After my previous blog on the quite heavy topic of vaccinations, I wanted to continue to touch upon equally important issues that we have come across when making our ‘new parent’ decisions. Admittedly most are related to medical issues, of which neither of us are qualified nor clued up enough to give sole opinions; however, a little research never hurt anyone! This week I am looking at the equally contentious topic of dummies and working out how I feel about using them.
Dummy, soother, pacifier or binky – whichever name you prefer – there has always been a huge subject for debate with parents, parents-to-be and medical professionals surrounding the use or improper use of baby’s dummies. To start my research, I used my closest face-to-face medical research: my Grandfather. As a retired dental practitioner, whose profession ranged from surgery work to police call outs, he spent almost 30 years consumed by the role doing everything from routine fillings and helping at Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr Tydfil assisting in the surgery department where he regularly saw and treated a fair few patients and their children. Always one for a horror story, he always tells me about how many women used to bring their babies in with horrendous tooth decay due to the use of dummies dipped in the super sugary concentrate Ribena. This, as you can imagine, would leave devastation to the child’s teeth and was often irreversible – something I will NOT be doing!
During my online research, I found a fair few articles surrounding dummy use is positive when dummies are used in a controlled and soothing way. I am taking this as meaning you don’t give a dummy to your child every time they cry but instead use it as a last resort when they are looking for comfort but are clean, dry, gas-free and fed OR to help them sleep through the night which again I’m guessing, eliminates the attachment and ‘security blanket’ effect. despite my guessing the biggest point I came across was the suggestion by many professionals over the years that the use of a dummies overnight can help reduce the chances of cot death by up to 90% (Please read below for stats).
In 2003, a BBC article was written talking about how The British Medical Journal carried out a study and found that ‘the benefit was greatest for children sleeping in an “adverse” environment.’ The article goes on to mention that dummies ‘may help stop babies from cutting off their air supply’ but then stated that the UK experts ‘welcomed the research, but stressed it was a small study.’ Just four years later in 2007, the BBC published another article talking about The American Academy of Paediatrics and how they had been advising parents that dummies could reduce the risk of cot death. The article goes on to read that the study, which was carried out by researchers in California, found that ‘giving a baby a dummy may reduce the risk of cot death by as much as 90%’ which takes the original statistics of 1 in 2,000 to 1 in 20,000 – up to ten times less likely! The year 2007 saw the first-time UK experts agreed and began promoting this fact. Coincidentally, as I mentioned with my Grandfather’s stories, this article goes on to stress the high importance of not dipping a dummy in anything sweet! Since then, in 2013 The Daily Mail (not always the most reliable source of media) talks about Australian research which also backs the idea of dummies reducing the risk of cot death and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) by regulating breathing and helping baby’s cardiac systems to ‘respond to blood pressure changes’. To wrap this all into one overview, in my opinion, all these articles back each other up. Each point made just relates back to the BBC articles I first read just adding more medical research evidence. Aside from the media led research articles I found, the trusty NHS have provided a bullet point guide to ways parents can prevent SIDS. This can be found using the following link:
Moving on from this more factual research (and to lighten this up), I am heading towards the conclusion that I am fully willing to try out the use of a dummy if little one will take it and that I ween him off it before his first birthday to avoid attachment. This has led me to the next biggest decision: WHAT KIND OF DUMMY SHOULD I BUY!? So, what did I find I hear you ask… I started looking for dummies to choose from by singling out what I considered to be the most important aspects. I looked at three well-known brands and focused of what material, is it orthodontic, what the prices are and more importantly, what pattern and colour are they?
To start my research, I came across NUK (found at http://www.nuk.co.uk/)
As the only soothers I could find that were Oral Health Foundation approved, NUK sells two different material types: silicone and latex. The silicone is described as ‘stronger and more durable’ whereas the latex is described as ‘popular with many parents because it is softer and more flexible which can make it easier for some babies to adapt to’. These dummies come in at just under £5 for two and seem to be very good value for money.
https://www.tommeetippee.co.uk/product/night-time-soothers // https://www.tommeetippee.co.uk/product/fun-style-soothers
The next brand I researched were Tommee Tippee (found at https://www.tommeetippee.co.uk/product/soothing/soothers) who have branded their dummies as having a ‘symmetrical orthodontic shape’. These come in all sorts of colours and sizes and if you looked at either link above, the basic dummies are branded for different uses: Fun Style, Anytime, Air, Night Time, Moda, Cherry and Soft Rim. They also have a special ‘Fun Face’ range which are wonderfully bright and colourful. These also, like NUK, come in at just shy of £5 for two – however in Asda now they are 2 packs of two for £6. My ever-tight pocket jumped on this and brought a few packs to see if he will take to them as realistically, only testing them will answer that!
The third and final brand I found are called Natursutten. Found at http://www.natursutten.com/ they are an ecological company that sell a range of ‘ecologically sustainable from pure natural rubber from the tree Hevea brasiliensis’. This is said to be designed ‘follows baby’s natural mouth movements’ – again all very like the previous two dummy brands but on the plus, they’re 100% natural and environmentally friendly and biodegradable. Their ‘Ortho Pacifiers are shaped quite differently to the NUK & Tommee Tippee, with the teat of the dummy looking like someone has squashed it diagonally, leave a flat diagonal edge which I imagine mimics the gap between the roof of the mouth and the tongue when a baby suckles. Although probably my first choice as they’re all organic and bio, they do some in at just over £7 per dummy which sets the price much higher than the others and only come in one colour. This seems like a little much to spend especially if the little one doesn’t take to it so maybe one I could try out at a later stage.
Through all my research and discussion here, I think I am willing to give dummies a try. Whilst secretly hoping he will take to them, I have brought a few varieties of the Tommee Tippee and plan to hope and pray that he will take comfort in them whilst breast feeding then magically forget about them at 11 months old… but hey, I spend a lot of time day dreaming these days! Thanks for sticking with me today through this heavy but important post.
Hope your January is not causing you to freeze your little toes off and you’re all snuggled up warm wherever you are!
One Curious Mother x