Dummies, what is the advice?
Using a dummy is a personal preference, in some circumstances a dummy can be very helpful. For example, if your baby needs to learn how to suck properly if they were born prematurely or if your little one needs something extra to help soothe them. It is also important to note that there is research to suggest that using a dummy during sleep times could help reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), however we do not know exactly why this is.
#1 If you are thinking about introducing a dummy to your baby, wait until breastfeeding is fully established, unless you have been advised to do so beforehand by a medical professional.
#2 Some babies born prematurely are sometimes introduced to a special orthodontic dummy at birth to help develop their mouth muscles and to help them learn how to suck properly. The same goes for babies that may be undergoing procedures in hospital, a dummy can help to comfort them.
#3 Orthodontic dummies are the best to use, as they adapt to the shape of your little one's mouth.
#4 Not all babies take to a dummy, if this is the case it is important not to force them. If your little one has taken to the dummy, we recommend to try and use it consistently for sleep times only. If the dummy falls out of their mouth, there is no need to keep putting it back in.
#5 Try and avoid offering the dummy during awake times as we want your little one to have the chance to babble and make noises without the dummy becoming a barrier to these crucial development stages.
#6 The NHS and The Lullaby Trust recommend to think about withdrawing away from the dummy between the ages of 6 - 12 months to avoid any damage to the alignment of teeth and speech development.
#7 Do not add anything sweet like sugar or honey to the dummy or use neck cords or clips that attach to a bib, these pose as a safety risk.
How to get rid of the dummy?
#1 Have a think about reducing the amount of times you offer the dummy.
#2 Going cold turkey can be the best way, but instead of completely taking something away that they find comfort in, instead offer something else e.g. a comforter like a muslin or small teddy (age appropriate) and be consistent with this.
#3 Try not to panic, if you are consistent and try to stay calm your baby will adapt quickly and they will forget the dummy was even a thing!
Comforters, what is the advice?
Comforters are usually something that we call a muslin cloth or square. www.bullabaloo.com have lots of choices which are very popular!
#1 You can think about introducing a comforter as part of your sleep routine from the age of six months.
#2 Getting your little one used to a comforter can be helpful when they are going through periods of separation anxiety or starting at a childcare setting. The comforter enables them to feel safe and secure.
#3 Offer the comforter to your little one at every sleep time. It can be useful to keep the comforter in their cot or pram and it is advised to only give it at sleep times to avoid dependence during the day. However, if your baby is upset or unwell during a period of change it can be useful to offer a muslin to provide reassurance.
#4 You can sleep with the comforter yourself before you give it to your baby so it smells of you.
#5 Choose a comforter that is washable and does not include anything that poses as a safety risk e.g. stuffed bean fillings, long fur or anything that has sewn on buttons or beads. Also ensure the comforter is not too big or long to avoid it being wrapped around your baby or able to cover their heads.
#6 Try not to worry about the dependance your little one may have on the comforter. Generally as your little one gets older, they will naturally reduce the need for it.
It is never too late to make changes and improve your little ones sleep and here at Sophie Sleep we offer various packages to support you on your journey. We offer a range of remote 1:1 consultations along with in home support whereby we can work together to pinpoint current challenges and create a solution that works for your and your family.