A-Z

Dummy Use and Speech, Language and Communication Development.
 

Dummies are used in many countries and have been used with young children for many years - evidence of them have been found in Cypriot and Roman graves dating from as long ago as 1000BC. Despite their popularity and long history, the use of dummies is a controversial topic amongst professionals and parents/carers. There are many advantages and disadvantages for the use of dummies.

Advantages

  • Dummies can be great at helping babies settle down to sleep or to soothe them.
  • Some studies show that dummies can help establish good sucking patterns in very young babies, especially those born prematurely  

Disadvantages

Too much dummy use can cause:
 
  • stomach and mouth infections
  • middle ear infections.
  • teeth development even into adult teeth such as open bite and cross bite
  • dribbling
  • difficulties with their eating
  • reduced babbling and experimentation with sounds.

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.

Advice for Parents & Carers

It is recommended that your try and reduce the dummy from 6 months of age and be completely dummy free from 1 year old. It is useful to try and reduce the dummy gradually over a period of time. Limit dummy use to night time only and only use it for a few minutes at a time to help them settle. If your child uses a dummy make sure they aren’t using them when they are playing or communicating. We know getting rid of the dummy can be a daunting task so here are some useful hints and tips other parents have found useful for ‘ditching the dummy’
 
  • Involve your child – get your child to help collect all their dummies and put them in a box etc to give away to the ‘dummy fairy’ or ‘Santa’
  • Use a reward / sticker chart for every night the child goes without a dummy
  • Understand the role of the dummy to help you find a replacement e.g. if it’s used to help sooth them you may want to substitute this for a blanket or teddy.
 

Remember once you have got rid of the dummy don’t go back!