The one thing practically all of my clients ask me is: should I ditch the dummy? You can watch my video on it here but, read on for my advice on dummies and ditching …
So should you ditch it? Well, the answer isn’t always ‘yes’. But let’s get to that later.
WHY USE A DUMMY?
Dummies are considered useful from birth until six months. They are helpful for babies suffering with reflux and they are part of the SIDS prevention approach. Post six-months and there is no point to them other than comfort, and it’s that comfort that will make your child’s emotional bond with their dummy harder and harder to break.
SHOULD I DITCH THE DUMMY?
Of course there are other reasons why parents want to get rid of a dummy aside from sleep, and sometimes people want to hold onto it for that reason alone. But do dummies help with sleep? Would your child sleep better without one?
Take my simple quiz to find out:
- Does your child wake in the night and need you to find their dummy for them?
- Is your child unable to replace their own dummy?
- Does your child wake if their dummy has fallen out?
- Does your child refuse to sleep without their dummy?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, it’s time to Ditch the Dummy. Anything that wakes a child or stops a child from either going to sleep or falling back to sleep is a negative sleep association. It’s got to go.
If your child isn’t woken when the dummy comes out, can happily replace or find it if it does and goes back to sleep without any fuss then it’s maybe not so urgent.
HOW DO I DITCH THE DUMMY?
Simple: Throw them all away and go cold-turkey.
There’s no half-way house with getting rid of the dummy – it’s either there or it isn’t. There’s no weaning as you would with nightfeeds. Restricting dummy use, so only giving them the dummy at night-time rather than for naps for example, isn’t going to help anyone. In fact, it’s totally illogical: if they want their dummy to sleep at night, why would they sleep without their dummy during the day. And if they CAN sleep without their dummy for their nap, then why are you giving it to them at night? Inconsistency is at the root of sleep disruptions so be consistent at all times. If there’s no dummy at naptime, there’s no dummy at bedtime.
Explain to your child what’s happening and then, do it. There are lots of methods that parents use – giving them to the fairies, Santa or Easter Bunny in exchange for presents are popular, but are dependent on your child being emotionally intelligent enough to understand. For those that aren’t, it’s just a case of telling them what’s happening and then throwing them ALL away.
And then brace yourself for a rocky few days but, trust me, it will get better and when your little one starts to sleep through because nothing is waking them, you’ll wish you’d done it a lot, lot sooner.
Struggling with sleep deprivation? Little one not settling on their own? Get in touch – I’d love to help!