Can Dummies Help With Sleep?
When I have my initial consultations with new clients, I often find that they seem embarrassed to tell me that they use a dummy with their baby. I always reassure them that, in many cases, dummies can be a great help in trying to get wee ones to sleep in the early months. They are perfect for babies with colic and reflux – the sucking motion helps to soothe a fractious baby, and they help to promote the production of saliva, which can help a baby suffering from reflux. Some research also suggests that using a dummy when putting a baby down to sleep can help to reduce the risk of SIDS, as the Lullaby Trust reports.
What If I Have To Keep Replacing The Dummy Multiple Times In The Night?
As your baby comes out of the newborn phase, where a dummy can be an invaluable tool in helping them settle, you can find that the dummy starts to become a bit of a hindrance to sleep and your little one’s ability to settle themselves. If you’re one of these parents, you’ll know exactly what I mean by “the dummy run” – having to get up what seems like hundreds of times a night to replace a lost dummy!
If your little one is around six months or so and you feel that the dummy is becoming an issue regarding sleep, there are ways to try and tackle it, which don’t mean you have to go cold turkey and have lots of tears.
• Teach your little one to grab and put in their dummy themselves – lots of practice during the day can help your baby perfect the art of reaching out and popping a dummy back in themselves, and most can do it reliably by 7 or 8 months. If you practice in their cot and always put the dummies in the same corner, they can pick it up even quicker. You can then pop a few in their cot with them when they go to bed, and they can then put their dummy back in if they wake in the night. You can even buy special glow in the dark dummies for just this reason!
• Try replacing the dummy with a different comforter – a special toy or muslin can help bridge the gap between using a dummy and sleeping independently.
• Be curious – try putting your baby down at bedtime without their dummy and see how they respond. They may surprise you! You can start this off gently by removing the dummy as soon as they fall asleep and then trying them without it at bedtime. Don’t worry if it takes a few goes and you feel your baby needs their dummy – you can make it a gradual transition.
I’m always here to help if you need some help, so please get in touch if you feel you need some extra support in moving away from using the dummy.
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Caro is a Senior Certified Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consultant® based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
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