Dummies have some great advantages, they can help sooth young babies, help them to fall asleep and satisfy babies sucking instinct. However, these advantages are great for very young babies, between the ages of 6- 12 months parents should begin to wean their child of all use of dummies.
Why get rid?
- Dummies may transport bacteria and fungus, which can increase the rate of infections
- Effects of dummies on baby teeth include overbite, malocclusion, cross bite and open bite
- Speech is a huge factor, especially for children 18 – 24 months – When a baby or young child has a dummy in their mouth they are less likely to copy sounds adults make or to attempt to babble and play with sounds themselves. This is important in the development of speech skills.
Top tips on how to wean of the dummy:
- If the dummy is being used as a sleep cue, then introducing a different sleep cue can help
- You could restrict your child’s dummy use to certain times only, such as in the car
- Rewards might work better for an older child – your local children’s centre or health visitor can offer support with this. Some areas even have ’dummy fairies’ at Christmas
- Try picking a good time to stop using a dummy – when your child is feeling well, things are stable and they’re happy
- Have a go at hiding the dummy away so your child doesn’t see it