It’s quite a controversial topic wether to give a baby a dummy or not.
New mums always mention two things when it comes to dummies
1) they were initially against using one
2) when they did it was a life saver!
How can you really advise a mother to not use a dummy when it has helped them so much?
One of the main reasons mums utilise a dummy is that it helps their baby get off to sleep.
The other reason which is probably even more common is that their baby loves to continuously suck.
If the mum is breast feeding then they will suck on the mum for feeds they don’t really want and if they are bottle fed you will find yourself making up formulas they don’t really want either.
This can be really frustrating; and painful if you are breast feeding!
The reason is this; your baby wants to suck not feed.
And the most common reason to want to suck is to give relief to tension in their head or nervous system, basically it is calming for them.
The solution then is to actually relieve this tension so your baby doesn't need to suck on you or a bottle for relief.
The reason they like to suck is that it sucking releases calming hormones and also it actually gives mechanical relief to the tension in their head.
To help explain the mechanism behind this I ask parents to think about having to swallow to clear your ears when coming to land in a plane.
The motion of swallowing or sucking a sweet activates a mechanism in the cranial bones that gives relief to your blocked ears.
In cranial-sacral treatment terms we see a “sucky” baby as relying on the same mechanism.
"Cranial" treatment can actually help ease the tension in the baby’s head and body.
This has usually occurred from a delivered that has been long and needed venteous or forceps help, but interestingly babies born from a C-section, especially a planned one, are very fond of sucking too.
I tell parents that if the dummy is being a life saver and calming your baby then it would seem unfair not to use it.
You will also know that if your baby is calmer so are you.
However, a cranial osteopathy treatment can actually help the cause of the need to suck. It is very common that after cranial osteopathy treatment babies are far more content without the dummy and will drift off to sleep without them too.
This then gives you the opportunity to take the dummy away from them before it becomes too much of a habit.
If you would like to discuss treatment for you baby then please call 01444 410944.