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How can I stop my child having a dummy? Wean your child from a dummy in the same way that you wean off the breast or bottle. Here are some suggestions that you may find helpful: • At first, try to get your child used to having a dummy only when they are going to sleep. • Take the dummy out of your child’s mouth when they are asleep. • Always make sure that your child takes the dummy out of their mouth when they are talking. • When your child cries, try to think of another way of comforting them first. Don’t use the dummy as your first choice. • Don’t use a dummy to get your child to be quiet. • Don’t pin the dummy to their clothes or hang it round their neck. • Don’t let your child walk around with a dummy in their mouth. • If your child starts going somewhere such as playgroup, don’t take the dummy. They will then accept that this is not part of this new experience. Weaning your child off their dummy can be stressful for both you and your child. If you are finding it very difficult to do, ask your health visitor for advice.

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Date of publication: Dec 2006 © Kirklees Primary Care Trust

This information can be made available in other formats including large print and other languages.

Should I give my baby a dummy? Advice for parents

Should I give my baby a dummy?

Should I give my baby a dummy? Babies are often given dummies as a comfort or to help them go to sleep. There is nothing wrong with this and the occasional use of a dummy has helped to keep many a harassed parent sane! If you do give your child a dummy try getting one with an orthodontic teat as these are designed to cause the least damage to the growth of your child’s teeth.

What about when my child is older? If your child carries on using a dummy when they are a toddler it can become a difficult habit to break.

Ask yourself the following questions: • Does my child always carry a dummy? • Does my child have the dummy in their mouth during the day? • Does my child have more than one dummy? • Does my child try to talk with the dummy in their mouth?

Should I give my baby a dummy?

What problems can there be if my child uses a dummy a lot? It is important to remember that it is the length of time a dummy is used and how often during the day, rather than the dummy itself which can cause problems. If the habit is broken early, the child will not miss it and will not be able to ask for it! Older children are more persuasive and persistent. The following problems can be associated with prolonged dummy sucking:

Talking • Very young babies make cooing and babbling sounds as they experiment in preparation for their first words. Using a dummy frequently in the early months restricts the amount of time they can do this. • Dummy sucking babies are often more contented and don’t actively seek as much stimulation from their environment.

• Are my child’s teeth growing evenly or are the top ones shorter than the others?

• Talking with the dummy in their mouth stops the child’s tongue from getting into the right position for speaking and faulty speech patterns may develop.

• Does my child nod or shake his head, point or gesture, rather than take the dummy out of their mouth to talk?


• Are there some speech sounds that my child is unable to say? • Does my child have more difficultly making herself understood than their friends do? If you answered "yes" to more than one of these questions this may mean that your child’s dummy is becoming a problem.

• Continual use of a dummy once the teeth have started to appear can make the teeth uneven. Sometimes there is an open bite where the front teeth cannot close together. This can affect speech sounds. • If you dip the dummy in sugary drinks or food such as jam or honey the teeth will decay.