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Dummies - yes or no?

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#1 Serenity Now

Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:25 PM

My 3wk old DS generally has a couple of unsettled periods each day.  He will occasionally settle in the sling or pram or swing, or if being walked around by DH (but not by me).  The most successful way to settle him is to give him a finger to suck on - I would be more than happy for him to comfort suck on the breast but he is not interested.  Breastfeeding seems to be well established, he is gaining weight well, and seems otherwise alert and content.  DH is keen to give him a dummy but I am reluctant to go down that path as I have heard too many horror stories about needing to get up a thousand times a night to replace dummies, and difficulties with weaning off the dummy.  I am aware of the effects on dentition and speech, and if we did try a dummy I would want to use it only for settling but I'm unsure how realistic that is.

Can you please share your experiences with dummies?  Do the pros outweigh the cons?  Any suggestions about how best to use them?

#2 Mumof32b!

Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:33 PM

Hi just from my experiences:

DS1 not BF and used a dummy from about 3 weeks but only until he discovered his fingers.

DS2 not BF either he used one until I eventually weaned it off him at 2.5, after about 1 he only used it in the cot to sleep.

DS3 now 1 and exclusively BF, still feeding actually has used one since he was about 2 weeks old and still has one to go to sleep.  For me with 2 older children to tend to I simply didnlt have the time to sit with him for hours on end so it was great for us.  Now when he wakes up he leaves it with his favourite teddy in his cot and never asks or needs one outside that environment.

I say if you are happy BF is established then give it a try but resist temptation to make it the first thing you give him if he is only slightly unsettled if you know what I mean.  You never know he might not actually take to one like my eldest.

Good luck, oh we used Happy Baby, cheap and cheerful in packs of 3 from Big W.

#3 elizabethany

Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:35 PM

I introduced a dummy at 8 weeks, just so I could get my hand back.  We used it for settling only, and took back the dummy if DS wasn't going to sleep.  We got rid of it cold turkey at 20 months, but changed a couple of sleep routines at the same time (including moving to a single bed) and didn't have any problems.

In short, it worked really well for us, but we had to be strict on "dummies are for bedtime only".

#4 Tesseract

Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:42 PM

You're going to get so many different answers to this question. None of them right or wrong, just different people's experiences.

For us DD wasn't interested in comfort sucking or cluster feeding until about 6 weeks. But when she did finally understand that the breast was her best source of comfort it was actually fantastic. She would cluster feed for a few hours during the unsettled period of the evening and this would keep her happy. It would also mean she got heaps the really fatty milk and would then sleep a good stretch! It was also fabulous for my supply. I would be concerned that with a dummy you might bypass this opportunity.

Anyway I did end up using a dummy from about 12 weeks (I was seeing a lactation consultant and she recommended holding off until then because they need to do a lot of sucking to fully bring your supply in). It was great, for about a month. Then it got to the point where she wouldn't be without it - in the car, in the pram, in the sling, I had dummies coming out of my ears! And I've also read that they're quite unhygenic. Then the 4 month sleep regression hit - the night I had to put her dummy back in her mouth 12 times I decided it had to go!

So going on my experience I won't be using a dummy for the next bub. I'm not knocking dummies (others will come in and say they're great) but they were a problem for us.

The other thing to remember is that many newborns have an unsettled time each day and that this is normal. Sucking on a finger also has the added comfort of the fact that it is flesh and attached to a caring adult - a dummy doesn't have this so you might find it not as effective while at the same time creating a problematic dependency.

#5 PurpleNess

Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:42 PM

DS is 14 months & was a FF baby, he had his first dummy around 6 weeks after some pressure form my DH ( I was very anti dummy). It really helped him settle & I used it all the time in the car & cot.
Now his dummy stays in the cot ONLY , along with his comfort bear. He knows when he's getting up that he says bye bye to Dumby & Bear & leaves them in his cot till next sleep, no issues. It's up to you to control the use of the dummy & use how you see fit.

