Some parents swear that dummies are lifesavers, and others prefer not to use them at all.
Whichever your choice is, there's no right or wrong method (do what works for you and your child), but it can be informative to read what others do.
We've asked members from our platform of mum groups for their opinions on dummies, as well as for ideas on how to wean babies and toddlers off them.
It's your baby's choice:
"I've had a dummy sucker, a thumb sucker and a bottom lip sucker. All babies are different and people should do whatever works best for them and their little ones. And never say never!"
"We have had one who loved to suck and wanted one and one who didnít. As with everything I say leave the decision to baby."
"They're not my favourite thing, but some bubs need them. My children hated them, but I've worked with a lot of bubs who really needed them. I donít think itís even a personal (mum) choice. I think it very much depends on the baby."
"If it's a help and not a hindrance then go for it. If the dummy becomes the issue, ditch it. If it affects feeding, ditch it. If it works, don't fix what isn't broken! I've had two thumb suckers and one dummy lover."
"I think to each their own. Can be very helpful when they are little and if it works then go for it!"
"Whatever works. One of ours did and one didnít. At the end of the day itís about what makes your family happy."
"Do what you feel best. Not what others whisper in your ear. Every child is different."
" Every child is different and need to be treated as such. As a general rule I dislike dummies. My first never had one and never needed it. Second sucked his thumb and may have benefited from it. Third has reflux that makes her extremely uncomfortable and the dummy has been a godsend for her. As her paed told me, dummies can be fantastic is used correctly."
" If they need a dummy give it to them and if not then don't."
"It's up to the baby if they like it or want it. 👶🏼😉😉 for me was not fussed either way."
"It's up to the individual baby. We offered it over a number of weeks, but he wasn't interested so we left it. Its a blessing long term but if he had wanted one we would have happily given it to him."
"It sort of depends on whether the child takes to it or not... my son never wanted it. Every baby responds differently 😀."
"As a parent you need to weigh up that option and the pros and cons for the present and future. Its all about what suits you and your child 😊."
"Just go with what u think is best for u and your baby, they'll let u know if they like it or not."
"My preference is whatever makes life easier for the mum and baby! There are no rules when it comes to motherhood, we are all just winging it and trying to do the very best we can." --------------------------------------------------------------
Alternative to thumb-sucking:
"Dummy. My son sucked his thumb till he was 7... it wouldíve been a lot easier to remove a dummy."
"I'm not an advocate for the dummy, but it's a lot easier to get rid of the dummy when you have a thumb sucker. My lil miss who is 2 is only on the dummy at sleep time where, she was constantly sucking her thumb even during the day."
"My second who is only 6 weeks sucks her fingers so I introduced a dummy, in the hope of avoiding thumb sucking. I just figured it will be easier in the future to wean her off a dummy rather than her thumb."
"Try to give them a dummy. Then withdraw it at 6-12 m. That's the hard part. That should prevent them becoming thumb suckers. Unfortunately mine wouldn't take a dummy and I have a thumb sucking addiction to try to work on in my 4 yr old. Thumb sucking causes serious dental complications." (Dentist)
"Dummy! It's easier to take the dummy away then the thumb👍🏼... plus, we only had it for the first year then we took it away as it can hinder their speech. And they get too depended on it."
"Was all for no dummies and then they were both born with hand blisters from sucking on hands and thumbs inside me. Easier to remove a dummy... I think it may have been frowned upon if I cut off their thumbs when they got to 2!" --------------------------------------------------------------
Assistance for a premature baby's development:
"For us it was a big part of my girls development. My girl was 10 weeks prem and we had to use one as it helped her to start developing her suck reflex, which in turn helped her suck feeds instead of being fed through a tube for longer."
" I had prem babies and hospital advised it's a good tool for learning how to suck. Unfortunately my babies learned to spit the dummy out before learning to suck."
"After sucking my thumb well into primary school, I figured that you can remove a dummy but you can remove a thumb."
"We had to give our bub a dummy when she was in special care."
"Yes for my twins. They was born at 32.3 weeks it helped them to understand sucking and getting full from tube feeds." --------------------------------------------------------------
Helps baby and family to sleep better:
"Dummy but only as a sleep aid. And I'm hoping to get rid of it before 6 months but we'll see how that goes!"
"It also gave us ALL a lot more sleep which helped when returning to work. When the time came to get rid of it, we had no issues. For sleep/nap times fantastic, didnít really give her the dummy unless she was sleepy."
"Dummy. My son finds it soothing and I slept better. Happy baby and mum."
"Anything that will help to calm and sooth the baby and let the mama have a rest, and stay insane for both of the baby and the mama."
"My boy loved it for sleeping. And then one day some weeks ago he left it somewhere outside. That was the last one we had. Well he cried a bit for 2 days and he forgot :). He is 20 mths now."
"I was reluctant to dummy. but my boy just wanted to suck! it has allowed me to keep some amount of sanity. And once I found out that the SIDS association approve the use, than that kind of justified it as well."
"Every parent has different views on the subject however for me i found the dummy helps to settle her shes not a crying baby tho but it soothes her when shes upset."
"We loved our dummy and has been wonderful for my boy since birth. Dummy was great when he was learning to self settle!"
