To Dummy Or Not To Dummy?

I’m finding myself at somewhat of a crossroads with Hux. He’s a very sucky baby – feeding on demand which is about every 2 hours right now – and I reckon his late night feeds especially have become about comfort rather than hunger.

At the moment I am of the mindset that I will feed on demand for a while longer before I start trying to establish more of a routine. He’s piling on weight so it’s obviously working for him, but little and often feeds aren’t so good for our day-to-day lives. He stretches his feeds to 3 hourly on occasion at night time so I know he is able to go that long.

Recently I’ve noticed that Hux likes to feed himself off to sleep and will find it hard to sleep without the comfort of sucking, particularly at night time. So now I’m left pondering the introduction of a dummy.

I’ve always been dead against dummies, vile pieces of cheap plastic that they are. Until we realised what an unsettled baby Elfie was, and that if we have her a dummy she would sleep and be happy. So Elfie became a dummied baby, though strictly at bedtime only (you’ll never catch her with a dummy outside of her cot). I’m desperate to wean her off them and will be doing so as soon as she seems more settled; personally I hate to see toddlers and young children running around with dummies in their mouths and I worry about the harm this can do to their teeth.

On the couple of occasions I’ve offered Hux a dummy he has spat it out in disgust, it seems he hates anything that aren’t milk and nipple flavoured. Interestingly he has taken a bottle on a couple of occasions when I’ve expressed and Will has fed him (so I can go to the pub, natch) so I know he is able to take teats other than a nipple. Maybe it’s the size of the teat that offends him? I’m not sure if I should give up on the dummy and go with my suck-hungry baby, hoping he grows out of it, or persevere with getting him to take one.

What would you do?


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  1. snafflesmummy wrote:

    Got me it was a matter of the dummy giving my poor sore boobs a rest. If a dummy meant i wouldn’t give up feeding then that was ok for me.

    However he became reliant on sucking to get himself to sleep and needed me or his dummy. Ended up waking every 90 minutes so after 8 months of no sleep we went cold turkey and he had to learn to sleep without it.

    We have just this week given them up totally as I hate to see them in toddlers mouths.

    Posted 6.19.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Yes, I think I need it most so my poor nipples get a little break!! I do remember a rough patch with Elfie when she kept dropping hers in the night and we would have to get up to put it back in… Over and over again!

      Posted 6.20.12 Reply
  2. Fiona wrote:

    I’ve always hated dummies & thought they were some kind of parenting fail.

    And then I had babies! My little boy wouldn’t ever take a bottle so I kind of hoped he’d have a dummy and I’d get a bit of respite, which just never happened, he’d always make a right fuss about having a dummy, gag on it & spit it out. He wasn’t much of a comfort feeder though.

    My little girl is totally different and would have comfort fed all day long if I’d let her. So we tried a dummy and it was amazing. She’s now 11 months and has one for naps/bedtime, which is fine by me.

    Whatever works, I say – good luck!

    Posted 6.19.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      I was the same as you- completely had dummies down as a parenting fail. Little did I know!!

      Posted 6.20.12 Reply
  3. Stephanie wrote:

    A whole world of debate right there! Lol!

    Lily was a comfort baby and after 8 weeks I was shattered! So I reluctantly reached for a dummy and felt like my life had resumed!

    Like you it was strictly a sleep thing and after the age of 5 months never came out of her room.

    She was very much attched to it for comfort but that pleased me as at 7pm she happily went to bed to have it and often slept in until 8am and later!

    At the age of 3-4 she realised it was a babies thing and started to talk about giving it up. By 4 and a bit she asked if the dummy fairy could come and take it and leave her a gift, which she did.

    Since then she has sept fine, still 7- when we wake her up.

    I say if it works do it! Some really don’t want one so let Huxley decide!


    Posted 6.19.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      I’m going to do the same dummy fairy thing with Elfie I think – as soon as she’s old enough to understand that fairy will be whisking her dummies away!!

      Posted 6.20.12 Reply
  4. Ok with the BFC hat on I have to say that all the sucking, even what people call ‘comfort sucking’ is really important for milk supply and the feeds that really work out what milk you need to produce the next day are those evening and night time feeds

    But it is really tough feeding that often – cosleeping and collapsing on the sofa of an evening can help but it is hard

    We didn’t with either of ours because we knew they’d be looked after by other people and I’ve seen too many nannies shove in a dummy rather than deal with what is causing the crying BUT a dummy to try and see if it will help them self settle before they discover fingers can really help BUT he may discover his thumb / fingers if you leave him to it (Littler was the suckiest baby on the planet but around 10 weeks discovered her fingers)

    If he doesn’t like it now wait and see – he’s still terribly tiny and trying to work out this big world

    Posted 6.19.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      I didn’t know that! I feel like I am learning something every day about breastfeeding (today’s lesson: nursing bras are impossible to undo when you’ve just painted your nails).

