Many parents wonder what is the best dummy for newborn babies. Take a look at this rundown of everything you need to know when it comes to using this parenting tool.
Note: This is general advice. Speak with your health professional if you have specific questions about dummy use.
A brief history of the dummy
Baby dummies (or pacifiers or soothers in different parts of the world), have been around for at least 3000 years. Parents have tried their hands at coming up with many different dummy styles for centuries, using clay, wood and even gold. Some parents even soaked fabric dummies in brandy (obviously, this is not recommended today).
Today a mum has a variety of dummies to choose from. Most of the dummies are now made from Liquid silicone rubber and come in various shapes, designs and offer a wide range of benefits from soothing, calming to improving oral health and proper development of teeth.
How to choose
a dummy for a newborn baby
Take a look at our guide to the best dummies for newborn babies.
Why do babies like dummies?
The first thing to go in a baby’s mouth is her own fingers in the womb. This is a natural part of building reflexes.
When they are born, babies have an instinct to suckle. Even when they are no longer hungry, many babies continue to make this motion because they find it to be calming.
‘Suckling’, is described as non-nutritive action, a front-to-back movement of the tongue. The tongue is deeply cupped and this allows the infant to extract liquid from a breast or bottle while feeding.. It is the same motion children use when suckling on a dummy.
The instinct to suckle and then suck is very strong. However, babies cannot always be at their mother’s breast. And while a baby may happily suck on anything, only a carefully designed, high-quality dummy will support healthy development.
How to choose a dummy?
The most important factor when searching for the right dummy for a newborn is quality.
Poorly designed and bad quality dummies can have a bad effect on the healthy development of children’s jaws and teeth.
Be aware that despite all your research and care, your little one may simply not like certain dummies. Babies are people and have their own individual tastes and preferences. Be prepared to try a few alternatives before your baby settles on the perfect soother.
Speaking of storing, some dummies also come with a box. MAM Baby Australia’s helpful collection includes a steriliser box, which you can use to ensure your baby’s dummy is free from bacteria.
Best dummy for newborn babies
The best dummy for newborn babies is extra soft, small, and safe. Look for an orthodontic design, a flat shape, and high quality, soft silicon such as MAM skinsoft™.
Make sure the plastic shield has large holes and dimples where it sits near the skin as this allows air flow and reduces rashes and skin irritation. Also, make sure to check for BPA-free materials (although very few dummies won’t meet this qualification these days).
If you can, choose a dummy designed with the help of medical experts.
Best dummy for babies 3 months +
A lot of the same rules apply but at this age, latex is a suitable option as well as silicone.
Naturally, dummies will be a little larger once a baby is three months old. It is vital that your dummy be orthodontically approved as this is when bub’s teeth start to come in.
Again, see what your child likes and be prepared to try out a few options.
Find a dummy with a thin, flexible teat which allows for more natural mouth closure. This has been clinically found to support healthier oral development. You can also seek out a dummy that has a round-edged shield so it is gentle on your baby’s cheeks and lips.
If your baby has sensitive skin, choose a MAM Air dummy, which prevents irritation and reddening. These are ideal in a very warm or very cold climate. The added benefit of these dummies is being able to see your baby smile!
Best dummy for babies 12 months +
The biggest change in dummies as your child transitions from baby to toddler is size. Again, make sure your child’s dummy is orthodontically approved and has good, large air holes in the shield. This helps prevent skin rashes.
It is important to choose a high quality dummy that has all of the relevant health and safety approvals. Once you have found a dummy your baby likes, buy a few spares. Keep one in your bag for emergencies. Good dummies come with covers so they can be stored safely.
You can also find dummies for older babies with their own steriliser boxes (see below in this article for how they work).
Different types of dummies
Dummies don’t just come in different sizes. Choose from a few different styles.
As mentioned, newborn soothers are made from silicone. They tend to have a smaller teat for smaller mouths (this means they are flatter). They are also more lightweight.
The best dummies for newborn babies must meet all health and safety requirements.
