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19th Jul 2019

Sucking your baby’s dummy to clean it could have a serious health benefit for them

Do you do this?

Anna O'Rourke

It might seem a little manky, but it looks like it’s actually a good thing!

Lots of us do it, but did you know that sucking your baby’s dummy to clean it off before letting them have it could actually be very beneficial for them?

A new study suggests that mums who do this could be boosting their child’s immune system.

Scientists found that sucking the dummy helps to pass healthy microbes from mum’s mouth to baby, reducing the chances of allergies.

The research, presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology this week in Seattle, involved 128 mothers of infants.

They were asked how they cleaned their little ones’ soothers over a period of a year and a half.

Sucking your baby's dummy to clean it could have a serious health benefit for them

Just 12 per cent of the mums answered that they used their mouth, while the vast majority (72 per cent) said they washed them by hand.

The babies of the women who sucked their dummies had lower levels of Immunoglobulin E than the others.

Immunoglobulin E is an antibody that increases a person’s risk of developing allergies and asthma.

While the researchers concluded that further study in the area was needed, they said the results suggested that mum sucking baby’s dummy was a good thing.

“We know that exposure to certain microorganisms early in life stimulates development of the immune system and may protect against allergic diseases later,” lead author Eliane Abou-Jaoude said.

“Parental pacifier sucking may be an example of a way parents may transfer healthy microorganisms to their young children.”