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How can (and should I?) encourage dummy use?

(4 Posts)
rrra Sun 03-Jan-16 15:39:10

My DS is 18 weeks old. Since a chest infection at 12 weeks sleep has gone to pot. He was doing an initial stretch of 2-5 hours, then bits and bobs. Now he generally wakes an hour after finishing a feed. On occasion he'll do a 2-3 hour stretch but not often. He is currently EBF, but have given formula before bed a couple of times and didn't make a difference. He was late so in a long wonder week which started around the beginning. It ends today and I've given up hope things will just go back to how they were!

I've fed back to sleep at night as he won't settle any other way. Sometimes he has a decent feed, sometimes just a little. But he has now managed to tip the balance to feeding more at night and not interested in the day. So I'm following Fate's advice that I've see. On other posts about getting baby to sleep in daytime 60-80 mins after waking. I'm the. Feeding after a 35-45 min nap, which is currently in car seat or sling.

I tried to introduce a dummy early on but he just isn't bothers. He wants my nipple! Other than persisting with it, can I do anything else? Get him to sleep then pop it in? Will it make a difference to resettling at night if I can get him to take it? My 3.5 yo DD loved her dummy and still has it for night sleep now.

I just need more sleep! If things carry on like this I'm giving it 6 more weeks then switching to daytime formula to try and fill him up!

FATEdestiny Sun 03-Jan-16 22:14:59

I was just going to say (before getting to your last sentence) are you sure baby isn't just hungry?

The use of a dummy is that it is a simple, no crying way to get baby to go to sleep or go back to sleep. But the dummy isn't going to stop baby from waking up and if baby is waking frequently then the reason for the frequent wakes needs tackling.

You could end up getting frustrated with the dummy (as happens with lots of people) because baby wakes up often and needs the dummy. But this is looking at it the wrong way around. Dummy is for going to sleep. Something else is causing frequent waking.

Feeding back to sleep may continue to be the only way to get him back to sleep, if the cause if the wake up is hunger. The dummy wouldn't do for a hungry baby.

It could equally be lack of daytime sleep causing poor nightttime sleep. Dummies are great for helping baby fall asleep. In the daytime I like the bouncy chair and dummy and awake time limited to 60-80minutes (at this age).

How to get baby to accept the dummy is tricky. My DD (the only of my 4 children to not instantly take to a dummy) was much younger so I am not sure how my experience in this would translate to a slightly older baby. We started trying with a dummy from about 3 weeks old and she finally 'got it' around 7 or 8 weeks old (and incidentally started sleeping 11pm-7am same time) after constant perseverance. Some things we tired:

- When breastfeeding, whip nipple out and dummy in in one movement. If this resulted in crying then back to nipple and repeat. Repeat, repeat.
- When not breastfeeding, hold baby in BF position and hold dummy where nipple would be.
- Get other people to do the one above (both my DH and DM used to try this for me - they didn't smell of milk like I did)
- when trying to get baby to sleep, put dummy in babys mouth and gently hold it there with your finger (while bouncing baby on bouncy chair)
- Ideally offer dummy at times baby is not distressed - so don't use when hungry or when over tired. This just creates frustration
- I wouldn't offer dummy when baby is asleep (what's the point - baby is asleep) but it is worthrying to sneak it in when baby is dozing and very nearly asleep, in that quiet calm time just before sleep decends.

Incidentally OP, how is your DS with a bottle? I also struggled to get DD to accept a bottle of excpressed breast milk. So we were working on getting her to accept dummy at same time as the bottle teat. She finally accepted both at the same time, so when she 'got' that she needed to suck on the bottle it also helped her understand to suck on the dummy and we cracked both at the same time.

rrra Mon 04-Jan-16 15:43:15

I was just going to say (before getting to your last sentence) are you sure baby isn't just hungry?
Thanks for replying. Maybe he is just hungry but I'm really not sure how to tip the balance to the daytime without taking the pain one night of refusing such frequent feeds, and hoping he switches back again. Or I can just switch to formula and hope that helps. I'm scared to do this though as I'd hate to lose my supply and find it made no difference at all.

Something else is causing frequent waking.
I did wonder whether he has lost the ability to get through sleep cycles by himself, but his sleep times at night vary from 2h to 45m, but are typically just over 1h. Wouldn't he be waking every 45m all night if it was just the sleep cycle thing? He is chomping and dribbling so teething is a possibility but when I've tried calpol it hasn't helped.

It could equally be lack of daytime sleep causing poor nightttime sleep.
This also worries me but the only consistent way I have of getting him to nap in the day is in the sling on me. I can try bouncy chair three days a week but when my daughter is at home I can't do this as she'd be pestering him the whole time.

Incidentally OP, how is your DS with a bottle?
He will take fresh breast milk or formula if he is hungry. He rejects any of my frozen milk. But he always swallows loads of air like he doesn't really know what he is doing. Likewise he will suck on the dummy but will then get his hands in the way or cry or do something else which dislodges is every few seconds. He has on occasion sucked it when tucked in against me.

Am feeling like a totally shit mum for a) not being able to help my child sleep better, b) not getting enough sleep myself and c) not being able to put my own needs aside to just sacrifice my own need for sleep. My DS really is a happy soul in the daytime, and only gets a bit grumpy if tired or his mouth seems sore. But everything just seems so relentless with him and my 3YO on a daily basis.

FATEdestiny Mon 04-Jan-16 20:38:11

Could you try to breastfeed her much more frequently through the daytime? Like offering every 1.5-2h. It might not have immediate results but give it a week and should help.

I find the bouncy chair ideal for baby's sleep when siblings are around (I have four children from aged 1 to aged 11). It means that I can tend to baby's napping (bouncing through one sleep cycle into the next if stirring) while also dealing with the other children. I would keep the bouncy chair close to me, usually at my feet as I am sat on the sofa or next to me if I'm sat on the floor so that I can teach toddler to stay away from baby when sleeping.

I also found it very, very useful to have a baby who could sleep through all the noise and lights of a busy room . It teaches them not to be a slight sleeper.

PS - You are not at all a shit Mum flowers

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