Who are you calling Dummy?

The wonderfully, divisive dummy debate.

Pacifiers. Non-nutritive sucking.  Transition objects.  Dummies.  Whatever you call them, they have been extensively researched.

This is a perfect tits and teeth subject because it affects both so greatly.  As always, here are the facts to help you decide whether to use one at all and a few tips for weaning off:

The arguments for the use of comforters of the oral variety are:

  • There is evidence that is can reduce the incidence of SIDS
  • There is a suggestion that is encourages self-soothing
  • Easier to wean off than finger/thumb sucking
  • Shorter stays in hospital for preterm babies
  • analgesic (pain-relieving) effects when undergoing immunisations, heel pricks etc

Now the arguments against.  There are a lot of them so hold onto your pantaloons people, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

  • Evidence suggests that babies that use pacifiers don’t breastfeed for as long (no this doesn’t belong in advantages)
  • Evidence suggests that babies that use pacifiers may have feeding cues missed which can lead to a lower milk supply (in boobs, not in the fridge) and slower weight gain
  • Evidence suggests exclusive breastfeeding reduces the chance of SIDS by 50% and possibly higher so may even negate the use of a pacifier altogether
  • Evidence suggests a baby using a pacifier has exactly the same sleep-wake patterns as a baby that doesn’t use a pacifier
  • Don’t have the worry of weaning off unless they start finger/thumb sucking in which case amputation of thumbs or fingers is advised with no ill effect to dexterity.  (Clearly a joke.  Do not attempt to remove your child’s digits or you will almost probably be imprisoned.)
  • Evidence suggests that pacifiers and bottle feeding leads to abnormal development of the muscles, palate and teeth – weaker muscles can lead to speech issues; narrowing of the palate and wrong alignment of the teeth can cause openbites or what is affectionately termed as ‘goofers’.
  • Hicklety picklety teeth (also very technical terminology) and openbites (where the teeth don’t close together properly) can lead to lip incompetence (where the lips don’t close together properly) which in turn can make the mouth dryer and more prone to decay and gum disease.
  • Use of pacifiers beyond the age of 3 has an increasingly harmful effect on the developing teeth and beyond the age of 5, it’s impossible to tell if they will even still be human.
  • There is evidence that pacifier use is strongly linked to ear infections
  • There is evidence that pacifier use increases the risk of tooth decay due to bacterial colonisation (they’re just shitting all over the place)
  • There is evidence that pacifier use is linked with more frequent cases of diarrhoea (the bacteria again).
  • There have been cases of asphyxiation when teats become detached – not going into this any more, enough said already.

Now that your fountain of generic mothering guilt has reached Bellagio heights, before you start reaching for the birch leaves to thrash yourself with, let’s look at ways to wean off.

You could say the dummy monster has eaten it and if they cry then the monster will eat them too.  A bit harsh?  Ok, a couple of good ideas I’ve seen are the ‘giving away’ ideas (creative lying I call it).  This can be that on a given day, that the child has been pre-prepared for, the dummies are taken to be donated to other babies.  I quite like the idea of taking them to a local hospital and donating them to new babies and then take them out for a reward for their good deed.  The other ‘creative lying’ method I quite like the sound of is getting a local toy shop to except dummies as currency.  Clearly, you have to pay with real money beforehand.  A poundshop would be good as everything is the same price (obviously), which makes it simpler.

Then it’s just the small matter of getting them to sleep without it – like a hit and run, this is where I abandon you and wish you luck.  *Repeats mantra* “Short term pain, long term gain…short term pain, long term gain…short term pain, long term gain.”  Let me know how it goes….

7 thoughts on “Who are you calling Dummy?

  1. loved this post. My kids could have been picked up by their “soothers” or pacifiers so hard did they suck. But it made them happy so I didn’t care!!! They are all grown up now appear normal and do not suck their thumbs. What is the problem?

  2. just off to lie in a darken room for a bit……
    I will take the teeth deformity on the chin, fuck it, he is three now anyway may as well hold out for the monster turning at 5 😉
    -i had one boy without a dummy,then one without- they were both porkers so we obvs escaped the slow weight gain
    -dummy boy never slept,ever, non dummy boy did from 9months
    -dummy boy did have ear infections, but hey 20 b&h can increase the risk of that and i held off them!
    -dummy boy and non dummy boy both self weaned at 9months when i went back to work
    i do worry about his teeth,(mostly how much correcting them is going to cost me) and since he didnt sleep anyway i am not sure what we gainned from a dummy?would i use one again?common sense says no but………….i am not sure if i am honest!!

