Ditching The Dummy
Do I need to ditch the dummy?
It maybe a sleep shock to hear a sleep consultant say this but I’m very pro dummy and my general advice is always don’t rush to ditch it especially without looking at other reasons why your small might be sleep struggling first!
Did you know? Using a dummy for the first 6 months is recommended for the prevention of SIDS
Is the dummy the cause?
In my experience it’s very rare the dummy is the solo reason behind a sleep struggle, I actually can’t remember the last time I suggested ditching the dummy to a family unless they wanted to!
There are 5 likely reasons your small is sleep struggling:
- Mismanaged reflux: I’m not saying if your small wakes up frequently through the night they’ve got reflux but if there’s any history or instinctive feeling of reflux this is always ruled out first.
- Over-tiredness: When overtired your small produces cortisol AKA baby red bull and this has a huge impact on their sleep. This is the most likely reason why your small’s sleep is unsettled AND the first thing we look at.
- Over-tiredness is the most likely reason your small is struggling to sleep
- How we support them overnight: Meeting your smalls emotional needs at night is NOT spoiling or creating bad habits but making sure they‘re asking for support is key to a settled night’s sleep
- Bedtime block: Sometimes HOW they go to sleep at night can block them linking their sleep cycles. Again this is rare and we don’t look at this until all of above have been checked
- Teething, illness, Wonder Weeks, DUMMY: These *may* cause a sleep struggle but on their own they‘re unlikely to be the only reason your small is sleep struggling.
Is the dummy a bad habit?
I honestly don’t believe in bad habits, negative sleep associations or getting it wrong. If the dummy isn’t an issue for you it shouldn’t be for anyone else.
When should I ditch the dummy?
As above if it’s not an issue for you and it’s not impacting sleep there’s no rush really. My suggestion is to it when it feels right for you and your small.
If you do decide to ditch the dummy every small is different but there are caring ways to ditch it if crying it out isn’t your thing.
Doing the dummy Dance
If you find yourself doing the dummy dance and are constantly putting it in for your small to just spit it out again try to be mindful that they’re asking for you to replace it. Sounds so simple but when you’re exhausted it’s easy to do the dummy default and pop it straight back in on auto pilot!
Use it or lose it!
If the dummy is staying the aim is to get them using it independently with practice.
Placing lots of dummies in and around their cot can help them find one themselves at night
Try to wait until they’re communicating clearly to you they want their dummy back.
If they keep spitting it out try to wait until they ask for it back instead of doing the dummy default.
If you need to help them replace the dummy pop it in their hand then guide it to their mouth. This helps them link what they need to do and practices their hand to eye coordination.