Nurturing Sleep

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Dummy use and SIDS

Posted on June 22, 2015 at 3:50 PM

What about dummy use and SIDS?

From my experience dummies / pacifiers are either loved or loathed by parents! Sucking on a dummy can be very therapeutic for young babies, providing them with ‘non-nutritive’ sucking opportunities. Sucking is also the 5th ‘S’ within Dr Harvey Karps/Happiest Baby approach to baby calming along with swaddling, side position (back to sleep), shhhh, swing. Where they are loved or loathed, its good to be clear about the SIDS recommendations in relation to dummy use.

Along with room sharing and breastfeeding, dummy use is a factor that the lullaby trust associates with a decreased risk of SIDS. A study group from the America Academy of paediatrics reviewed 7 studies of dummy use and SIDS and consequently concluded that dummy use is associated with decreased risk of SIDS. Further 2 studies suggested that for babies who used dummies regularly the degree of protection from dummy use is lowered when a dummy is not given on occasional sleeps.

Therefore, the Lullaby Trust recommendations state that:

• dummies are introduced after breastfeeding is established (usually by 1 month) and gently withdrawn between 6-12 months to avoid adverse effects such as ear infections and dental malocculsion.

• The use of dummies is consistent within the baby’s sleeping routine

• A dummy is not forced on the infant or replaced if it falls out once the baby is asleep

• The dummy does not have any attachments on it (no cords around your baby's neck)

• The dummy is never coated with anything sweet

Download the Lullaby Trust's fact sheet about Dummy use here:

resource: Lullaby Trust evidence base 2014:

Categories: Parenting, Safe sleep and SIDS