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Ideas for getting rid of 18 month old's dummy - will we ever sleep again?? Anyone done it at this age?

(15 Posts)
EffinIneffable Thu 02-Mar-17 13:44:07

So my 18 month old has, in the last couple of weeks, started sleeping a bit better and has managed to not wake (us) up before 5 am for a week or so. I do hear him wake, find his dummy, and go back to sleep.

But, we've just had our first dentist's appointment, and his teeth are misaligned because of his dummy use. I'm shocked, because we've only ever used dummies for sleeping and use 'orthodontic' ones. She's said in order to minimise risk of damage to adult teeth we need to stop using a dummy as soon as possible.

Now, having only just started to sleep a bit better, and with the dummy seemingly a big part of that, I'm really loath to withdraw it just now. I had thought we'd stop around 2/2.5 when he's old enough to understand the dummy fairy idea. I've tried encouraging a soft toy comforter since he was 6 months, but he's not really taken to it. Has anyone survived taking away a dummy at this age and not totally cocked sleep up?

FATEdestiny Thu 02-Mar-17 15:11:43

I'm really loath to withdraw it just now.

I would too.

I would change your focus to light sleeping. I suggest this because a baby using a dummy only for getting to sleep has the dummy in their mouth for very little time.

The idea is baby sucks dummy for comfort when tired and going to sleep. The dummy helps move from light sleeping into a deep sleep. At that point m7sckes relax and the dummy falls.

This time to 'go to sleep' could be as little as a minute or two, but is usually around 10 minutes.

So then a baby with good quality sleep should then stay asleep right through to morning. So assuming one lunchtime nap and no non-sleeping dumny use, that's 20 minutes dummy sucking in 24 hours. Which is nothing at all and certainly shouldn't have you stressed over adult teeth formation.

So if you move your focus onto the read on your toddler is waking through the night, not staying in a deep sleep, you side-step the issue.

You should then be able to go into toddlers bedroom 15 minutes after saying nan night, pick up the dropped dummy and baby won't need it again until nap time tomorrow.

White noise helps with light sleeping. How about leaving a desk fan on by the cot? Or am untuned analogue radio?

Doboopedoo Thu 02-Mar-17 21:33:22

Clicked on this as I have an 18 month old who loooovvveeesss her dummy - I don't but we did use it primarily for sleeping (but in nursery full time who seem to use it a lot more for the ones who have them)

Resigned myself as well that she will have it until dummy fairy time but I'm worried about the teeth issues too. There's no way she only has it for ten minutes at night - it stay in her mouth for ages and even once it drops, she puts it back in at least a couple of times a night, she's definitely a light sleeper but how to fix this? We have only just started getting some consistency to night sleeps but it's totally reliant on the dummy.

Sorry, think have hijacked the thread slightly but I would ideally like to get rid too so it's not used during the day but can't go back to sleepiness nights either!

FATEdestiny Thu 02-Mar-17 21:52:22

We have only just started getting some consistency to night sleeps...

That is probably part of the reason she's a light sleeper. The more consistent, settled and secure she gets at night, the deeper she will sleep. And that will come with time.

Light sleeping is also caused by over tiredness, so getting enough daytime sleep will mean deeper, better quality night sleeping. Over-tried or exhausted sleep is usually fretful, involves frequent wakes and has less deep sleep.

How the child goes to bed also matters. A child is used to going to sleep in the cot happily (ie without any grumbles etc) and alone is less likely to wake between sleep cycles. A child usually cuddled to sleep then put in the cot, when moving from one sleep cycle into the next, instead of just shuffling and going back into a deep sleep, may well wake up freaking out wondering how she got into the cot.

Then background noise and light affect how deeply some people sleep. Black out curtains are better than blinds IMO (no bleeding of light around the edges) and no light shows or whatnot for distraction. Keep the room dark. Then if background noise might wake child up, loud white noise is both relaxing and blocks out any sounds coming from the rest of the house.

LexieLulu Thu 02-Mar-17 22:00:32

We got rid of my sons dummy at say 15m.

We waiting till he got a cold, was snuffly and didn't want his dummy do to breathing, and just never returned it.

I now have a 9m daughter. We go on holiday just before her 1st birthday so want the dummy for the flight, but will be attempting to get rid as soon as we get home.

I think the younger you get rid the better

EffinIneffable Fri 03-Mar-17 10:36:55

Doboopedoo No hijacking, sounds exactly like what's going on here.

It's also definitely not just 10 minutes at the start of the night - he gets his dummy after bath (starts shouting for it as soon as he's out of the bath) while I'm getting PJ's on, takes it out for his bedtime milk, then has it again for a little cuddle and then into his cot to go to sleep. Most nights he's asleep with 15 minutes of going into his cot but last night was 30. Even so, it would be, say another 20 minutes of having it while getting ready for bed before he's in his cot. Delaying it will cause massive rage!

