Using the Dummy
If you find that you are routinely re-plugging your baby’s dummy, then lot’s parents feel that they must simply get rid of the dummy to help this to improve, and the thought of this can seem quite daunting. It’s not always the case that removing the dummy will help your child sleep better, in fact, finding yourself replacing the dummy for your baby can indicate that they are not well rested and the more rested that you can help them to be the less dummy-runs you will need to do!
With a dummy user, you are certainly more vulnerable to sleep disturbance, as sucking on the dummy at bedtime and/or having a dummy put in their mouth over night, is a sleep association. This means that your child’s brain is registering the use of the dummy, even if they spit it out quite quickly after going asleep; the brain will now search for the dummy input as it cycles through sleep.
If your child is under-rested, over-tired or has inadequate positive sleep practices then this is where the problems really lie and working on these areas can help to reduce the amount of times you need to get up to service the dummy.
1. Establish my age-related feeding and sleeping balances outlined in my book The Baby Sleep Solution. This way you will ensure that your baby is waking, napping, eating and going to bed, in sync with their natural body clock. This alone can endeavour to reduce over-tiredness and allow your baby to go into a deeper, les interrupted style of sleep.
2. Understand that when you have a dummy user, then you may always have to do a dummy run here and there. Anywhere from 0-to 2/3 times over night would be considered fairly routine. The better rested your child is; the more precise your sleeping practises are, the less you need to do. However, the dummy does have a tendency to fall out of the cot, stick to the back of their neck and sometimes your child is laying on the dummy! So, you may find that you are on-call in this regard.
3. If your baby is 8 months plus then you can start to teach them to use the dummy themselves, always-100% of the time, put the dummy into their hand, guide their hand to the mouth and encourage a level of independence therein. Overtime, instead of putting the dummy in their hand, make their hand look for the dummy also encourage a higher level of ability and decreasing the amounts of time that your need to respond. Even if putting it into their mouth is the easier option, by making this adjustment, it is likely that the amount of times you need to get up reduces
4. When you go to help your child and help them find the dummy, avoid giving a quick rub of the forehead, tuck of the blanket or to turn them on their side, as this activity becomes a greater sleep association than the dummy.
It takes time to work through this, but be patient and kind to yourself and it will start to improve.
Lucy Wolfe, CGSC, MAPSC, H.Dip RM is a paediatric sleep consultant, Author of the bestselling book The Baby Sleep Solution, creator of “Sleep Through”, a natural bed and body sleep spray and relaxing rub, and mum of four. She runs a private sleep consulting practice where she provides knowledge, expertise and valuable support to families across the country. See www.sleepmatters.ie |087 2683584 or |firstname.lastname@example.org