Anyone who has had an unsettled newborn will know that you’d do just about anything to get some rest. One of the first things mums consider is trying a dummy. Dummies or pacifiers tend to be one of those things that other parents, maybe even your own parents, will be highly opinionated on – so we thought we’d help you out with some judgement-free facts about newborns and dummy use.
Can a newborn sleep with a dummy?
The short answer is yes, there is no safety issue with your newborn sleeping with a dummy. As long as the dummy is the correct size, in good condition, cleaned properly and not attached to any kind of string, there is no direct risk.
That being said, there are reasons why you might consider holding off on using one straight away.
What’s the issue with giving my newborn a dummy?
The main concern among health professionals is that dummies may influence your baby’s breastfeeding routine. For this reason, the current recommendation is that you do not introduce a dummy until breastfeeding is properly established, which is generally around 4-6 weeks. This is because of something called ‘nipple confusion’, where a baby may begin to prefer a dummy or bottle teat over their mother’s breast.
If your baby is bottle-fed, you won’t need to worry about this at all. In fact, for bottle-fed babies, dummies can be an excellent tool when your little one wants to cluster feed.
Are there any advantages to giving your baby a dummy?
There are a number of studies that suggest that dummy use may reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), although the reasoning behind this is unknown and it is not routine advice to use one for this purpose alone.
The other advantage is that, if your baby likes a dummy (and trust us, some don’t!), they are an excellent tool to help to calm an upset or cranky little one – witching hour anyone? They can help babies to sleep more soundly and they can also be a useful distraction when your baby has to go for a check-up at the doctor or for other situations where they are distressed.
Ultimately, dummy use is something you have the right to decide upon for yourself as a parent. Trust your instincts and, if you ever have any concerns, make sure you check in with your baby’s doctor or paediatrician.
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