MAM Air dummies are a helpful option for babies with sensitive skin.
With their extra-large air-holes, MAM Air dummies allow for maximum airflow, which reduces skin irritation.
The MAM Air is also available in the MAM Mini Air for newborns, making them one of the best dummies for babies.
MAM Comfort is a great option for newborns. It is made from one single piece of silicon so cleaning and sterilising is easier. The shield is also carefully designed to allow for minimum skin contact, reducing irritation.
Each of these dummies is also a great dummy for a breastfed baby. Once again, it is worth trying out a range of different MAM dummies to see which your little one likes best.
You will also want to make sure that you have spares, as dummies have a tendency to go missing!
Night soothers are curved for maximum comfort and glow in the dark so parents and babies can find them easily.
Look for skin-soft silicon, dummies for your baby to use at night.
As any mum or dad with older kids will tell you, being able to find your baby’s dummy in the dark is invaluable.
MAM Night Soothers are a great option.
When shopping for dummies, these are some additional features which your child may respond well to:
A thin, flexible teat
Allowance for more natural mouth closure
Clinically proven to support healthy tooth and jaw development
Developed in conjunction with orthodontists and pediatric dentists
Made from SkinSoft™ Silicone – for easy acceptance
Available in a practical, sterilising carry box for convenient and time-saving sterilising in the microwave
MAM Baby’s Perfect Dummy ticks all the boxes above. You can find it for sale here.
How to take care of a baby’s dummy
A dummy goes in your baby’s mouth so it is very important you keep it clean and sterilised.
Other than getting straight into the bloodstream, through the mouth is one of the most efficient ways for germs to get into the body. By making sure your dummies are properly cleaned and sterilised you will help keep your little one happy and healthy.
Sterilising soothers correctly
Keep soothers clean – even if they’re new
A brand new dummy should be sterilised before your baby receives it.
Even though it may be in a sealed package, the dummy may have been sitting on a dusty supermarket shelf for weeks. There is no point in taking a risk.
Press the air out of the teat first: This keeps the heat from causing the air to expand inside the teat which can damage it. It also gets rid of some of the germs lurking inside.
Boil for about 5 minutes: This gives time to boil away any germs without damaging the dummy.
Make sure your pot is full enough: Your dummies should be well covered by the boiling water. If the pot boils too low, the dummy can stick to the bottom and burn.
Use a separate pot: Having a specific pot for bummy sterilising makes sure that it is as clean and safe as possible.
Knowing how important it is to keep your dummy sterilised, you also must know how to do so properly.
The most common technique is to boil your dummies in a pot of water. When doing this, keep this few point in mind:
Some people recommend popping your dummy in the kettle while it boils or pouring boiling water over your dummies. These tactics are possibly ok in a pinch.
However, these methods won’t sterilise your dummies effectively because there isn’t enough time to kill the germs.
Other dummy cleaning techniques
Chemical sterilising solutions: Many companies produce steriliser solutions that go that extra mile when sterilising. Most of these require you to drop a tablet into the boiling water with your dummies. Make sure to read the directions on the packet carefully.
Practical dummy boxes: Many of the best dummies for newborn babies are sold with special boxes that make it possible to sterilise them in the microwave. Not only is this easy and convenient, it actually helps to reduce your carbon footprint. For instance, our MAM sterilising and transport box reduces your CO2 emissions by up to a whopping 77% and saves energy at the same time. Check out the video here to get an idea how these boxes work.
Steamers and vaporizers: Steamers and vaporizers utilise the heat in steam to sterilise dummies. There are options available for use with or without a microwave.
Never lick or suck a dummy clean yourself.
This may transmit germs between you and your child. Also, don’t put your dummies in the dishwasher. The chemicals in dishwasher cleaning agents damage dummies by making them hard and brittle.
How often should I sterilise and how long do I need to keep sterilising dummies for?
The rule of thumb is to sterilise everyday for newborns and babies up to nine months old.
