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Tizzie’s advice on dangers of dummy use

You may have seen in the news recently the story about a baby choking on their dummy, the terrified Mummy shared how she heard her 7-month-old son coughing in the early hours,  she never even considered he might be actually choking on his dummy.

Mummy shares terrified warning

The mummy shared her story to warn other parents of the serious danger with dummy use.

I just wanted to share a very scary experience in which had NEVER crossed my mind that could happen,” the mum said. “The past couple of weeks he’s had bronchiolitis. Shortly after 4.30am he had a full change from a vomit induced from coughing. He was popped on his back into his cot to resettle.

“I thought I heard him ‘coughing’ which was consistent over the last couple of weeks. After I heard a cry I went back in to find him covered in milk again. I eventually went back to check the footage and my heart sank. It never crossed my mind that he could get the dummy lodged in his mouth.

“Thank goodness for a strong gag/cough reflex. He definitely had an angel looking over him. I’m all for cot safety and wouldn’t even use a dummy clip. We are cold turkey no dummy now. But I would love to share some awareness about dummy safety.”

You can view the distressing footage here on Tiny Hearts Instagram the page of former paramedic and co-founder Nikki Jurcut.

Important info

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), all dummies sold in Australia must meet mandatory safety requirements. The shield size is an important one as the shield must be big enough to not fit entirely into the baby’s mouth.

Another important fact is the holes in the shield which allow air to pass through if a child accidentally swallows it.

Tizzie’s dummy concerns

As part of Save Our Sleep you would know from my books I only use a dummy when you are first establishing the routines to stretch a hungry baby when possible to the next feed time. I encourage parents not to use a dummy as a sleep aid because it causes sleep problems, ear infections and can be dangerous as the mum above stated.

Apart from incorrect bedding, dummies also cause a large percentage of sleep problems.

There are three main reasons why a baby with a dummy wakes more frequently than one without.

1. A baby with a dummy seems to find it harder to achieve a deep sleep, their intermittent sucking seems to disturb their sleep pattern.

2. A baby who goes to sleep with a dummy will wake up expecting to suck, but if the dummy has fallen out the baby will shout out for you to come and put it in again. Unfortunately, by the time you may decide to go in and replace the dummy, your baby is so awake, it is harder for her to get back to sleep, even when you have replaced the dummy.

3. I believe the constant sucking on the dummy tricks the body into thinking there is food coming, which causes them to digest their milk too fast and makes them hungrier than a baby without a dummy.

Dummy use appears to reduce the risk of SIDS, however I feel when you look at the side effects of using a dummy the reasons to not use a dummy outweigh this fact.

One major reason is babies who suck on dummies tend to be more prone to ear infections. Ear infections may bring on high fevers and the use of antibiotics which both have side effects of there own.

So what to do if you have a baby who is dependent on a dummy?

Tips for teaching a dummy-dependent baby to self-settle.

If your baby needs a dummy to go to sleep I recommend you read my advice on whether to use a dummy in Save Our Sleep baby on page 72. If you decide to remove the dummy, there are steps I recommend you follow in order to take it away and teach your baby to self-settle.

First, I recommend you follow my world-famous bedding guide and then adhere as closely as possible to the proven 24-hour routine for your baby’s age for a minimum of four days before you attempt to take the dummy away.

Then on the fifth day, at the first sleep of the day, remove the dummy and follow my settling guide for your baby’s age. You should throw all her dummies in the bin to ensure you are not tempted to use them again – even outside sleep times. Giving a baby their dummy outside sleep times will only cause confusion.

If your baby has a dummy but you rock, pat or feed your baby to get her to sleep, just take the dummy away on the first day of the routine, then take the other aid away on the fifth day. The reason for this is if your baby was really using the dummy as a sleep aid you would not need to help her with the second aid as well, so your baby is unlikely to be dependent on the dummy to go to sleep.

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