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November 20, 2019 2 min read

Whether your baby is a thumb sucker or using a dummy, both are deeply comforting and help baby’s self soothe, calm down and sleep.

Sucking is a non-nutritive and natural reflex in babies, with some babies having even sucked their hand or thumb in utero. Whether your baby ends up using a dummy or a thumb, each have their good and bad points.

A dummy can get lost, the thumb cannot. However, when it's time to kick the habit a dummy can be permanently deleted from your little one's life. This can be as easily as telling your child the dummy fairy came to collect it in the night!

Why Does My Baby Want to Suck? Sucking is an important reflex for survival, as it ensures the baby instinctively searches out the breast on birth. It can be triggered when a finger, breast, bottle or dummy is placed into the baby's mouth and pressure applied to the roof of the baby's mouth. Sucking when not hungry is an inbuilt coping mechanism for comfort. Whether you decide to reach for the dummy or allow your baby to suck their thumb - it's entirely up to you!

Pros and Cons of Using a Dummy

While it is the parent’s choice whether to introduce a dummy, we don’t have any say if our child chooses to suck their thumb. In terms of the benefits and disadvantages of using a dummy, they include:

• It is a quick effective soother, giving your baby a sense of security and comfort

• Dummies can be a source of germs for a baby, but can also be sterilised.

• It’s easier for an older child to abandon a dummy than to stop sucking a thumb

• Dummies are designed for good oral and dental development but will need to be checked for damage and replaced often

• A dummy can be attached to a Sleepytot, keeping it close by your baby to help them find it and put it back into their mouth Pros and Cons of Thumb Sucking Some of the pros and cons of thumb sucking include:

• A thumb can’t get lost, so your baby won’t get distressed trying to find it. I remember with my 2nd baby, reaching over into the back seat to show her where her thumb was as she was so upset but we couldn't stop! • Babies can find their thumb in the dark ... it's true!

• Thumbs are under the baby's own control • Prolonged thumb sucking may cause dental malformation by pushing the teeth forward

• Children may continue sucking their thumb long after they would have thrown out the dummy When introducing a dummy, it is best to wait until feeding is well established around 6 weeks.

By attaching the dummy to a Sleepytot, also stops you needing to do the middle of the night dummy runs! Whatever you or your baby chooses, be assured that the act of sucking is a deeply soothing and comforting natural practice.

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