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Are you a dummy if you give Baby a dummy

By Sister Lilian for Baby City 2017

The most important thing one needs to understand the difference between ‘sucking’ and ‘suckling’ – the former is what happens when using a bottle or dummy teat, while suckling is the reflexive bio-emotional survival activity that takes place at a mother’s breast. If suckling is encouraged from the get-go, many babies will never need or want a dummy!

Nonetheless, many babies like using a dummy to satisfy their sucking needs and it can be an effective way to soothe unnecessary tears from high-need babies. That’s why dummies are called ‘pacifiers’ in some countries. Some dummies are even thought to help prevent Sudden Infant death Syndrome (SIDS) because they are designed to allow the airway to open more, or to help ensure a baby will automatically move out of a dangerous position by keeping them from very deep sleep.

When mothers don’t breastfeed, or babies are unavoidably in the care of day mothers, they might need a dummy to ‘suckle’ on as a compensatory mechanism for missing close contact with their mother as they become used to their new circumstances. The most important thing, if you cannot be there to breastfeed your baby, is not to deny them a dummy, as it might just provide some of the emotional support they need. While one shouldn’t insist that a baby has a dummy, deliberately avoiding a dummy, forcefully removing it or stressing about its use can be just as harmful – if not more! Never forget, suckling is an inherent need.

However, if you’re keen to breastfeed and want to avoid oral thrush at all costs, it’s probably best not to use a dummy, and chances are they won’t feel the need. Breastfed babies may get confused by the different shape and feel of the dummy’s teat and it can disrupt their latching while breastfeeding. Some breastfed babies simply refuse a dummy, far preferring the real deal from Mom! Other babies are quite happy to switch between the breast and dummy.

Choosing a dummy
When it comes to choosing a dummy, it’s not as straightforward as it might seem. The biggest mistake many parents make is with the size of the dummy, often getting one with a teat which is too big for a newborn or very small baby. This can make Baby gag. Of course, every baby is an individual, so you’ll have to take his preferences into account too!

An important consideration when using a dummy is keeping it clean. Avoid using sterilising solutions because the thrush organism can still grow in some of them. Instead:
• Use special dummy sterilising devices; or
• Wash the dummy thoroughly in soapy water, place it in a container of just-boiled water, let it stand in the water for ten minutes, take it out and store it in an airtight container – many dummies come with their own container to keep them clean.

March 2, 2017

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