      Posted 6.20.12 Reply
  5. I think somewhere in my head I was against the idea of a dummy, as I didn’t really like the look of them, but can definitely see the benefits of them! (if you can hopefully wean them off them easily!)

    We decided we weren’t going to give Theo a dummy, but one day it got kind of desperate so I bought some and tried him. But like Hux, he spat it out and didn’t like it at all, and from then on I didn’t push it on him. Theo was/is like Hux and always needed to suck to fall off to sleep (still does) and with co-sleeping we just found it easier to carry on that way. It’s probably not ideal that I still have to feed my nearly 17 month old to sleep, but we’re working on it…

    but good luck with what you decide, I think the best thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter if other people are for or against them, it’s what works best for you and your family.

    Posted 6.19.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      We’re still having not much luck with the dummy ao I think like you it’s time to leave it! Thank you for your input.x

      Posted 6.26.12 Reply
  6. Suzy wrote:

    I went through exactly the same thought process last week with Amelie and decided I’d rather have that extra weapon for keeping her calm. Like you I always hated them and thought they were for lazy parents who would rather mute their child than interact with them, but then I gave birth to a super sucker. So yeah, it’s not pretty and it’s not in public, but if it does the job I’m on board…

    Posted 6.19.12 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Has she taken it? Hux just looks at me like a moron when I try and give it to him. Not cool :(

      Posted 6.26.12 Reply
  7. Hannah wrote:

    I was always dead set against giving Ivy a dummy – I don’t like it when children are running around with them in, or when children have to take them out to talk! That was until I realised that she was a really sucky baby. I called my mum, who is a dentist, to check about development of teeth etc. Her response was “They only affect teeth in the mouth at the time” and “You can get rid of a dummy, you can’t get rid of a thumb!”. As a long term thumb sucker (until I was well into my teens), I can appreciate how useful a Dummy Fairy may be!

    Ivy has it in between feeds if she needs it. She doesn’t have it to go to sleep. It hasn’t affected her feeding at all. We bought some nice Tommy Tippee orthodontic dummies which are shaped for minimal ‘damage’. It also seems to help her when she’s colicky in the evening, something I have been very grateful for.

    I’m hoping to get rid before any teeth arrive, and to keep it away from bedtimes, as that was when I was worst for sucking my thumb. 6 years of braces were the result for me – maybe a fairy will be all it takes for her!

    Posted 6.19.12 Reply
  8. I don’t like how they are called dummies in the UK and much prefer the American term pacifier, which at least states what they do! I’m not a fan but I think this has a lot to do with seeing older kids latched onto them. We didn’t use one with LLC but have tried more with LMM for sleep as he cries more but he too spits it out and I don’t want to force it. He has taken to vigorously sucking his fingers, which in the long run won’t be good for his teeth either as you can’t take fingers away. This could have something to do with hs bottom two teeth which are already starting to poke out!

    Posted 6.19.12 Reply
  9. Karen sinclair wrote:

    Hi Alice, Hux is cute! I had the same dilema with lily – in the end I gave her a dummy to settle her for
    sleeps and at 12 weeks I stopped giving it to her and she started sucking her lip to settle herself and that was that. With James I tried the same tactic, unfortunately at about 8 weeks he found his thumb and started refusing the dummy. He’s now 2 and a half, his thumbs are sore and it’s really affecting the shape of his palette and hence his teeth. I didn’t think anything of it at the time but now I wish I’d perservered with the dummy as the thumb is much harder to deal with down the line. If you decide to do the dummy thing try different shaped teats, there might be one he prefers. Hope you find a solution that works for you all :-) Karen x

    Posted 6.20.12 Reply
  10. Steph (@imcountingufoz) wrote:

    I tried so so hard to get Elliot to take a dummy but he just won’t have any of it. In the end I think he’s done me a favour as I have a feeling if he had taken one it would be a nightmare to wean him off it.

    Honestly, I think Hux is feeding for comfort because that is what he needs. He’s still very tiny and it’s about the time that the dreaded growth spurts start kicking in. He WILL settle with his epic feeds but it might take a bit longer. If he won’t take a dummy then I wouldn’t force him as might freak him out, I really think the best thing you can do is take your cue from him.

