Dummies and speech

Speech, Language and Communication  – Dummies and Speech

 Some parents choose to give their child a dummy, some choose not to. However, if you give your child a dummy, it is very easy for this to become a habit, even by the time the child has reached 12 months old.


  • A dummy can be used to comfort a baby that is hard to settle (please note that if the baby is breastfed, this should only be done when breastfeeding is established).


  • Dummy sucking may cause dental problems, mouth infections and ear infections.
  • Dummies make it difficult for your child to talk.


  • Do not let the dummy stay in your child’s mouth for long periods of time.
  • Do not secure the dummy in your child’s mouth – this could lead to choking.
  • Never clip the dummy onto your child’s clothes.
  • Do not dip the dummy in sweet, sugary foods or drinks – this may lead to tooth decay.
  • Never let your child talk with a dummy in his mouth.
  • Overuse of a dummy can have an effect on your child’s speech sound production and may lead to speech problems.
  • Use a dummy only for sleep times.

Useful tips for stopping dummy use

  • Prepare the child for stopping the dummy – talk about getting rid of it.
  • Choose a good time to give up the dummy, e.g. over a weekend and when you and your partner are not at work. Be prepared for sleepless nights.
  • Never give the dummy back to the child once you have said it has gone.
  • Your child could give their dummy away in return for a small present.

If you have any concerns, please contact your health visitor or a speech and language therapist.

©Lifestart Foundation 2018



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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.


The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also on www.MyChild.ie  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.


In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  


Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  


In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.ie website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at www.mychild.ie

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from healthy.childhood@hse.ie

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