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Dummy’s and Paci’s As a Sleep Aid

When is the right time to get rid of the dummy? There is so much conflicting information in the sleep stratosphere around dummies, and love or hate them, dummies have their place. A baby’s survival depends on sucking, and for this reason, they start practising this long before they are born. In utero, your baby’s hands are pushed close to its mouth by the uterus wall so this makes it easy for them to suck their finger and hands this, along with the action of swallowing amniotic fluid prepares a baby for successful nursing after birth. But that’s not the only benefit, studies have also shown that non-nutritive sucking lowers the risk of SIDS and has a calming effect on babies, essentially – baby meditation. After birth, a baby finds it much more difficult to suck their fingers because of their lack of muscle control and in those first few months of life, a dummy can be a very positive tool in your parenting tool kit. But when that tool in your kit becomes you go to multi-tool, then it can become more of a problem than a benefit. What do I mean by this- I mean if you use your dummy when your baby is particularly fussy and for short periods of time in conjunction with other methods of soothing, then this can be a positive way to use it, but if you find yourself popping it in your babies mouth most of the time even if they are not seeking it then it is likely that you will start to form a strong association with the dummy and as their Circadian Rythem matures more at around 4 months you may find yourself waking several times a night for dummy reinsertions and this is when the dummy can become more of a problem. If you can, get rid of the dummy before four months, you will reduce your baby’s risk of forming a negative sleep association with sucking the dummy to fall asleep and they’re more likely to learn how to settle off to sleep without sucking therefore they may sleep in longer blocks at night Between four and seven months of age, you’re in that icky stage where your baby has formed a sleep association but is too young to be able to coordinate and find their own dummy independently, with practice your baby can learn how to replace their own dummy at around 7-8 months and if you have decided to stick with it then this independence can be a benefit in helping your baby self settle with the dummy. So my recommendations are that you either get rid of the dummy before 4-months or if you choose to keep it then keep it until about 18-20 months, but understand that there will be a period of time that will have to help them find their dummy until they can do it independently. Eighteen to twenty months is ideal because your little one should be able to form a new way of self settling before hitting the huge sleep shift at two years. Many parents feel the pressure to get rid of the dummy at around the age of two. Still, my advice is that if your little one is two years or over I recommend that you keep the dummy (just for sleep) until they have dropped their naps altogether or you may risk loosing day naps altogether. If you would like support for how to get rid of or help your baby learn how to use the dummy independently, then get in touch I can certainly help with that. Book an Intro- call today
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