So FATE, yes, focusing on encouraging deeper sleep sounds great in theory and far less drastic than just ditching the dummies straight out, but how to do it?? He gets OK sleep in the day, not overtired. We've stopped cuddling to sleep in the last month and he goes off in his cot fine while I sit next to him. I'm slowly moving further away so he's becoming more independent about going to sleep, but he does need his dummy for this. This has also been the trigger for better night sleep (although has brought early mornings along with it). He's also still in our bedroom so I'm not massively keen on white noise as I don't like it. We've got blackout curtains and it's pretty quiet - we don't snore or thrash around!

Lexie Even with a cold, he perseveres with his dummies - he bloody loves them!

FATEdestiny Fri 03-Mar-17 11:15:45

EffinIneffable it so7nds like you are making great progress towards independant sleeping. I'd just keep doing more of the same and give it time. Once independant sleeping is fully embedded (ie put in cot standing and leave, baby straight to sleep), his sleep will get more secure, settled and so deeper.

The usual state of affairs isn'ta toddler who self settles, wakes often, self settles again and then wakes in the morning. The usual is for a toddler to self settle at bedtime and then barring pain or poorliness, sleeping solidly until morning.

I would start gradually establishing dummy as something that is only available in the cot. Or in the sleeping bag, if you use one.

I have a ribbon sewn into the chest of the sleeping bag, with a press stud at the end. The only place my children could find a dummy was attached to the sleeping bag. That meant that unless in the sleeping bag, in the cot, there was no dummy.

EffinIneffable Fri 03-Mar-17 11:38:32

Thanks, something to to work towards there anyway.

Just another thing - he definitely doesn't have the dummy in all night, but I popped in 45 minutes after he'd fallen asleep last night and he still had it in. I tried to see if it would come out easily but it was firmly in there, and he just started sucking vigorously again! So the teeth problems might well be because although he's only having it for sleep, he is gripping it quite firmly for quite a long time.

FATEdestiny Fri 03-Mar-17 12:11:19

I tried to see if it would come out easily but it was firmly in there, and he just started sucking vigorously again!

That would suggest he was in a light sleep at that point, not a deep sleep.

As you may realise from your own sleep, while light sleeping you are still semi-aware of your surroundings. like when my DH informs me "he was watching that" as I try to change channels when he is snoring on the sofa. In a deep sleep, muscles totally relax and that would include jaw and mouth muscles holding dummy in.

It definitely sounds like your issue is light sleeping.

I put my 2 year old DD down for a nap about 15 minutes ago. I was pottering around upstairs putting washing away after putting her going down for a nap. I had some of her clothes to put awa, so went back in her room as she was going to sleep. By the time of done the washing in her room, maybe 2 or 3 minutes, her mouth was hanging open and dummy balancing half-in-half-out. By the time of done all the washing and went to close the door, about 5-10 mins she was deeply asleep and dummy lying next to her.

I could have taken it away at that point it I know I don't need it. She won't wake now until I wake her up at 3pm for the school run. So next time she uses the dummy will be bedtime.

EffinIneffable Fri 03-Mar-17 12:35:28

Yes, that sounds like a fair analysis. Just what to actually do about it!!

EffinIneffable Fri 03-Mar-17 12:38:11

I mean, obviously, just carrying on with encouraging him to fall asleep on his own, perhaps try white noise if we can move him into his own room.

FATEdestiny Fri 03-Mar-17 12:41:22

As I said, it sounds like you are making great progress towards independant sleeping with gradual withdrawal. Just carry on what you are doing, and give it time.

FATEdestiny Fri 03-Mar-17 12:43:27

Crossed post.

If he's now not waking in the night, I would try moving him into his own room. Cary on with the gradual withdrawal towards independant sleep. He'll get there.

PersisFord Fri 03-Mar-17 12:46:07

My DDs gave theirs up at 2.5 ish. DD1's teeth were a bit misaligned. The giving up was super easy (dummy fairy) and her teeth are now back to normal.

They loved their dummies, so for "fairness" I took away the baby's too (I thought they would just pinch his otherwise). He was about 16 months. It was a nightmare, and instead he now drinks litres of cows milk out of a bottle. We are struggling a lot more with getting rid of that.

My advice - wait!!

Doboopedoo Fri 03-Mar-17 19:10:34

Colds are always a nightmare with the dummy - they are the only bad nights we usually have now.

We definetly have always had a light sleeping issue - DD has gone to sleep herself at night since about 5 months but we had to sit beside her until just before Christmas, now we just leave her to it. Happily settles to sleep with dummy, comfort blanket and cuddly toy. We use white noise but not constantly, just when she's settling. Room isn't totally dark, she likes a nightlight - any time she's slept in the dark she sounds like she's scared when crying. She will still regularly stir during naps and at night but goes back off when she finds the dummy.

It's not easy is it OP! I'm hoping her teeth aren't too affected by the time the dummy fairy comes because I don't see her giving it up easily. Glad to hear misaligned teeth can rectify PersisFord!

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