GOLDEN RULE: Never put food on a dummy.
GOLDEN RULE: Never put food on a dummy. Design Pics

What you need to know about dummies

IN OUR last column we had a look at both the positives and negatives of dummy use.

This is a personal choice, but it's best to be well informed before you make a decision.

If you do decide to have your child use a dummy, then you need to know how to look after them and how to use them effectively - because misuse of dummies can sometimes cause some health complications.

Looking after the dummy

When your baby is under six months of age, they're especially prone to infections and you want to ensure their dummy isn't a potential carrier of a range of germs and bugs.

That's why it's important to not only wash the dummy, but also sterilise it. This is similar to sterilising bottles and any toys they may put in their mouth.

As your little one gets older, they'll become more resistant to infections and you can shift to washing the dummy with soap and water. This replaces sterilising. Just remember to always squeeze out any remaining liquid in the dummy.

Beyond keeping the dummy clean, you want to keep it well maintained. Make sure you regularly check the dummy to ensure it's in good shape and isn't being worn out.

If the dummy has broken or degraded due to wear and tear, then it's really important to replace it because any loose bits are a choking hazard.

Safe and effective dummy use

One of the big issues around dummy use is they can complicate breastfeeding and confuse your baby.

To make sure this isn't an issue, it's best to only offer the dummy when you're certain your baby isn't in need of a feed.

If you give them the dummy while they're hungry, your baby could start searching for the dummy instead of your breast.

If you do have this problem, you need to speak with a lactation consultant or one of our WBHHS child health nurses.

Unfortunately, we still see some parents who dip their baby's dummy in sweet drinks or food.

You should never do this because it causes tooth decay.

Lastly, it's a good idea to always have a spare dummy on hand because your baby is bound to drop the dummy without you noticing and then be upset when they want one.

Best to have a little back-up!

As always, if you have further questions about this or any other health issue for your child, please chat to your GP or visit our WBHHS child health team at the Margaret Rose Centre, 312 Bourbong St, Bundaberg; Alternatively, call your local WBHHS child health team on:

Bundaberg - 4150 2700

Childers - 4192 1133

Gin Gin - 4157 2222

Gayndah - 4161 3571

Mundubbera - 4161 3571

Monto - 4166 9300

Biggenden - 4127 6400

Eidsvold - 4165 7100

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