Keep an eye out for when your little one starts the ‘oral’ phase. This usually happens at around three to four months but can vary widely. It is easy to spot because it’s when they start to put everything in their mouths!
At this point, you can start to sterilise a little less often because your baby is building its immune system. Of course if the dummy hits the floor somewhere very dirty, you should sterilise it.
Keep in mind that this only applies to dummies. Bottle teats still need regular, thorough sterilising because they have milk going through them.
Dummy sterilising tips
Your baby’s dummy should be sterilised before you first use it. To sterilise a soother, either boil it in a pot with sufficient water for 5 minutes or soak it in a mixture of water and sterilising fluid.
There are several ways to ensure germs are completely removed from a dummy:
Practical dummy boxes
Steamer/vaporiser - microwaveable sterilisation containers use heat and steam to sterilise soothers. However, there are also devices in which bottles and/or soothers can be sterilised using steam – i.e. without needing a microwave.
Chemical sterilisation solutions: These usually involve dissolving tablets in boiled water, immersing the dummy to be sterilised in the solution, and “bathing” it for a certain period of time (see instructions supplied in the packaging).
Dummies and COVID
During the current COVID-19 crisis, you may wish to establish a higher than usual hygienic standard for baby products. It is advisable to sterilise bottles, teats and dummies before each use.
The best way for sterilising products from Mam Baby Australia is in the microwave, using the self-sterilising function of the MAM Easy StartTM Anti-Colic bottle and of the practical steriliser box of our dummies. This is fast and uses much less energy compared to boiling. Following this process doesn’t only kill bacteria, but it most probably also reduces or kills viruses like the COVID-19.
Recommendations for dummy use
Take a look at some further recommendations for dummy use:
If you choose to give a dummy to your child, be clear on the advantages and disadvantages of using one.
Breastfeeding mothers are advised to offer a dummy only when breastfeeding has been established, usually after the first 4 to 6 weeks 1-4.
Dummies can be offered to bottle-fed infants from birth.
If being used, dummies can be offered for all sleep periods.
There is no need to force your child to use a dummy if they don’t want one.
You don’t need to put your baby’s dummy back in if it falls out while they sleep.
Don’t coat a dummy in anything sweet like honey or sugar.
Clean and replace your child’s dummy regularly.
Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about dummy use.
There comes a time to say goodbye to the dummy. Some children move on from their dummy naturally as they mature. Others get very clingy!
Parents share a range of methods to minimise and end dummy use such as:
The ‘dummy fairy’ who takes away dummies in exchange for a small toy
Gradually cutting dummy use back to only at home, then only at night, then not at all
Going cold turkey (this won’t work for everyone)
Replacing the dummy with a chew-friendly pendant for the child to wear (this is best for older children)
Speak to your health professional about how to transition away from dummy use when the time comes.
MAM Dummies and Baby Supplies
The safety of dummies
Red Nose Australia shares that dummies are a weapon in the fight against SIDS.
Here is a small amount of information from their website about the role dummies play:
There is strong evidence that dummies are associated with a reduced risk of sudden infant death when used consistently.
Mechanisms that provide this protection are not understood and pacifier use may possibly be a marker from something else, as yet not identified.
Dummy use is associated with advantages including a reduced risk of sudden infant death, and effective infant settling
You can read more detail about dummy use and SIDS here.
For the very best dummies for newborn babies up to toddlers, MAM is an excellent option. All our products are produced through the highest standards of research and meet rigorous international standards.
Make sure to visit our website for all the details on our range of dummies, anti colic bottles and more.
MAM products have been helping parents successfully soothe and feed their babies for over 40 years.
There is a proud history of innovation – with MAM’s focus directed firmly on the health and care of the child.
With MAM, we help you take the guesswork out of taking care of your babies. So stop guessing. Be sure with MAM.
Only the highest level of safety
Every MAM innovation is a result of years of meticulous research, tests, and improvements.
Our products have been approved by scientists, doctors, professors, designers, and certainly other mums too!
When it comes to your child, there is no room for compromise.
That’s a promise.
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