Dummies are essential on any maternity list for some parents and the subject of many theories. If some dads and babies end up not using them, the truth is that the vast majority of babies have an elevated sucking reflex and the soother can be their best companion. But how do choose the best soother for the baby among the choices?
When to give the soother to the newborn baby?
The baby is when it presents oromotor skills, one of them being the capacity of sucking, it nutritive (sugar acquiring food) or non-nutritive (sugar without food). Non-nutritive sucking is essential for oromotor development as it helps not only orofacial growth but also the digestive process and has a calming and pleasurable effect on the baby.
When a baby sucks on the mother’s breast, the tongue occupies most of the intra-oral space, the nipple adapts to the baby’s oral cavity extending to the back of the mouth, the front of the tongue and the jaw rise, and in this way, there is an adequate development and growth of the oral cavity and face, once everything is physiologically adapted.
The sucking reflex can start in some babies while they are still developing in their mother’s womb. In other cases, this need starts after birth and ends… when the child decides! In general, the need for sucking starts to diminish at 22 months, but it can last longer. The choice of the dummy shall take into account the baby’s age in order to avoid possible deformations in the child’s palate.
Which is the best dummy for a newborn baby?
The choice is adapted to the child’s age, which is also adapted to the child’s mouth. Usually, we do not find in the market three age categories in dummies:
- 0 to 3 months: these soothers can be used right from birth. The size of the teat is adapted to the newborn’s palate and up to 3 months.
- 3 to 6 months: the teat soothers are more voluminous, adapted to the advanced palate of a baby of this age.
- From 6 months onwards: it is significantly and large, to avoid the risk of choking, and totally adapted to the palate and wider for older babies.
Shapes and materials of dummies
When choosing a soother, there are different materials, and available is not always easy to decide which is the best. Two materials prevail as the most popular: rubber (or latex) and silicone.
The dummy, for being an object which is directly in contact with the baby, shall be as safe as possible. Protecting a baby’s health and well-being is also synonymous with non-toxic products made with as many natural substances as possible. Natural rubber is a safe and healthy alternative for baby soothers. With no toxic ingredients in their composition, they are much more natural than silicone dummies. Silicone dummies are a synthetic product, while natural rubber comes from nature!
As natural rubber dummies are also biodegradable, they are much more hygienic, do not crack, do not even accumulate bacteria, and are easier to clean. Dummies are made and used to provide comfort and safety to the baby.
How shall the dummy be?
The shape you choose for the dummy is very important! They may differ in the shape of the shield, handle, and teat. According to the most recent studies, the dummy shall adapt itself as much as possible to the shape of the child’s palate. Similarly, the sucking of the teat should be similar to that of the mother’s breast.
When the child sucks milk the jaw muscles do not make a great effort; the tongue is pushed forward while the jaw moves, following a rhythm, from top to bottom. There are several types on the market, and the characteristics of each teat shape or main to be taken into account:
Anatomical or orthodontic dummies
The anatomical or orthodontic dummies have a flat part and another curved part. The flat part helps the baby without the best side the development tongue with difficulty, being the taste as it grows.
Round dummies are recommended especially for babies who are breastfed. This shape is the most similar to the mother’s breast, providing greater comfort and security to the baby.
Oval or reversible dummies
Dummies may be a reversible mouth, one which has a symmetrical mouth in both directions. They adapt to the child’s palate, helping to develop the growth of the teeth in a healthy way. They are practical, as the mouth can easily get into trouble if they are not positioned correctly.
The most important when choosing a soother is the comfort and security it provides for the baby. A soother helps the baby or child to be more comfortable, free themselves, and to make them feel more secure (when their mother’s nipple is not an option 24 hours a day).