#6 Princess.cranky.pants

Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:44 PM

Yes, yes! All 3 of mine have had them and we would never have survived without dummies! They did not cause any problems, no speech issues. A god send for a baby who loved to suck for comfort. Comfort sucking on the breast didn't work for us. Do it. Dummies are not that bad!

#7 Bluenomi

Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:55 PM

It depends on the child. DD never liked them so while we tried a few times, she refused them so we gave up. Other parents credit what sanity they have left to dummies.

Give it a try and see what happens.

#8 Soontobegran

Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:00 PM

I don't recommend them being introduced to a baby who hasn't quite got the breast feeding sorted but at 3 weeks if you feel your baby is sucking well then I say go for it..no harm in trying.
I have had 3 with and 2 without, the 2 without had the worst dental/orthodontic issues because they sucked thumbs and fingers and did so long after the dummies were gone from the others.

Dummies are not the devil but I do think as the child gets older and more able to communicate with you then there need to be rules brought in as to how often and where they are used.

#9 mumma_ox

Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:01 PM

We tried a dummy at about 3 weeks with our BF daughter.  No problems until she decided it was a great toy to "talk" to when she was going to sleep from around 5 months.  So we got rid of it entirely.  It worked for us at the time - but I would certainly have preferred not to have to use one...

#10 ~kacee~

Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:04 PM

With DD we gave her one while still in hospital (didn't know otherwise at the time!) and she was very happy with it (breastfed until 14 months, so didn't interfere). She finally gave it up at 3 (bit of a battle, but at 3 you can reason with them!). We had "rules" with her that she only got it at sleep times, and she never asked for it other times. At around 5 through to 8 months her sleeping was terrible, and I do think the dummy (having to replace it) was a big cause (but not the only - also had supply issues) of that, but from 8 months she could pop one in herself (we'd put about 5 in her cot!), and was STTN consistently from 10 months.

With DS we tried so hard not to give him one, just so that we wouldn't go through the sleeping issues DD had. But, he was such a sucky baby, always wanting the boob or a finger. Finally, we decided there is no difference between a finger and a dummy, and gave in at around 4 -5 weeks. Best decision! He has never had any sleeping issues with it, has been sleeping through the night from 6 months, and it's great on occasions when they are tired and crying and need comfort (think car trips or out in public).

I think dummies can unfairly be given a bad rap, and I'm grateful DS takes one! I've heard of babies after 5 - 6 weeks not taking them, and parents wishing they'd given them one.

Oh, and we've always given cherry shaped ones.

#11 Futureself

Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:05 PM

We caved and gave DS a dummy at about 3 weeks as he just wanted to suck, suck suck to sleep. From the first day though it was only for bed sleeping to take the edge off and settle him when he really needed to sleep. I always prioritised BF him in those first few months as was worried about accidentally 'replacing' a feed with it.
For the first week or two, we did have to get up to replace it if he was fretful and it fell out before he was truly asleep so that was painful but then we found that he would mostly spit it out just before or just after falling asleep and was fine not to have it in. At 5 months I'm now finding he sometimes spits out out whilst settling in our arms before he even goes into bed so I think (hope?) he may be weaning himself off it.

#12 ubermum

Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:08 PM

My first baby loved the dummy. We ditched it cold turkey at 18moths when it became a problem. It took 3 unsettled nights to get over. She never breastfed well from the start and was bottlefed EBM.

No 2 loved her thumb from the start and we still occasionally have issues with that at 5yo. She breastfed until 3 years.

No.3 not interested in the dummy despite being offered it multiple times. No fingers, thumbs or other sucking things either. Still breastfeeding.

#13 tres-chic

Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:09 PM

Two of my three had them (DD 2 still does).

I'm pro-dummy. My kids were not great sleepers/settlers (or I wasn't good at it!) so it helped and if its comforting for them I say why not.

We do try and limit it to just sleeping (and some long car trips).

#14 SeaPrincess

Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:10 PM

Totally your choice. Our experience was that 2 of the children would not take a dummy (nor did they suck their thumbs or fingers).  The middle one loved it so much he woke up if it fell out so I got rid of it within a couple of weeks.