    Posted 6.20.12 Reply
  11. Hannah wrote:

    Little miss s has a dummy and like you it was not something that I wanted to do, but neither was bottle feeding or cwtch’s to sleep! She was a very sucky baby and had developed thrush in her mouth – on the advice from a fellow mum we Put some of the medicine on the end of the dummy so that it would circulate the effected area rather than get spat out – she never gave it back! She’s now 10months and has her ‘diddy’ at night and nap times. I looks horrible and she only has clear plastic ones but they are a godsend! Not looking forward to taking it off her tho! Also my mum works for the NHS dental hygiene dept and apparently as long as you can wean them off by 3 it shouldn’t effect their teeth.

    I have learnt that all the ideals you had pre-baby just get thrown out of the window, our diddy is a welcome sight at 4am!

    Good luck!

    Posted 6.20.12 Reply
  12. Joanna wrote:

    I have this exact dilemma right now. Lily is feeding every 2 hours (occasionally 3 if we are out & she’s asleep). She feeds to sleep most of the time but is gaining weight. I was told to feed her every 2-3 hours because she was 4 weeks early. She was doing 3 hours but seems to have gone down to 2. I tried her with a dummy to settle her between feeds. She took it for a couple of days but cried when it fell out. Now she won’t take it & gags if I put it in her mouth. Might give it another go in a few days x

    Posted 6.20.12 Reply
  13. Alice wrote:

    It seem like I have had the same experience as you and some of the others parents who have commented. A dummy was a relief from a sucking/comforted baby. My little girl only has a dummy to sleep and I’m not too worried about taking it away when the time comes (honest!)

    I would say, don’t worry about the teeth thing too much, they are milk teeth after all. Also I know plenty of dummied babies that have perfectly straight, lovely teeth.

    Personally, I found the dummy a godsend and something that can and will be taken away at some stage.


    Posted 6.20.12 Reply
  14. Mine all took them, but it was a nightmare trying to wean them of it. If you can persevere without it I would, but if you need a break then keep trying. Gosh I’m not really very helpful am I?

    Posted 6.20.12 Reply
  15. Myra wrote:

    Our son used a dummy and I don’t think it had a big impact on my supply. You have a big growthspurt coming up though (around six weeks, it almost killed me with my son, oh the crying and 24h on boob, sigh) which could make him more unsettled.

    Also we tried a few different ones before we found one that he liked (difrax, very round, closely resembled a nipple apparently). But yes the dummy popping out and needing to shove it back in phase was…less pleasant.

    When my son was 12 months old he got mollars and would spit out the dummy so we took it away and he has not needed it since (which was a total winner and took us completely by surprise).

    I don’t know, there are things to be said for both camps I guess.

    Also do you know the website kellymom? it’s a fab source for all things breastfeeding.

    I am still finding it pretty hard to believe that in about 10 weeks time I will be holding and nursing a teeny baby. Eek.

    Posted 6.20.12 Reply
  16. Tricky! I think the reason people are so against dummies is because of the toddler running around with one clamped between their teeth all day long. Urgh. However – I think using it for a newborn or just for night is fine. A friend of mine was told by her pediatrician that newborns can only control one thing – sucking – so it makes sense that they want to do it all the time. If you want to give your boobs a break, go for it. He might not take to it anyway – or, like both of mine, he might become a thumb/finger sucker. Good luck x

    Posted 6.20.12 Reply
  17. Karen G wrote:

    Dora was sucking her fingers during several of our ultra sounds.. so she was born a very sucky baby. We finally gave her a dummy at about 3 weeks. As she got older, she grew very dependent on it and would wake and cry if she couldn’t find it. We weaned her off it at about 5 months and she was still waking but instead using me as a comforter.. eventually, we gave her the dummy back and now she can find it in the middle of the night if she loses it. I’d rather her suck on a dummy than her fingers or thumb. You can always throw a dummy away (or give it to the baby reindeer ay Christmas lol). Good luck. Whatever you decide will be what it best for your bubba.

    I was told by a midwife, to rub your baby’s cheeks to get them to suck the dummy as it’s a different ‘suck’ to a nipple or bottle suck. Use your thumb and middle finger and rub downwards like you’re squishing his cheeks.. Hope that makes sense.

    Posted 6.21.12 Reply
  18. Celeste wrote:

    My girls were both in a similar pattern of feeding to yours. Every 2 hours (sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less), refusing to take dummies. I didn’t persevere with the dummy thing and in the long term I was glad about that, because I can’t imagine it would have been fun to wean them off them. They both liked sucking on my finger though.. Millie even had a finger preference, it had to be the little one on my right hand!

