It’s part of every basic equipment list for babies - the dummy. But does your child really need one? What tasks does it take on and what should you consider when deciding whether or not to give your baby a teat? We will give you the answers to these important questions.
What does a dummy do?
A dummy serves a natural need of your child - sucking. It sucks on the female breast in order to be supplied with breast milk. In addition, it has calming effects, because your baby can enjoy security and the connection to you. A dummy can also relax muscles while they are suckling. This allows them to calm themselves down when they are excited or insecure. This often results in a win-win situation: calm baby = satisfied parents.
It is also used if your child was born prematurely, because their sucking reflex is often not yet fully developed. The teat can help them learn to suck faster and thus be able to drink from your chest. However, there may be times when your baby craves less to be breastfed if they can satisfy their need to suckle with their dummy. As a result, less breast milk may be produced.
What you should pay attention to when using a dummy
It's perfectly fine if you want to give your darling a dummy. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. As you know, a dummy is intended to fulfil the child's calming reflexes. However, these positive properties reduce the receptivity of your sweetheart during the daily discovery of their environment. It’s best to be awake and interested in the stimuli that surround them.
Since their mouth is very important for researching objects and communicating with their family members, you should be careful not to continuously give your child a dummy for no reason. During social and verbal interaction with others, your baby learns to express their emotions through facial expressions and different tones. If you pull out the dummy immediately when your baby gets whiny, it may happen that they can no longer calm down without it.
It is therefore advisable not to see a dummy as a panacea, but always combine it with physical closeness and security through you as the parent. In these situations you can repeatedly test whether your child can do without a dummy after a certain time if you give them your attention and love at the same time. A teat can and should never replace this. If you choose to use a dummy, make sure it is soft and flexible. It also helps if it has the smallest possible diameter in the tooth and lip area, because this increases the likelihood that your child will eventually wean itself from the dummy, as it no longer fills the mouth sufficiently. It is by no means necessary to give growing children ever larger dummies. After all, the female nipple doesn't grow as your baby ages.
A dummy can be helpful in certain situations when your baby cannot be comforted in other ways. But it is important that you use it consciously and know that your child does not necessarily need it all the time.