If you're disciplined about its use (ie only for comfort/bedtime or whatever you decide), I don't think it's a problem.

#15 IVL

Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:16 PM

We introduced one to our second DD who was quite "orally fixated". We used it when needed, after feeding etc had been offered but there was no real feeding just the fluttering suck they do when they are not actually drinking but rather comfort sucking.

I was weary of the same issues as you in regards to not wanting to harm teeth or speech development and not get up  every hour to put the dummy back in etc.

We got rid of it at about 5 motnhs as this was time she started loosing it in the night and whilst I had no issue getting up to feed her, I did have issue with getting up to put the dummy back in. There were a few tears for the first 24 hours but I sat with her and patted her off to sleep, after about 3days she didn't seem to remember it at all.

My nephew if now almost 2 and has a dummy nearly everytime I see him and doesn't say a single word I can understand. He is constantly prasied by those around him as bing such a "good baby" because he never cries - he never actually makes a single noise except for the constant sucking noise. Each to their own.

#16 Mum2TwoDSs

Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:42 PM

Good question. I have a love-hate relationship with the dummy BUT am glad I have just quit it for DS2 when he was 18 weeks.

With DS1 not sure how we ended buying him a few (maybe being new parents) but that resulted in him waking numerous times at night to look for it as he must be associating it to get to sleep when he woke during sleep cycles. Our sleep was totally badly disrupted due to needing to wake to plug it back into his mouth. I had no choice but used one night to cold turkey him.  He cried for 45 mins crawling all over me just to get to sleep.

With DS2 I resolved not to give him a dummy but DH thought giving him the dummy was a good idea, better than letting him comfort suck at my boobs. Again DS2 became highly dependent on it and needed it to settle to sleep. Dummies work like a charm to help get him to sleep BUT if that is what he associates with to sleep, when he goes through the sleep regression he will keep waking to look for it and if he cannot replace it, you will have to be the one doing it. I am not game for that this time so decided to quit it before it gets too hard. It was really easy for DS2.  I think he is young so he forgets very quickly.

Dummies are soothing and are associated to sleeping and comfort and I felt very bad taking it away. But I know it is best to train a baby to self soothe/settle (IMO) for the whole family's and baby's benefit. After helping DS2 quit it and teaching him self-settling, he sleeps much better now.

So for me, I am 'No' re dummy.


Edited by Mum2TwoDSs, 25 February 2013 - 01:53 PM.

#17 Serenity Now

Posted 25 February 2013 - 06:47 PM

Thanks so much for all your replies!  I've shown DH the thread and we think we'll just see how DS goes over the next couple of days, and if we are unable to settle him with any of our usual tricks that we will give the dummy a go...

#18 Ice Queen

Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:31 PM

I love dummies!  Both my babies have been dummy babies.  No regrets here.   biggrin.gif

#19 eachschoolholidays

Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:39 PM

Another huge dummy fan here.  Both of mine had them in the hospital and were both breastfed until at least 12 months.  They are only used in bed / long car trips.  DD was weaned off hers at about 2 1/4 without any real problems.

#20 bluebug

Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:51 PM

We also had a baby who would suck on our finger for hours. We did put her on a dummy (only the bubble-shaped ones worked - not the orthodontic flatter ones). I have been really happy with our dummy experience.

Pro 1: I didn't have to stay there with my finger in her mouth every time she went to sleep. I could leave her with a dummy and do something else (i.e. go to sleep myself!).

Pro 2: She occasionally needed her dummy replaced overnight, but never to an extent that annoyed me. (especially because as soon as I gave it back, she'd be straight off to sleep again.) As she got older, she began to drop it and stay asleep without it bothering her. This happened naturally. Although we did start giving her two dummies each sleep just to solve this problem a bit.

Pro 3: We do use it only for settling down to sleep. It takes perseverance on your part not to give it to your child for every little thing, but I certainly found that the perseverance paid off. I am happy that it won't cause her problems in the future because she has stopped sleeping with the dummy in - she only uses it to get to sleep and then it drops out while she is actually sleeping. This happened naturally for us.

