Harper Beckham has been pictured sucking a dummy. And the world has gone a bit crazy about it

To dummy or not to dummy? It is one of the first dilemmas that all parents face.

Is it better to soothe your child now and deal with the consequences later (once you’ve all had more sleep) or suck up the late nights and feel smug when your child is dummy-free later?

Victoria Beckham unwittingly entered the dummy debate this week when her three-year-old daughter Harper was picture sucking a pink pacifier – and the world went a bit crazy about it.

One expert quoted in the Mail said sucking a dummy at the age of three can cause all sorts of health and developmental issues – namely protruding teeth and poor speech development.

Clare Byam-Cook told the paper: ‘Most people agree that prolonged use of the dummy can damage the teeth, by pushing them forwards and getting them misaligned.

‘It can also affect speech development, because so many mothers stick a dummy in their toddler’s mouth just to shut the toddler up. The toddler just sits there sucking away on its dummy and doesn’t talk or do anything…[Harper] should be looking at her surroundings and pointing things out to her mother but anything she says will be unclear because of the dummy, so she will get used to mumbling speech.’

Ouch.

Official NHS regulations recommend that you should wean a child off their dummy from the age of 12 months.

The NHS website states: ‘They may affect speech development. That’s why you should avoid using dummies after 12 months of age.

‘Thumb sucking and dummies won’t cause permanent problems as long as the habit stops by the time your child gets their second teeth, but it can be a hard habit to break.’

Plenty of parents have come out in defence of Victoria.

One wrote on a message board: ‘This will do less damage to her teeth than sucking her thumb. And really, it’s no one’s business. It’s not harming her. They have three wonderful boys who are much older than Harper who all turned out okay so far. I don’t think they need parenting advice. If she needs braces at 13, I’m fairly sure they can afford them.’

Another said: ‘My daughter had her dummy until she was in her final year of primary school. It was a comfort to her. She has perfect teeth never worn a brace. She has perfect speech. My other child still has milk in a bottle…. Big deal!! Don’t tell people how to raise their children. Only parents know their childrens needs. Too many busy bodies out there!!’

But others were less sympathetic.

‘Surely a three year old does not need a dummy during the day?’

Another said simply: ‘It looks horrible.’

What do you think? We’d love to hear your view on the dummy debate…

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