The dummy is an amazing invention, it allows baby to suckle which is a natural and comforting way to help them relax and soothe them to sleep. It can also help with reflux (note here that this DOES NOT cure reflux and medical advice should be sought.) It has also been proven to help lower the risk of SIDS in babies under 6 moths. But, is the dummy hindering your child's sleep? If so, here is some useful advice on how to combat the dummy dilemmas.
Do you have to ditch the dummy? No, not necessarily...
If your baby is months old or toddling, having a dummy is not a concern (although it is important to seek guidance with your dentist.) The dummy help lots of children fall asleep and provide a lot of comfort. The concern comes when the dummy is the only way a child knows to fall asleep and when they wake in the night they can not settle back to sleep without it. It can also be a bigger hindrance when they need you to keep replacing it for them.
Tips to avoid the dummy dilemmas;
- Allow your child to have the dummy when they are falling asleep at the onset of sleep. Eventually, it is likely to fall out, when it does don't replace it.
- If your child is too young to replace their dummy on their own but manages to continue to sleep this can be a sign that they can fall asleep independently and so are not reliant upon the dummy to put them asleep all of the time.
- If your child is a little older and has always had a dummy and you feel it is time to go then talk to them about the 'dummy fairy' coming to take them and how they are growing up now. You have to make a decision of having the dummy or not, you can't wean a child from a dummy, it simply does not work.
- If your child does wake and is too young to replace their dummy, offer other methods of reassurance; gently stroke their face, pat them and use 'shushes' to help them self settle. Do not resort to placing them dummy in all of the time as they will become accustomed to this and expect you to do it at every wake up.
- At around 8-9 months your babies fine motor skills are rapidly developing and you can encourage them to pick the dummy up themselves and replace it. Eventually you will only have to point or place it in their hand.
- Placing a number of dummies in the cot can help you child in finding it in the night - let's be honest, they are always going missing!
- Once you have ditched the dummy, never introduce one again! You will only be making it harder for yourself and unfair on your little one in the long run.
Laura, Babbaboo Sleep.
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