Can the dummy interfere with my baby’s sleeping?

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I always say, if your baby is using a dummy or he is co-sleeping with you, or he’s been rocked/fed to sleep, but everyone is sleeping well, then there is no problem. Why change something if everyone is happy sleeping?

The problem is when one or all of the above is happening and because of that, baby and mum and/or dad are not sleeping. Mum needs to get up every 45 min / every 2-3 hours to help baby to go back to sleep because he is unable to do so himself.

You need to understand how sleep skills and sleep associations (or sleep props) works, to know if a dummy can interfere with your baby’s sleeping.

To fall asleep independently (with no sleep props) and resettle yourself back to sleep when you wake overnight (sleep cycle), is a skill you need to learn as a baby. Most adults (I hope so :-)) don’t need someone to pat their backs in order to go to sleep or to go back to sleep. We just do it automatically. When a baby or even a toddler, hasn’t learned how to fall asleep independently, they usually rely on external factors (sleep props/associations) to help them to go to sleep. They cry out for mum to bring back whatever they need to go back to sleep. When a baby has no sleep skills at all and is unable to resettle back to sleep, he can wake up every 45 min overnight!! That is very exhausting.

Typical sleep associations are:

  • Rocking to sleep
  • Patting to sleep
  • Co-sleeping (relies on the parents’ presence)
  • Feeding to sleep and the most common one…

Most newborns when they start to cry in the beginning, they get a dummy in the mouth (if they want it or not) and then every time they want to go to sleep as well. In the newborn phase, it’s ok to give your baby a dummy because they don’t adopt any habits. You can do whatever you want in the first 3 months. The problem though is if you rock your baby to sleep/feed him to sleep/give the dummy to go to sleep in the first 3 months, when he reaches 4 months and he becomes more aware of his surroundings, he starts to adopt that habit. If you pat him to sleep, at 4 months he thinks:” Ok, mum pats me to sleep, I guess this is normal “, he starts to rely on the action to go to sleep. The same happens with feeding to sleep/rocking to sleep/ the dummy.

So what happens now?

Every time your baby wakes after a sleep cycle and he is going to cry out for you to bring back the DUMMY so he can go back to sleep. This process can happen every 45 min overnight. If your baby relies on a dummy to go back to sleep, it definitely interferes with his sleeping.

What can I do?

You need to remove the dummy 100 % (day + night) and/or other sleep associations (sleep props) and teach your baby sleep skills.

Once your baby doesn’t rely on an external factor (Like a dummy) to fall asleep and resettles back to sleep, he will start sleeping through the night.

If you need help with the removal of a dummy and/or any other sleep props in order to teach your baby sleep skills, call Christine @ Happy Sleepers.