DUMMIES AND YOUR BABYS SLEEP
Whether you a pro dummy or not, this sleep tool is a way that naturally assists a baby in settling, bringing up wind and calming. There are many opinions on a dummy, and how it can affect a baby’s sleep, feeding and other - but today we are talking about how they can assist with the ease and transition into sleep, and when and how you can become stuck when it comes to using a dummy.
✖️Many new parents will often say their baby wont take a dummy. It’s an important factor to understand in the fist few weeks of life, that a baby is looking, primarily, for nutrition! And, a dummy has NO calories! So, it they aren’t taking a dummy, or settling when taking a dummy, they are likely hungry and the breast or bottle should be offered.
✖️Further, a dummy shouldn’t be used to ‘stretch out a feed’ for a newborn baby. Dummies do not replace calories, and for the sake of a hungry baby, yes, they may potentially take the dummy for another 15 or so minutes. But, by the time you are getting up overnight to feed that can already be overstimulated, extra hungry and begin to be frustrated or pull on and off the bottle or breast, resulting in a minimal and less efficient feed. Remember: Dummies can aid settling for wind or a naturally sucky baby, but they should never replace a feed.
✖️The types of dummies a baby can take varies, as each has a different palate and style they prefer! Many mums buy multiple dummies, but don’t persist for long enough with the same one. We find cherry tip dummies are the most popular with a baby as they sit nicely on the upper palate of the mouth and they can get a good grip to begin to suck. Ensuring your dummy is age appropriate! Which means the cherry or tip will be sized according to your baby’s developmental and growth, and the size of their mouth. Going with a 6+ month sized dummy first up can create a gag type response, and will result in refusal of a dummy.
✖️For newborns, when you are satisfied that they have had a decent enough feed and seem full, offering a dummy after a good winding session or to help them to settle off to sleep is perfect! To help them take the dummy, you can tug on the handle/loop when they begin to suck, causing them to take a stronger suckle and this encourages the calming reflex, and assist with settling. A baby’s natural way of settling is through sucking, one of Dr Karp’s specialized tips for newborn baby settling! When they have had enough or fallen asleep, they will likely either discharge or spit out the dummy from their mouth - so don’t try to force it back in if they have settled!
✖️The tricky age between 3-6 months can begin, when a baby responds well to their dummy for settling, however can begin to wake after realizing they have lost it at the end of a sleep cycle. From the age of 4 months, the dummy loses it's settling ability, and a baby can become reliant on it for sleep - so instead, they aren't settling with the dummy then ejecting it and falling asleep, more relying on it to fall asleep, then waking again once it's fallen out, wanting it to fall back asleep again.
✖️This is where dummies can become an issue! Remembering, how your baby falls asleep, is how they are going to wan't to fall BACK to sleep! If they are using it to calm down, relax themselves and eject it once asleep and sleep/link their cycles up, it's not an issue.
✖️There are two options you can move forward with here. Either re-plug the dummy until they can achieve the re-plug themselves closer to 6+ months of age, or, ditch it all together! We don’t recommend removing a dummy after the age of 8 months, or before 2.5 years. A dependency of this prop has set in by their age, and it is very difficult to have success through this process between this age group due to the reduced neurological development and understanding a baby or child has regarding a dependent item!
✖️Instead, use your dummy as a positive association! Which in turn means if you, as the parent isn’t required to get up 2 hourly overnight to re-plug, you’ve succeeded! You can teach your child to re-plug their own dummy in around 7 days or so, depending on the age, and there are some great sleep tools out there that can aid this step. Our recommendations are a sleepy tot or lovely comforter with dummies attached!
If you would like more info action on sleep associations, how you can teach your baby to plug their own dummy, or just sleep help in general - check out our sleep guides!