Lets talk dummies

Feb 13, 2024 | Blog

We have put together this helpful info sheet about dummies and their uses


The Pros:

For many parents, the biggest advantage dummies have is their role in helping babies to settle and to soothe them when they are distressed. Some studies show that dummies can help establish good sucking patterns in very young babies, especially those born prematurely.

Several research projects have begun looking at a correlation between dummy sucking and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and whether using a dummy lowers the risk of SIDS. This area of investigation is very new and most organisations do not recommend the use of dummies as a preventative measure.

The Cons

There is evidence to suggest that frequent dummy use in the daytime may affect young children’s speech sound development. This is because having an obtrusive object in their mouth can mean that they have to use their mouth differently in order to be able to make themselves understood.
Furthermore, having something in their mouths may make babies and toddlers less likely to babble and experiment with sounds, both of which are important for the development of speech.

Stopping breast-feeding early – however research in this area is undecided;
Increased risk of middle ear infections (otitis media/glue ear);
Increased risk of dental problems and crooked teeth if used beyond age three.

To conclude…..

Dummies can be useful in settling young babies and encouraging strong sucking patterns, but their specific usefulness declines after a developmental age of about six months.

It may also be advisable to restrict dummy use to night time where possible, to ensure that your child has the best possible opportunities to develop their language (words they use) and speech sounds. We recommend that if you do have a child of talking age who still uses a dummy, to always remove the dummy when they are talking, so that they do not pick up characteristic speech sound errors that can be caused by frequent dummy use.

Tips to reduce dummy use

  • Use your imagination – a lot! We know it’s not easy to fool a child (!!) so you may need to use all your creative power to find reasons for them to give them up! You could use their favourite character, or make up a story!
  • Make the most of seasonal saviours. The Easter Bunny and Father Christmas are wonderful scapegoats when it comes to taking dummies away.
  • Some parents just go ‘cold turkey’ and whilst we aren’t denying that those first couple of nights will be hard, your little one will soon get used to it.
  • Use those cheeky fairies! You can even make a certificate from the dummy fairy to say thank you, or give your child a present from the dummy fairy in return for the dummy.
  • Build a bear- you could take your little one to build a bear and place the dummy inside the bear. The bear could be the replacement!
  • Sabotage! You could use a pin to make a hole in the dummy, or cut the end of the teat to mean that the dummy does not work very well. You might find that your child reduces their use because their dummy is not as effective anymore.


… Read more by downloading the PDF below. 

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