Hospital spits the dummies

Hot 91.1 radio presenter Sami Muirhead with her 18-month-old daughter Avalon, who was given infant formula and dummies.
Hot 91.1 radio presenter Sami Muirhead with her 18-month-old daughter Avalon, who was given infant formula and dummies. Brett Wortman

ONE glimpse of Sami Muirhead with her daughter Avalon and you can tell she is a fabulous mum who would only do the best for her family.

But the Sunshine Coast radio personality struggled with feelings of self-doubt and depression after Ava's birth. Much of this centred around her difficulty to breastfeed and the decision to use a dummy.

These feelings flooded back after Sami read the Sunshine Coast Private Hospital's booklet for expectant mothers as she and her husband Sam Bohner prepared for the birth of their second child in nine days.

THE booklet, The Best Little Book, discusses the "detrimental effects of dummy use" and says the hospital "strongly discourages their use in a baby who is healthy and full term".

It also says infant formula is a risk in the early days.

The strongly worded advice made Sami feel as though she was giving her daughter "cocaine" in the form of baby formula when she was struggling to produce enough breast milk.

It also made her feel her baby was playing with a loaded gun when she was sleeping snugly with a dummy in her mouth.

"There is incredible pressure (to breast feed)," Sami said.

"All you are told are the negative effects. At no stage did anyone say to me, 'It's okay. You have tried. It's okay to give your baby formula'."

Sami and Sam were oblivious to the controversy around dummies when they gave one to Ava.

An innocent photo posted on her Facebook page of Ava sleeping with a dummy in her mouth sparked nation-wide debate.

Sami said the hardest part was coming to terms with the outpouring of advice from strangers.

"It was as if my entire parenting was being judged on daring to use a dummy."

It took Sami six months to "come out of the funk and be more confident in my choices".

And when the second baby does make his or her appearance, she will be better equipped to trust her own


"I will feel so much more comfortable. I know you can't really break them or damage them," Sami said.

"I'm going to try to breastfeed. If I can't, I won't feel like the biggest failure."

Sami will also have the support of hospital staff whatever she chooses.

Sunshine Coast Private Hospital general manager Terence Seymour said the hospital would also reconsider the wording in the booklet.

"If it is too harsh and the language is too overpowering, we will change it," he said.

The hospital and Nambour General follow the World Health Organisation's advice on the best treatment for newborns.


Dummies cause "nipple confusion"

Part fact. Research shows dummies can shorten the duration of breastfeeding

Dummies cause the Bugs Bunny look

Part fact. Prolonged use of dummies (beyond two years) can cause cross-bite (where the teeth do not align)

Dummies cause recurrent middle ear infections

Part fact: Research has suggested the use of pacifiers might increase middle ear infections

Dummies can be good for bub

Fact. In poorly developed babies, a hospital can give a pacifier to help with sucking

Some babies are born with a "sucky reflex" and need a dummy

Fact. But this applies in only a small percentage of cases

Topics:  babies childbirth health hospital parents

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Carmichael College holds inaugural Fun Day

UNIQUE: Cohen and Avaleigh are gearing up for Carmichael College's inaugural Family Fun Day after two years of operation.

Carmichael College holds inaugural Fun Day

How to beat shocking power bills

LIGHT BULB MOMENT: Amy and Dwight Croome's bright idea to save on power bills.

How to beat shocking power bills

Two-car crash shuts down part of Bruce Hwy

ON THE ROAD: Emergency services near the Eumundi Rd exit on the Bruce Hwy.

Woman injured in crash that closed part of the Bruce Hwy

Local Partners

Morayfield bushfire under control

Six crews attended the scene at around this morning and have worked to keep the fire under control.

REVEALED: Liam Gallagher is coming to Falls Festival

English musician, singer, and songwriter, former lead singer of the rock band Oasis, Liam Gallagher performs during his concert at National Olympic Sports Center in Beijing, China, 10 August 2017.

He revealed the news ahead of the official line up announcement

Jemma's bewitching voice

STAGE PRESENCE: Suzie Mathers and Jemma Rix in a scene from Wicked The Musical.

Wicked musical theatre star Jemma Rix has released her debut album.

This laughter yoga video will have you in fits of giggles

BEST MEDICINE: Karen Flannery is spreading happiness through laughter throughout Hervey Bay.

New members needed for a laughing good time

Reese Witherspoon on being a ‘has-been’ at 36

REESE Witherspoon might have an Oscar on her mantle and made millions at the box office but that hasn’t stopped people declaring her career is over.

RECAP: Game of Thrones s7 e6 - Beyond the Wall

Kristofer Hivju, Kit Harington, Iain Glen, Paul Kaye and Joe Dempsie in a scene from Game of Thrones.

*Warning this story contains spoilers about today's new episode*

Paul Kelly announces massive Australian tour

Paul Kelly is going on a 16-date national tour in November.

Music legend thrills fans with the announcement of a massive tour.

Survivor twist bound to shock

Sunshine Coast mum-of-three Tara Pitt.

TARA Pitt benefited from a shock twist on Australian Survivor.

The Block goes back to school with gorgeous kids rooms

Ronnie and Georgia's winning kids bedroom in a scene from The Block.

ONE magical bedroom received the first perfect score of the season.

What's on the small screen this week

Rob Collins and Jessica Marais in a scene from season two of The Wrong Girl.

JESSICA Marais returns in The Wrong Girl.

Playing Tom Cruise's wife was a dream for Sarah Wright

Tom Cruise and Sarah Wright in American Made.

The actress stars opposite Cruise in the action comedy

Investors quick to snap up property in key growth corridor

High-profile commercial site sells at auction for $4.920m

EXPLAINED: What the 'Costco effect' means for Ipswich

PRICE WARS: A Costco store similar to this one in Canberra, is planned for Ipswich.

Exclusive 'cult' about to change how families do grocery shopping

4800 homes to be built in massive new Coast estate

Masterplanned community full steam ahead - it's not Caloundra South

Open for inspection homes August 17 - 23

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection.

Airbnb, Stayz and co tipped to squeeze Coast housing market

HOLIDAY BOOM: Airbnb letting is putting a further squeeze on long-term rentals.

Councils exploring options to manage the industry

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!