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Thread: The thumb vs the dummy - what's your opinion?

  1. #19
    DoubleK Guest

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    Krystal has never had a dummy, she was never much of a 'crier' as a little baby, althought when she was about 3 months, untill about 1 year old, she would suck on her two middle fingers(pinky and pointer sitting each side of her nose - very cute :P) while she was asleep..

    i have breastfed since birth, and still going strong, but i do feel though that she uses me as a dummy, as she has always fed to sleep (buts thats another problem all on its own..) and now she tends to stay attached untill i literally pull her off (ouch!) and lay her in bed she has her mouth open looking for her boobie for about 15 seconds, then she's right.

    i cant offer much experience, although i imagine trying to wean krystal will be a tough a job as trying to take the dummy away, or stop thumb sucking!


  2. #20

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    My DD has always been a sucker and to stop her sucking her wrist not long after birth (she had blisters in utero!) we gave her the dummy.

    There are a couple of additional concerns (apart from having to wean them off it at a certain point) at having a dummy-addict, once your child is a toddler:

    1. It can inhibit their speech development, because it muffles their sounds anyway, but also stops them forming words correctly with their mouth; and

    2. It can stop them learning to bite/chew correctly if it's overused (same thing as no 1)

    Because these 2 are only going to occur if the toddler is sucking the dummy often/constantly, I avoided it by only giving her the dummy to sleep. She hands the dummy back to me when she wakes up happily and I put it in her bed for her at nap or bed times.

    I never had a problem with her losing the dummy during the night and waking up for it. She doesn't usually sleep sucking it all night but managed to find it herself after a certain age. She doesn't wake up when it drops out, so it might not happen!

    Quote Originally Posted by Erin_25 View Post
    I've been told (though haven't tried it), that you can attach the dummy to chain whilst sleeping so they can learn to find it themselves as they are only short chains.
    I wouldn't recommend this as a chain (no matter how short) could still be a hazard for a sleeping child). They will learn to find it themselves without the chain.

  3. #21

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    I'm like Flea in that i have one of each. Oscar sucked his thumb from day dot and Will has been a dummy addict since leaving hossy. Really don't know what im going to do with #3 as they both have there downsides.

    For the first few years thumb sucking is great - they can always find it but then i will really worry about Osc's teeth if i can't stop him 9although haven't even tried yet). i sucked my thumb till i was 11 (sad but true - not in public i dont think only at night) and i have the awful 'thumb sucking' teeth that you see on websites - top and bottom pushed out and gap in the middle. I even have a big dent in the roof of my mouth.

    So Will is the dee-dee man and it drives me potty - so many issues at night and not being able to go out without it in the day and trying to keep it cleanish. I really hate to see kids that can walk with dummies and always said that i would never let a kid that old have a dummy.... and here i am with my 19 month old toddling around with one in his mouth! It's just so difficult to try and get rid of, we are trying to wean it off him abit in the day but if he sees it then its all over-red-rover! i guess i'll have to wait till he's older and try the old - give it to the easter bunny for an egg trick or something similar!

    IMO dummy chains are a definate no-no for sleeping - only when awake as they really are a choking hazard.

    I'm sure this doesn't really help, just a long ramble by a mummy of each!

    Julie x

  4. #22

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    I dislike dummies. I dislike the way SiL used to stuff a dummy in her daugher's mouth every time it opened - she had a dummy constantly until about 18m. She didn't speak until just recently, she was too used to just grunting with a dummy in place. I also think they look awful, just awful! I know some people think thumb-suckers look bad, but to me, dummies look worse. They are used to "dumb" a child, to stop the child talking or communicating verbally. Crying is communicating, we should try to solve the problem not shut the child up. I know most people here use dummies when baby just wants to suck, but many out in the world just use it to shut a baby up.

    DS had reflux and has had a dummy maybe 15-20 times in his life (he won't take one, he plays with it). He doesn't really like it. He sucks his toes (always has to be different, bless him) rather than his thumb. When I'm really upset I bite on my thumb, I'm sure it's because I was a thumb-sucker as a young child. How nice to still have an acceptable comfort object I can carry around even now!

