The best dummies for breastfed babies
Is it safe to give my baby a dummy?
Yes! In fact, some special care units use dummies to comfort little and poorly babies while they are having tests or injections. Evidence shows that suckling eases pain and when your boob isn’t close at hand, a dummy will do nicely.
If you're breastfeeding your baby, then it's generally recommended to hold off giving your newborn a dummy until about six weeks, to make sure they are settled suckling your breasts.
Parenting expert Rachel Fitz-Desorgher is here to help with all your questions around dummies: read more about how safe newborn dummies are here.
Are there any dummy risks?
To use a dummy safely, and to minimise any dummy risks, there are a few steps to take. Don’t tie the newborn dummy to your baby with strings or ribbons which could get tangled around your baby, and never dip it in sugar or foods of any kind.
Make sure you sterilise your baby's dummy regularly, especially if it gets dropped when out and about. You can do this using a bottle steriliser, a microwave steriliser or by boiling the dummy to remove any contaminants. Some are dishwasher safe too. Make sure to let it completely cool before giving it to your baby.
Check your baby soother regularly to see if it has broken, or if there are any cracks, and replace it as soon as you see any damage.
How do you choose the best newborn dummy for breastfed babies?
- The dummies need to be made of latex, and be BPA- and phthalate-free
- The dummies need to be sized and shaped for your baby's mouth - always check the advised age range
- The dummies need to leave your baby's nose free
- The dummies need to be taste-free and odourless
- It’s better to invest in a dummy approved by the British Dental Health Foundation to ensure you purchase a safe and certified product.
How to use dummies
- Limit how long your baby uses a dummy
- Most experts advise starting to use a dummy only after your baby is at least one month old and preferably get them used to it once your baby is feeding well
- Don’t give a dummy dipped in sweet foods, like honey or juices
- Try to use an orthodontic or flat dummy; some research suggests they are better for tooth development
- Don’t force your baby to use a dummy; if they don't want it, let it be.
If you aren’t sure how to use a dummy, read more here: when is it right or wrong to use a dummy?
Pros and cons of using a dummy for breastfed babies
Pros of using dummies for breastfed babies
- Dummies can prevent your baby from sucking their thumb
- Dummies are also called pacifiers, as they can calm your baby
- You can use a dummy to distract your baby during vaccinations
- If your baby has colic, using a dummy can keep them calm
- Most premature babies are given a dummy.
Cons of using dummies for breastfed babies
- Sometimes dummies can interfere with breastfeeding; to avoid this, you need to make sure your baby is feeding well and gaining weight before introducing a dummy
- It can be really hard to break the habit of using a dummy
- If your baby uses a dummy all day, it can be harder for them to communicate with you or begin to make sounds
- Your baby could suffer from 'nipple confusion' as they struggle to transition between using the dummy and breastfeeding. A sign of this could be difficulty latching whilst breastfeeding.
How to get your baby to take a dummy
Sarah Cantwell, mum of two, shares her popular tips and tricks for getting your baby to take a dummy. She used dummies for both her newborn babies to keep them comforted and to keep her nipples from getting too sore.
What to read next
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- 5 simple ways to wean your child off their dummy
- The best bottles for breastfed babies