We stopped giving 6 month old ds a dummy at bedtime and naptime on Friday, it's now Tuesday and he is still distressed about it (I read all these articles about 'in 3 days he'll have forgotten all about it'... nope.)
I'm not implacably anti-dummy, we went cold turkey because he was fiddling with it as he went to sleep, pulling it out, waking up and crying, so we were ending up pinning his arms down on the mattress every time until he dropped off - we knew that wasn't exactly a good sleep habit to teach him. I thought learning to self-settle would be a good thing and might also help with longer naps (he still only does 45 mins at a time.)
Now, he is having real trouble going to sleep in his cot. He misses that feeling of being held and comforted, which I am ok with as we can do hand-holding etc. We went through a long phase of comforting to sleep with ds 1 and him slowly learning to self-settle, so we have been there before. But he also really misses the sucking which is making the comforting hard, if my hand or face is anywhere near him he tries desperately to suck on them.
Now, I know he doesn't have to suck to fall asleep. He sleeps in a buggy, or a sling, or in our bed when cuddled. I do realise that he just wants lots of comforting to replace the soothing sucking. But how do I help him right now when he is so hard to comfort in his cot? He sometimes sucks his fingers or thumb but clearly doesn't consider this a worthy substitute.
By the way he still has several overnight feeds (c.10pm, 2am, 6.30am) where he feeds to sleep, I realise this may be sending mixed messages however I shudder at the thought of putting him down awake then him crying with frustration and waking up ds 1 at these times of night.
I would be really interested to hear from anyone else who has been through this process, or similar... thanks.
stop the night feeds and give him back the dummy, putting several other dummys around his head so he can feel them and stick them back in himself take the dummy away when he's sleeping better without the night feeds. make life easy for yourself
my ds1 didnt need one, but ds2 did, and i let him keep it till he was around 2, but it was bedtimes only by then, and then reduced to a half an hour with it winding down to bed, but going to bed without it, and then away completely, but it wasnt too traumatic by then.
dd on the other hand is a thumb sucker and still does it at 5. Wish id perservered with a dummy with her instead
Thanks so much to everyone who replied and for all the suggestions, it is nice to know others have struggled with this stuff.
I'm really sympathetic to everyone who says give the dummy back. However it's not quite that simple. He was not going to sleep quietly with it before, he had to have both arms held so he wouldn't fiddle with it and take it out when dropping off and thus wake himself up again - that definitely feels like the wrong thing to do, there is just something a bit grim about holding him down and at the least clearly it's not teaching good sleep skills.
Yesterday was just horrible but today is better. I realised that although sucking calms him down it's really the being held (i.e. pinioned to mattress) that he misses. So I have been dropping the cot side and cuddling him/singing while he falls asleep - much the same as the previous situation, basically, but minus dummy. Today he has been accepting this comfort and falling asleep reasonably quickly which means that (touch wood) ds1 aged 2.5yrs has not been abandoned/trashing our flat while I'm in the bedroom doing it. I know this level of intervention isn't ideal but I feel it's something we can work on over time.
Also, this may just be one of those things but today he did his first ever 1.5 hr nap in the cot, i.e. managed to click over a sleep cycle and drop off again. So perhaps not needing the dummy in his mouth is kicking in now...? I do hope so.