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Should I give my premature baby a dummy?

If you wish to give your premature baby a dummy or soother there's a number of important things to consider.

Check out this specialist dummy for babies born from 34 weeks

  • A premature baby will often have an under-developed sucking reflex
  • All babies need to be able to co-ordinate the suck-swallow-breathe pattern of feeding
  • This reflex doesn’t develop until 32-34 weeks gestation
  • Some premature babies will have an urge to suck, but because they aren’t coordinated with the S-S-B pattern, its best to offer a dummy
  • If baby is unable to be held for skin-to-skin or too unstable to come out for a cuddle, sucking on a soother may keep them calm and settled
  • Sucking on a soother can also help keep baby calm during painful procedures
  • Using a dummy can help develop facial muscles in premature babies
  • If your baby is receiving CPAP in the NICU, using a soother can help them keep their mouths closed, maintaining pressure in their airway
  • There is evidence that babies who establish their S-S-B co-ordination sooner than others have a shorter stay in the NICU
  • If you decide to give your premature baby a dummy, it might be worthwhile restricting this once baby is ready to establish breastfeeding - dummies can cause nipple confusion (research is ongoing)
  • Some research suggests that using a dummy when putting baby to sleep can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome 
  • Don’t force your baby to take a dummy or put it back in if baby spits it out
  • Choose a specialist dummy for premature babies like the Jollypop Neonatal Pacifier


Ask your NICU nurse if your premature baby can have a dummy

Nurses on the NICU will always ask for your consent before they offer baby a dummy or soother. Speak to them if you have any questions with regards to making this decision for your little one.


Which dummy to buy?

Check out the Jollypop premature baby dummy. In studies it was the preferred option by Neonatal Nurses. Read the product description to find out more.

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