  5. #23
    paradise lost Guest

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    I still suck my thumb when i'm tired or overwrought. I'm 27. I have never had dental issues relating to this, nor have i had orthodontic work. One dentist did remark that possibly the fact that i had no fillings until was 25 was down to the fact that every time you suck your thumb you make saliva which protects the teeth from acid and plaque (in the same way as chewing sugarfree gum does). I have been told on several occasions by dentists that i have remarkably stright teeth for someone who never had braces. I have a callous on my thumb, just below the knuckle, where my lower incisors rest when i suck. My parents tried more or less everything to get me to stop, and it didn't work. Unfortunately one tactic was that my father told me when i was about 10 that i looked like i was mentally deficient still sucking my thumb at my age. I am 97%ile on the IQ charts and i just thought "You need to stop being so judgemental about appearance then" and it made me perversely determined to continue. I don't think about it now, i just find i'm doing it sometimes. I do it enough that the callous is still there but i don't know how much that actually translates into.

    DD was given a dummy from 5 weeks, once BFing was established. SHe found her thumb at 8 weeks and didn't want the dummy after that. I don't really care too much at this stage. The degree of damage to the teeth depends on how the thumb is sucked. If the end of the thumb is almost against the soft palete, well back in the mouth, there isn't as much pressure on the back of the front teeth as if only the tip of the thumb is in the mouth. Apparently, i once read, possibly in a study but maybe not so don't quote me, BF babies tend to take the thumb farther back in the mouth than FF babies because the nipple is naturally drawn far back when they eat and the bottle teat isn't. So maybe that's why my teeth survived? DD was BFed and seems to suck her thumb well back, but it could be down to the shape of our mouths (genetic?) rather than that. That's another reason dummies used for a long time can be bad for teeth - the mouth grows but the dummy does not, so it reaches less and less far in as time goes on and puts more and more pressure on the teeth.

    Anyway, i guess you have the option of offering a dummy, but you can't really stop them thumb-sucking if they do it when they're tiny, even when they're bigger, you can't force them to stop. The current fashion for dead-straight teeth means very few kids DON'T get offered braces, regardless of if they thumb or dummy suck or not. So i guess if DD needs braces, whatever reason she needs them for, i'll deal with it as and when.

    Good luck deciding what to do.

    Bx

  6. #24

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    My thumb (and toe) sucking 4-month-old looks at me like I'm a complete idiot when I have, on rare occasions, tried to give her a dummy when she's been very agitated at bedtime. So I think they decide for themselves. She came out sucking her thumb!

    I agree with you Rosehip, I think dummies are often over-used to shut kids up rather than trying to find out what the problem is.

  7. #25

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    I was dead set against dummies up untill Izzy was a 2weekold - Then i brought one and found heaven!!! Oh how i praise the Dummy inventor! lol

    But i have to say i disagree with you rosehip - I don't use Izzy's dummy to "shut her up" and she is quite the intilligent little girl! Izzy gets her dummy when she's tired. from birth she was a comfort sucker , and destroyed my breast in the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding, i was almost giving up breastfeeding, untill i gave her the dummy, and my boobs had time to heal as she would no longer have to suck between feed... I think as with all baby products you have to use them appropriately and responsibly - commen sense.
    Last edited by Catastrophic; January 8th, 2008 at 07:02 AM.

  8. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosehip_Fairy View Post
    I dislike dummies. I dislike the way SiL used to stuff a dummy in her daugher's mouth every time it opened - she had a dummy constantly until about 18m. She didn't speak until just recently, she was too used to just grunting with a dummy in place. I also think they look awful, just awful! I know some people think thumb-suckers look bad, but to me, dummies look worse. They are used to "dumb" a child, to stop the child talking or communicating verbally. Crying is communicating, we should try to solve the problem not shut the child up. I know most people here use dummies when baby just wants to suck, but many out in the world just use it to shut a baby up.
    I totally agree with you, RF. From the outset I only gave my DD a dummy when she was going to sleep. Not when she was crying (bbs worked so much better then anyway!) and not when she was lying awake. I left the dummy by her cot and gave it only after she was laid down. By the time she was old enough to ask for it, she knew it was only for when she was going to bed. And I never use it when we're out (motion from the car/pram/carrier puts her to sleep, so I didn't bother introducing something that wasn't needed).

    It's not just about preventing the child speaking/speaking clearly either. The dummy actually does stop some facial muscles developing if it's overused. The sucking motion made with the mouth is an easy one and doesn't encourage all of the muscles around the mouth to move (needed for speech and proper chewing, etc).

