Dummy or not? That’s the dilemma! Opinions oscillate between two opposites: there are those who adore it because it seems to be the only way to reassure the child and those who demonise it because they consider it to be a vice and a risk for the health of the teeth.
During pregnancy, all parents wonder if they should buy a dummy for their baby, and often end up buying one because “you never know”. But how do you choose the best dummy? When can it be used? Is it harmful or does it have positive aspects? In this article, we answer the most frequently asked questions about dummies, distinguishing between commonplaces and true facts. We are sure that you will discover some interesting aspects and that, in the end, you will have a clearer opinion on the subject.
Is the baby dummy a vice?
Speaking of clichés, the idea that the dummy is a vice for the newborn is perhaps the most common. In reality, sucking is an innate movement for babies, so much so that they often suck on their little finger while still in the womb. Nature has predisposed our little ones to be ready to feed themselves, so sucking is an instinctive gesture, as well as a source of pleasure and consolation.
So, the dummy is not a vice in itself: it depends on how it is used. It can help you calm your baby in moments of agitation or while he is falling asleep. You should avoid offering it passively every time he cries: in these cases, try to understand the meaning of the cry and try to console him in another way. The important thing is that the newborn does not become dependent on the dummy, otherwise it will be difficult to take it away when the time comes.
Is a silicone or rubber dummy better?
The material of the dummy is one of the elements to consider when choosing the best dummy. On the market, you will mainly find dummies made of silicone and rubber, two substances that have some differences.
Silicone soothers can be sterilised without any problems, which makes them ideal for the first few months of a newborn’s life, but there is nothing to stop you using them later. Rubber, on the other hand, is a porous material and not very suitable for sterilisation. As a result, it can become contaminated with bacteria and fungi and absorb unpleasant flavours.
We therefore suggest that you prefer a silicone soother, especially – but not only – in the early stages of life.
Newborn dummy and safety: is it dangerous?
You may have wondered whether the dummy could be dangerous for the newborn. The answer is no, on the contrary: it seems to protect against sudden infant death syndrome.
The link is not yet clear, but it seems that sucking on the dummy lowers the arousal threshold, making it easier to resume breathing in the event of sleep apnea. Choose a dummy that is anti-suffocation, with ventilation holes in the outer hard shield, and you can let your little one use it in peace between the first and sixth months.
Is it true that dummies distort the teeth?
One thing we often hear – and which worries new parents – is that the dummy is responsible for the deformation of the dental arch and palate. In reality, this too is an unfounded cliché. It has now been proven that the new generation of dummies – anatomically designed and soft – do not cause this problem in the first two years of life.
It would be different if the baby sucked its thumb: the finger exerts strong pressure on the palate and its shape does not fit the shape of the mouth.
To avoid damaging your teeth, simply never dip your dummy in sugary substances, especially honey. As well as being dangerous for your newborn, it can also damage their teeth once they have come out.
When to offer a dummy to a newborn baby?
It is suggested that the dummy be given to the infant only once breastfeeding is well underway (usually towards the end of the first month). The reason for this is that the sucking motion of the dummy is different from sucking at the breast, so offering it too early may interfere with feeding.
The situation is different for babies born prematurely who, after being fed through a nasal-gastric tube, have to relearn how to suck. For them, the dummy is an excellent exercise in preparation for the bottle, not to mention the fact that sucking also has an analgesic effect and is very useful for very young babies who have to undergo painful medical procedures.
If you’re wondering when to take your child off the dummy, paediatricians say that after the age of one year, the benefits diminish and the disadvantages increase, so this is a good time to stop. Whatever you decide, it’s best not to go beyond the age of two, and consider that the more time passes, the more difficult it will be to get your child off the dummy.
How to store and sterilize the dummy?
The baby’s soother should be sterilised before it is used for the first time and then at least once a day, especially during the first six months of life. This can be done by boiling the dummy in water for 5 minutes or, if you choose the Koala Kiss example, by putting it in the microwave with the disinfectant cap filled with water, as explained in the video.
To keep it clean between uses, wash it with a neutral soap and rinse it thoroughly, then store it in a dry place protected from sun and heat.
Please note: for reasons of hygiene and safety, each dummy should be replaced after a few months (or sooner if it shows signs of deterioration and fragility).
The dummy dilemma: which one to choose?
Let’s get to the most important point: how do you choose the best dummy? Here are the features you should look for:
- Anatomical silicone teat;
- anti-suffocation features, such as side holes in the outer hard screen;
- drainage structure, such as internal grooves in the area under the mouth that allow saliva to slide off and reduce the risk of skin irritation;
- protective and sanitising cap, so you can sterilise the dummy on the go with the help of a microwave.
Our Koala Kiss dummy meets all these criteria and is available in two sizes (0-6 months and 6-18 months) and two colours (pink and blue). We are convinced that this little creation will be the ideal dummy for your newborn baby: try it yourself!