Using dummies: Helpful tips for families

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Dummies – do you love them or loathe them (or a bit of both)?

Regardless, dummies are popular with many families as a way of soothing unsettled babies, and are often a comfort for toddlers when experiencing separation anxiety from families.

As a guide, dummies can be offered from birth if your child is bottle-fed. For breastfed babies, it’s best to wait 4-6 weeks – until feeding has been established.

Our Educators get a lot of questions about dummy use, so we’ve compiled some practical tips for families.

  • Ensure that your child’s dummy isn’t tied around their hand or neck, which poses a risk of strangulation – the dummy chain should not be long enough to catch around their neck, especially when they’re sleeping in their cot.
  • Don’t dip your child’s dummy in anything sweet, like honey or fruit juice, as it can have a negative effect on their teeth.
  • Check the condition of your child’s dummy regularly. If it’s looking worn out, broken or the teat has a tear in it, it poses a safety risk.
  • Give your child their dummy only when you know they aren’t hungry. This helps to ensure that using it doesn’t interfere with feeding.
  • Keep a spare dummy handy! Dropping dummies happens all the time without families noticing, and it’s best to avoid the inevitable upset if it gets lost without a replacement.

Keeping dummies clean:

Sterilised dummies should be used for babies under six months old, whereas from six months onwards, children are more resistent to infections. Soap and water is all that is needed – just make sure water doesn’t remain inside the dummy when you’ve finished cleaning!


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