For the majority of specialists, the dummy shall not be introduced into the baby’s habits until breastfeeding is completely established, which happens at about 2 months of age.
The dummy is a very controversial element with many advantages for parents and for the baby because it calms him immediately and reduces the risk that he suffering from sudden infant death syndrome, even though it can also cause deformation of the mouth and cause more infections if used in excess and after 18 months.
For this reason, some parents contemplate the possibility of not giving the dummy to their baby. And those who do decide to give it to their baby do not know exactly when to introduce it: as soon as it is born, after a few days, after a few months.
From what age can a baby be given a dummy?
Well, experts recommend that it is never given before three or four weeks of life if there is the intention of the mother to breastfeed because the dummy can interfere with breastfeeding. The Dummies can cause problems when it is a question of the baby latching on to the nipple and sucking with the necessary strength since sucking requires more strength than sucking the teat of the dummy or bottle.
Giving the dummy too early can make the baby not want to suck the breast and become nervous, which will make the first weeks of breastfeeding, which are already complicated, more difficult. In addition, the baby may give you more cracks by pushing excessively on your breast, as they are used to doing this with the dummy.
In 1991, together with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) created measures to encourage breastfeeding. This initiative proposes a set of measures aimed at supporting, protecting, and promoting breastfeeding.
In the 9th point of these guidelines, it is advised not to give nipples, artificial nipples, or dummies to breastfed children. This guideline confirms that the use of a dummy is contraindicated by the WHO due to its interference with breastfeeding. A dummy shall never be offered to a newborn baby until breastfeeding is well established because a baby who takes the dummy well may have more difficulty in doing so with the breast.
A great part of the doctors only recommends this when the baby is already breastfeeding well and always with moderation at bedtime. A Dummies shall only be used as a last resource, in periods when the baby needs to suck and only when going to sleep.
The idea is to use a dummy from the second month of life only to calm a baby who is very demanding, who is always crying and tries to suck on everything, from a finger to a blanket. It is very important that the child is never forced to use a dummy. This leads to a decrease in the stimulation of the breast and the milk let out, leading to less milk production, the consequence of which is weaning.
After this period, it is free choice of parents to offer the Dummies to the child, but it is necessary to pay attention and observe if after using the Dummies the baby will be taking the breast in a different way. In a positive case, the use shall be immediately suspended. The age from which the dummy can be offered to the baby is not consensual between specialists. However, there are some points on which all agree:
- The soother should only be used after breastfeeding is fully established;
- A dummy shall be used with good sense and reserved for those moments when the baby requests it to reassure himself as to fall asleep or when he is more upset or sick;
- From 18 months of age its use must be restricted to bedtime;
- Baby shall not be “forced” to accept a Dummies when he is upset or crying.
In summary, it is important to analyse the pros and cons of the use of the Dummies and decide, with the paediatrician, what is best for each child. Therefore, choosing between using or not is optional, once parents are aware of all the pros and cons of the Dummies. In case of doubts, do not hesitate to seek a safe source of information on the matter and always consult the paediatrician to guide you and your family.
In most cases, a Dummies is the best solution in response to a reflex that almost all babies have: sucking. If the baby rejects the dummy, they should not be forced to accept it. There are other ways to soothe and comfort him:
- Holding him on your lap;
- Talk to him;
- Giving them attention.
There are conventional or orthodontic dummies, of silicone or latex, for each age. They shall be washed with water, sterilised every 3-5 days, and changed every month.