"I always swore I wouldnít give my kids a dummy.... then they were born! Haha 😂 Both have had dummies and now Iím all for it, do what ever it takes to sleep. But after 2 the dummy has to go in our house, thatís an age where learning how to talk is important and starts becoming clearer if they donít have the dummy constantly."
"Iím a mum and a Speech and Language therapist, but I do think dummies are absolutely fine when used appropriately. My 18 month old is very attached to his, but we try and use just for sleeping or when heís very tired or upset." --------------------------------------------------------------
Helps with other needs:
"Was very against dummies for a long time but have realised that they help little ones reflux and settles tummy. I still donít love them but believe they have their place. Each parent does what they think is best and right for their family, who am I to judge."
"It helps his pain levels and his wind!"
"Dummy for sure. Offers a great level of comfort for them."
"We have a five month old and he uses a dummy. It has been so helpful, due to severe colic and teething."
"Dummy or my bub bites her fingers constantly which causes her to get finger infections 😧."
"Dummy - when both our kids needed extra comfort because they were sucking and crying due to wind or reflux it was our lifesaver. Our second doesnít take it really but it does help him settle sometimes."
"My son need dummy for comfort when he felt worry, anxiety or nervous."
"Dummy.... Mainly because he was using my nipples as a pacifier and they were cracking, and he wouldn't let his daddy settle him. It has been a life saver in this house. Although I dread the day we go to get rid of it..... Haha. Future problem though!"
"Didn't want to use it but teething and other discomforts of my child convinced me otherwise."
"As a mum to two reflux babies, theyíve been a necessity."
" I gave my little boy a dummy just to give my boobs a break, he only had one for the first year."
"First time round I didnít plan on using a dummy, but when she had colic, it was the only thing that soothed her." --------------------------------------------------------------
"Omg I hate the dummy 😰😰My little poppet is almost 2 and loves her ďNummyĒ. I have no idea how to get rid of it ... but I canít just take it off her she loves it."
"No dummy. Never offered it and learnt to self settle."
"I used the dummy but they caused a lot of issues with her teeth. The two that had dummies have needed braces the two that didn't, didn't."
"We didn't use a dummy. Do not regret it. Our little one was never one to pick up random things and put them in her mouth (we believe this is due to no dummy as all her cousins did/do and all had/have dummies) and she didn't have disturbed sleeps due to dummy falling out (which meant neither did we)."
"I have never seen the point. Not meaning this in a judgemental way, in all seriousness I just used to rock my son to soothe him. I don't know why they need it?"
"Honestly I never liked them so never used them. I love babies mouths and hate seeing them covered....That and it's just one more thing for me to forget and lose."
"Our choice with both kids was no dummy. I personally didn't like the look of them, I didn't want my kids relying on a piece of plastic for comfort, I found them more like a plug that people use to keep their kids quiet. Was it hard without one - YES... did I doubt my decision - many times!"
"I tried so so very hard to get both my girls to take a dummy. They wouldn't. So no dummies here."
"I tried with both kids to take the dummy either would not have a bar of it."
"Trying to get rid of them after they reach a certain age might prove to be difficult. I also heard they can cause teeth problems. Iíve got a few friends who have struggled with night time sleeping because the baby loses the dummy during the night then cries until it gets it back. Iím not against dummies at all and have absolutely no judgement of those who use them, I just donít really see the need is all."
"No dummy for any of our children. We chose this approach mainly because we didn't want to teach a behaviour that we would only have to get them to unlearn in a couple of years time if we didn't have too."
" I chose not to because it was just another thing to wean them off but I can see why people use them."
"Not. I find them conflicting. It's everyoneís own choice, but for me, its given to soothe, but then take it away. I feel they spoil a babyís beautiful face. My two havenít had one & been happy babies. We all do thinks our own way though do what we need to get through."
"Although offered, neither of my girls took to them. As a mum and Speech and Language Therapist I would also advise they are weaned off the dummy no later than 12 months otherwise it can affect tongue movement for speech and limit opportunities for babbling." --------------------------------------------------------------
Tips for weaning your child off their dummy"
"I took my girl to Build A Bear & she got to stuff her dummies inside a teddy bear as a way of saying good bye & she knew that once they were gone that was it. About 2 days later she found one at home must have missed that one 😂) she showed me & said its yucky & she put it in the bin lmao. You could tell her santa needs the dummies for all the babies? Leave them in a box christmas eve then bin them & just donít give in. If she asks you just say the babies have them now 🤗"
"For when you want to lose the dummy, cut the top off all then all and let her see they're broken and she can throw them in the bin 😊 When she asks for one explain they are in the bin where she put them. They seem to take that better."
"Encourage them to leave the dummy in an obscure place like behind sofa, under table etc on Xmas eve. Santa will take the dummy for a baby that needs it and replace it with a present as a thank you."
"I think if they're under 18 months it's definitely easier to wean them off, I just started only giving him a dummy for naps & bedtime and then one day I just forgot to give it him at all, he didn't seem to miss it so I carried on just not giving it him 😊"
"Sometimes you have to go cold turkey with kids and just not give them a dummy, might be fussy/crying for the first few nights but they soon forget at that age."
Do you have any suggestions to help wean children off their dummy? Let us know!
I'm a first-time mother and I've found that I can't go out with my son without somebody giving me advice on how to raise him. There seems to be a general assumption that new parents have no idea about children, and it is everybody's duty to share their wisdom.