    To be honest they were always in the ‘little and often’ camp re feeds, but I learned to get around it. It did mean I had to get my tits out in all sorts of places though because there was never long enough to go anywhere between feeds!

    Posted 6.21.12 Reply
  19. Primrose Hill wrote:

    Ooh, that’s a tough one. I tried my boy with one when he was a couple of weeks old and I was on the verge of losing it as he wouldn’t stop crying. He point blank refused to take it, and that was that. I was disappointed at the time but now I’m glad because I don’t have to worry about weaning him off. That said, there were many times I’d have given my right arm to have something to comfort him that wasn’t my boob!

    Posted 6.21.12 Reply
  20. Safsma wrote:

    Alice, Hux is the cutest little man ever!
    Again, like you and many of the commenters, I was dead against a dummy and managed to not cave in and give Safran (my 1st) one at all. How did she repay me? By deciding at the grand old age of four to start sucking her thumb! A year and a half later no amount of persuading will stop her :-/

    I did give Keenan (my 2nd) a dummy because I felt if I was out and about with both of them and needed to get home/find a seat to feed him, a dummy would buy me a bit of time! I gave him a cherry dummy first for a couple of weeks when he was about 6 weeks and then moved him on to a Avent one. He is not almost three and hasn’t had a dummy for a year & a half. We lost his one and only dummy one Sunday but he went to bed fine that night and never asked for it again! I guess I was lucky!

    With Ruby (my 3rd & LAST) I have given her one, again for the same reasons- I know some people hate them, but giving her one when I’m trying to do the school drop off, running to the shop etc and she fancies a juicy snack & is screeching, works for me!
    Give Hux time, he is still very new to this big world, but if he is taking a bottle I’d say theres a good chance he will take a dummy too!
    Good luck, Em xx
    ps. you are doing a FAB job ;)

    Posted 6.22.12 Reply
  21. mummylimited wrote:

    I was totally the same as you with my first. Hated hated hated dummies and then had to get one just to give myself a break.

    I waited a few weeks (which you are already at) and once I was happy that he could switch between bottle and breast we used a dummy. He wouldn’t take the orthodontic ones and we had to use the old fashioned cherry dummy (which I think is what you have there)

    It did help. There was a definite difference between when he wanted to suckle me and when he was happy with a dummy. I was the same as you in that he only had it for naps and night. In fact one of my NCT group smugly said how fantastic is was that none of us had used one (clearly she thought it was a parenting fail too!) He gave it up at about 2, as he bit the teat off the one that was attached to his toy and we’d got rid of the others. I was dreading it, but we just said “oh dear, it’s broken” and that was the end of it.

    Noah was also a little and often type of boy and I really wouldn’t worry about routine at all. I did and it totally stressed me out. Over time he became a more efficient feeder and my supply evened out and he would feed less, but still quite quickly, so it did have it’s advantages. During the day he would often be done in five mins.

    Posted 6.23.12 Reply
  22. Honest Mum wrote:

    It’s a tough one and down to the baby. Oliver wanted to be fed constantly and a dummy was a lifesaver. I am considering not using one for the next but might have to play it by ear. Do what you need to, to survive I say. P.S Lovely meeting you briefly this weekend.

    Posted 6.25.12 Reply
  23. My little girl never took a bottle or a dummy but we did make our mission to try and get her it take one as she wanted my nipple in my mouth 24/7! It never worked though, I guess some babies just hate dummies and I have to say that I am quite pleased about it now as she is 20 months and no longer breast feeds or has a dummy. Although having said that I would totally try and give the next baby one if he/she wanted to feed all the time. Tricky one! X

    Posted 6.25.12 Reply
  24. Josie wrote:

    Go for it! We do it with Amelie (just when she sleeps too) as she is also a ‘sucky’ baby. It definitely helps her sleep, and again with the comfort thing. I know weaning them off them can be tricky but go with your instinct I reckon. If you think Hux will like it he probably will.

    Posted 6.28.12 Reply
  25. Kara wrote:

    I’m always of the mindset that you have to do what works for you and your kiddo. If your lady lumps need a rest, then try the dummy – sometimes different kinds work better based on how the rubber nipple is designed. Also, I have seen some mom’s help hold it in their baby’s mouth by tapping on it lightly from the outside to get them to suck on it consistently.

    I will use one if needed with my daughter, but I will try to wean her from it as she becomes a toddler.

    Posted 6.29.12 Reply