    1. It’ll be an informed choice! That’s all that matters! *Slinks off muttering something about ignorance being bliss…*

  3. Well, I tried to give my first a dummy he refused! Since low weight gain with him I avoided a dummy with my second who has self soothed or soothed on the breast! So my thoughts are if he wants to suck he prob hungry so sucks me! I heard its the sucking that reduces SIDS not just dummy use so a bf baby is most likely to decrease their risk, I think being a mummy is hard ,sleep is precious do whatever to get you through and get u and the child sleep! Including driving your child to sleep in the day which I did for 2years!!!

    1. Yes, apparently the sucking keeps the baby in a lighter sleep pattern reducing the risk of SIDS, which boobs will do as well but then other research implied that with or without something to suck, babies will have a very disturbed sleep pattern (as we all well know!) so I’m going to look into any links between artificial milk and deeper sleep patterns? Might increase risk??

  4. My mom was very sparse in her baby rearing advice, but the one thing she would loudly state her opinion about was ” no pacifiers”! I was very pro breast feeding, and so I did not want any nipple confusion early on for fear that the BF might fail. ( in the US! I hate how many woman are taught that BF is hard, many will fail, and postpartum units still offer formula at a drop of a hat but don’t offer lactation consults automatically ). Anyway, no binkies at first. After watching family and friends with slightly older kids, we decided We did not want to be servants to a piece of plastic that was spit out every five minutes, requiring someone to drop on all fours in search of it, then have to wash it if it landed in the dog pile. We co slept with our oldest, and quickly I learned to nurse while sleeping. (And daddy learned to burp and change diapers while sleeping). Eventually little man started sucking his thumb so he self soothed that way, and I smugly reported to all our sucess. Then at about 4 months he learned to rub our elbows as he fell asleep, something that was so sweet and loving . At bed time we would all jump in , I would nurse him then one of us would present elbows for rubbing. All night we would cycle through our pattern. In fact we were so well trained to our sons needs he rarely had to clear his throat before we were serving up his desire. (Hubris found me and my self satisfaction).
    At about 5 months, friends with older babies were starting to transition from bassinets to cribs, discussing whether to Ferberize (sic) or if that was cruel. I had no doubt, no child of mine would ever sleep alone unless they wanted to, and never would I allow my baby to cry so that he would learn not to count on me or my mate to come when called. Our second son was born 2.5 years later, and we did have to buy a side extension so that the baby could nurse and sleep with me without forcing our older son to move , fearing any forced change in sleeping habits could be a source of negative feelings between brothers (primarily not wanting our two year old to feel replaced). It all went well and baby #2 actually started sleeping in his crib in his own room at 6months. I had returned to work after #2 was 2 months old, so he was started on pumped Breast milk in bottles and napping alone before he was old enough to think about it. So once he stopped nursing in the middle of the night, he happily took to sleeping in his crib for napping and for bedtime. And this is were the plan failed us. We now had a three year old child who had slept everynight in our bed, actual trained him to need both of us to be in bed to provide elbows, and had cried so little that anytime he cried it was upsetting to child and parents. At 4 years old ,it was time for school. Well, school meant school nights which meant earlier bed times. Suddenly, I was a 35 year old woman with a mandatory bedtime of 7:30pm, ending any social life . Hubby and I would flip flop over whether it was time N. moved to the “boy’s room”. Then I became very ill. My sweet son was traumatized as he watched me wheeled out 911. So when I was discharged home, N needed the safety of his bed routine. For 4 more years life prevented a move. In 2011 my sweet baby was able to move , and my boys are finally together.

    What I really need however is an easy , non medicine based program, which does not require strict fluid restriction after 4 pm, where the parents don’t have to set multiple alarms to wake the kids up several times during the night to pee, nor electrodes inserted into penile urethra in our quest to end enuresis (both boys are bedwetters, and it has some minor negative consequences). Reluctant to sleep offer at friends houses, or overnight camp. Teasing when a trusted friend blabs your secret, even good friends are 10-13 year old boys. Having to sleep on a futon mattress that has been soaked with not just your own urine but your brothers urine nightly for years. And I’m not buying a new mattress until we have 8/10 dry nights. Any serious advice is desperately wanted. Thanks for the ramble

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