The decision on whether to use, and continue to use a dummy, is completely up to you. It’s a topic that everyone has an opinion on, and often won’t hesitate to share it with you! At Sleep Thrive Grow, we see pro’s and con’s to using dummies.
Why is a Dummy Recommended?
Sucking is one of the best tools you can use to help calm your baby. Dummies provide a non-nutritive association, which means if baby doesn’t need to feed, offering a dummy will still help to induce calm and sleep. It is also known to relieve some types of pain, help with reflux and reduce the risk of SIDS. A dummy can be a positive sleep association when used safely and effectively.
What type of Dummy to use:
It may take a few attempts to find the right dummy for your baby. We recommend the cherry- shaped ones as these stay more easily in baby’s mouth. Ensure it is a transparent rubber – these don’t deteriorate or release any chemicals over time.
It is not recommended to introduce a dummy until after feeding is well established but no later than 4 weeks as baby is more likely to reject it.
Never force the use of a dummy. The worst time to offer it is when baby is crying – it is likely to make them even more upset. First get baby calm, then offer it. If baby isn’t overly interested you can try a little reverse-psychology, pull the dummy back a little bit (but not all the way out) a couple of times, this should encourage baby to resist and suck harder.
Never dip a dummy in any substance!
Try not to suck it yourself as the germs in your saliva will transfer to baby. Keep it clean. Carry a back up (or 5) in case it falls to the floor.
Never attach anything to the dummy during sleep. If you choose to attach something to it, be sure to supervise at all times as these do pose risks to baby’s safety.
When baby is older (7 months+) you can purchase a comforter like the Sleepy Tot or Kippins (discount code is available under products on my Insta highlights) that will keep a dummy attached to it. These are great tools for teaching your baby to find and replace the dummy themselves as they grow!
Can you wean a dummy?
We recommend deciding early whether you wish to keep the dummy or get rid of it.
The best time to get rid of a dummy is before 5-months-old as this is the easiest time to remove it for you and baby.
If you choose to keep the dummy beyond 6-7 months old it is important you are ready to commit to keeping it until baby is around 2.5-3 years-old. This is when your baby will be old enough to understand and process when it is time to say goodbye.
Ditching the dummy between 6 months and 2.5 years can prove really difficult on everyone. Baby has usually developed a strong attachment beyond 6-months and will not understand why they can’t have it. If your baby is in this age bracket and you are having difficulty and you feel like the dummy may be the cause, please reach out for support.
Baby will need help to replace the dummy upon waking which may mean sleep is not as consolidated until much later. Just keep in mind that you will likely be up a few times in the night to replace it until around 7-8 months old which is when you can teach baby to find and replace it independently.
Teach Find & Replace
So the dummy is here to stay, what now? It’s time to take off your dummy replacing crown and hand it over to baby! Check out the steps below.
Stage 1: Put the dummy in baby’s hand and guide it to the mouth. Keep doing this stage at times of sleep until they have mastered this. Practicing during the day can help too and keep it fun!
Stage 2: Place it only in baby’s hand and do not guide the hand. Baby should have some muscle memory from practicing in stage one.
Stage 3: Pop it next to baby’s hand and tap the mattress so their attention is drawn and they can see it and grab it independently.
Dummy Tip to finish!
If your baby decides to play the game of throwing the dummy out of the cot (fun!), try to make the replacement into the cot as subtle as possible. A good idea is to delay how long it takes for you to return it by a few minutes each time (even if you know they will not fall asleep without it). This can avoid this behaviour becoming your baby’s new favourite game!
If the dummy is causing issues with your babies sleep and you feel that it is time to take action, I’m here to help. We can formulate together a personalised plan so that you feel knowledgable and supported in the ways to assist your baby through this change. Request a free call today to discuss your options.