DEAR DEIDRE: EVEN though I’m an adult woman, I like sucking on a baby’s dummy.

It feels so comforting and it doesn’t hurt anyone else, so why do I feel ashamed?

I’m 28 and have always had a strong oral fixation. I suck my thumb, bite my nails, chew pencils and used to smoke, though I’ve given that up.

I started this new habit when I saw a woman pushing a toddler in a buggy, and the child was happily sucking on a dummy.

Suddenly, I felt the urge to buy one for myself. Popping it in my mouth was so lovely. I felt blissed out.

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Since then I’ve bought several dummies and use them regularly.

Nobody knows that I use dummies whenever I’m stressed. I even keep one under my pillow.

I’d die of embarrassment if my friends found out.

Is there something wrong with me? Should I stop?

DEIDRE SAYS:  Oral fixations are not uncommon.

The psychoanalyst Freud believed some people develop an unmet oral need in childhood, which carries through to adulthood. But this idea has been largely discredited.

Using a dummy to soothe stress is pretty harmless.

Nobody needs to know. But it could cause problems to your teeth and jaw so make sure you see your dentist regularly.

If you want to stop, ask your GP about cognitive behavioural therapy, which could help.


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