Weaning - don't know. She still uses it to get to sleep at age 2 and I'm happy with that - it's such a fuss-free part of our bedtime routine, and I think a comfort teddy or something would be more annoying because she'd carry it round everywhere. I like that I keep control over the dummies.

So we have had a great dummy experience. I'm aware that maybe I have an unusually cooperative kid in this regard. She was also unusually 'sucky' as a baby and I can see how much comfort the dummies bring her. I have no regrets about using them at all.

I am actually slightly concerned that my next baby won't like dummies, because I wouldn't have any idea how else to get a kid to go to sleep! That's how well the dummies have worked for us.

#21 harryhoo

Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:52 PM

DS has had a dummy since he was under the lights for jaundice at hospital. We've only ever used it to go to sleep or on long trips in the car. He's just turned one and still has it to go to bed, and I rarely have to get up at night. I put an extra one in the corner and he just grabs that one if he needs it (I assume). If he does wake up and cry then all it takes is for me to pop it back in and goes back to sleep. Hardly much effort compared to some of my friends who have to stand around rocking and patting their bubs in the middle of the night. Good luck, as with everything, everyone will have different experiences and I hope something works for you.

#22 bluebug

Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:54 PM

PS - I remember having to wean off the finger and onto the dummies deliberately. We would settle her with the finger-sucking, then as she dropped off, quietly swap to a dummy when she was too tired to notice. Sometimes this backfired and she'd wake up. But after doing this for a week or so, the finger was forgotten and the dummy was all she needed.

PPS - I forgot another big benefit - the dummies can be sterilised in boiling water but your finger cannot.

#23 Chaton

Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:55 PM

Before I had DS, I swore I was never going to introduce a dummy.  I donated the ones I was given by well meaning friends and family to charity behind their backs.  I thought I knew everything on settling a baby and didn't need this 'cheat' to get my baby to sleep.

Then he was born.

I held out til 6 weeks, and I was just a mess and one night after breastfeeding on and off for hours I snapped.  I gave him a dummy and he didn't murmur again for a couple of hours.  From then on, we'd introduce a dummy for settling after we'd tried for maybe half an hour to settle without.  Then we started giving it to him in the night if it wasn't a decent length since his last feed.  I started crawling back from a dangerous ledge I didn't even realise I was on at the time.  The scary thoughts and dreams I was having faded as I started getting more sleep, feeling less helpless and desperate.

I did set a rule that the dummy was ONLY for sleep (with a couple of times we used it when he was hurt or for settling after injections).  We worried how we'd get him to give it up, but on his second birthday we traded the dummy for a pillow for his bed, and when he asked for it we'd remind him he was a big boy and had a pillow now instead.  There weren't any tears and it was fine.

I'm expecting #2 later this year and I will probably try a dummy again.  I'll try to hold out for 2 - 4 weeks to establish feeding but then introduce a dummy if I feel I need to.

#24 RichardParker

Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:58 PM

I've been using it for the day sleeps and to get to sleep for the night.  But I don't use it to resettle during the night- I just pat his bum or feed him if he needs it.  If he's still sucking the dummy and cries when it falls out then he's not really asleep, just dozing.

He's a great breast feeder but I did notice a difference in his suckling technique after the dummy had been introduced, a,though It doesn't appear to be harmful.  He's six weeks old and we started using a dummy at maybe three weeks.

I read in Baby Love that using a dummy can reduce the effects of breastfeeding as a contraceptive.  Anyone know about that?

Edited by *Greenbag*, 25 February 2013 - 08:03 PM.

#25 nicknick

Posted 25 February 2013 - 07:58 PM

If I ever met the inventor of the dummy I would kiss the ground they walked on  biggrin.gif I love the dummy and really only use it for sleep - or when they are young and unsettled. I waited with DD until about 8 weeks so I really had her feeding well established. Yes it can be annoying getting up and putting it in, but DS didn't have one for so long I spent hours settling him before he had the dummy it was worse for him. Just my opinion but I think they do get such a bad wrap and they can be used effectively. Agree with PP's it is a very individual thing.

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