    I am wondering if there would have been a good time when she was a bit younger to get rid of the dummy, but I guess at least she gives it to me in the morning and doesn't always want it in bed, so maybe she'll wean herself off it.

  9. #27

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    Oh, I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesnt like the look of dummies! I didnt want to mention it in case I was the only one. I've known parents who just shove a dummy in as soon as the child opens their mouth. I dont like that either as I do think, to some extent, its like plugging up their means of communicating.
    but having said that, do whatever works for you and your bub.

  10. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosehip_Fairy View Post
    They are used to "dumb" a child, to stop the child talking or communicating verbally. Crying is communicating, we should try to solve the problem not shut the child up. I know most people here use dummies when baby just wants to suck, but many out in the world just use it to shut a baby up.
    I think its wrong to say a dummy is used to "dumb" a child, it's there to sooth a child, comfort a child. I think you'll find any of the dummy / pacifier using parents in here use them for just that PACIFYING (meaning calming).

    Sure it may not look so nice to look at (I personally dont have a problem with it) but either does a child with a thumb stuck in their mouth constantly.

  11. #29

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    "I know most people here use dummies when baby just wants to suck, but many out in the world just use it to shut a baby up."

    Please note I was NOT saying everyone uses them to shut a child up. But I have yet to see many in the real world around me use a dummy when a baby needs to suck rather than to shut a baby up. They are called dummies because they are used to dumb the child, that's where the name comes from! Yes, some people use them as pacifiers, but others as dummies IYSWIM - not everyone uses the same object for the same thing.

  12. #30

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    This is just my opinion, from seeing babies and toddlers with dummies in constantly - so much so they are told to take the dummy out to eat food! I am NOT judging occasional use, I am just saying I dislike constant use and dislike the look of babies with dummies in - other people dislike the look of thumb-suckers, horses for courses really. I have SEEN babies and toddlers who do not/cannot talk because of the permanent dummy. That's why I don't like them. Because the minority of people misuse them. I don't like to see children suffering - IMO, delaying their development by a constant dummy is making the child suffer.

    Dummies at bedtime - if it works, great. Dummies when babies are unsettled and want a suck - great. Dummies because you want to watch the TV and your little one is babbling, not so great. Yes, I have seen that. Yes, I was disgusted. And no, I did not say anything. I am actually ashamed of that and wish I had.

  13. #31

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    Oh, dumb a child = shut them up. Not interfere with their intellect. "Dumb" means unable to speak. Yes, I know it also means stupid in today's language, but there is no other simple word for one who cannot speak, so the word dumb is still used in this context.

  14. #32

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    Apologies Shannon, I took "dumb them down" to mean the other meaning of dumb.

    I have always heard that dummie is from dumb, but I may be mistaken as I cannot find anything on that.

  15. #33
    paradise lost Guest

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    I have to spread the love Shannon, but great post matey

    Bx

  16. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosehip_Fairy View Post
    Apologies Shannon, I took "dumb them down" to mean the other meaning of dumb.

    I have always heard that dummie is from dumb, but I may be mistaken as I cannot find anything on that.
    Sorry, the literary side of me just had to check this one out!

    I looked up my Oxford dictionary of word histories and the term 'dummy' actually was originally used in the sense of a person who could not speak and was 'an imaginary fourth player in whist' (18th century). Apparently this gave rise to 'a substitute for the real thing' (a rubber teat, a blank round of ammo) and then 'a model of a human being' (in the 19th century).

    So in effect, when used to describe what we're talking about it's actual meaning is 'as a substitute for the real thing' (ie your nipple).

    As a side point, did you know in Aboriginal culture it is still quite common for elderly women to calm babies by giving them their bb to suckle on? I guess if you can't pop down to the shop to buy a dummy you use the best thing available!

  17. #35
    paradise lost Guest

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    It's a relatively common practice in some north african cultures too Jennifer, and girls of any age do it if they're caring for an infant and it's fretful. It means that by the time many girls give birth they already know concretely how to breastfeed from comforting younger siblings/relatives that way.

    Bx

  18. #36

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    Wow thats really interesting - I wouldn't think to use bb for settling Izzy now?!? it was always just a feed thing. . .

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