it back in baby’s mouth.
Pros #3: Helps encourage breastfeeding
Babies enjoy the sucking reflex they get from a dummy. However, many people perceive that a dummy reduces baby’s need for breastfeeding. According to many recent studies, a dummy cannot fulfil a baby’s need to suck; rather, it creates the need for breastfeeding in them, making them desire it more.
Cons of using a dummy
Cons #1: Increases risk of getting infections
Babies have a very sensitive immunity system, as it’s still developing. It makes babies highly susceptible to catching infections and diseases. Babies under age of three are particularly at high-risk of catching ear infections, which can be very painful. There can be several reasons behind this, and the use of a dummy is one of them.Fluid gets trapped in middle ear due to pressure changes caused by a dummy.This fluid can then develop into an ear infection in baby’s ear.Parents need to consider whether a dummy is providing benefits, or is harmful to their baby.
Cons #2: Hindering breastfeeding
Although scientific research suggests that dummies boost breastfeeding in babies, it can also hinder breastfeeding if dummy-use is started before you start nursing. According to experienced mothers, the right way is to first establish a breastfeeding routine until your baby is around a year old. By this time, your baby would become accustomed to the breast; bub will then be able to distinguish between the two.
Cons #3: Teething issues
On one hand,a dummy can help soothe your baby; on the other hand, your baby can start developing dental issues if they have started growing teeth and is still using their dummy.It has been observed many times that babies who use a dummy face an issue with teeth alignment. Therefore,it’s best to regulate when and how often you allow your baby to use a dummy, as using it for a long period of time may have a negative effect in the long term. Read more on teething symptoms, health issues and soothing here.
Cons #4: Dummy addiction
Using a dummy all the time may eventually lead to an addiction to it. Addiction in any case is never a positive. Babies are unable to sleep well,or settle easily if they lose their pacifier in the middle of the night. They get up and start looking for it, and if not found within seconds, they start crying loudly.
It becomes very much difficult to soothe your baby without a pacifier –and you’ll find it very difficult to help bub give up their dummy-addiction at a later stage.
Cons #5: Dummy germs
Babies keep playing with and dropping their dummies everywhere. We cannot control the actions of such little babies. Moreover, using it all the time for long hours makes it very susceptible to picking up germs and bacteria, as well as fungi.
You need to be very cautious and wash it often. Stay alert and never let them use an unclean pacifier. Wash it properly to remove all traces of germs. It can become very hectic for you to do this extra task in your busy routine, so protecting their baby from the germs of a dummy becomes a point of concern for a lot of parents.
You may find it more convenient to wash your dummies in the dishwasher.
You can use zip-lock bags to store your baby’s dummy in the refrigerator. If your budget allows, you can quickly replace a used or dropped pacifier with a new one.
Try to quit the use of a dummy before your child gets permanent teeth, as it can damage their teeth for life – which can end up costing you more in dental and orthodontics fees.
Dummies can be dangerous for your baby if you hang it on a cord or necklace, as your baby can get strangled with it. Getting the right size and correctly-shaped dummy is also important for your baby, as it helps bub to hold it properly.