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Self settling and the dummy - can this happen?

(23 Posts)
EmW1987 Sun 19-Mar-17 14:14:25

Hi All,
I've posted on here before about the dummy and the overall consensus was to keep the dummy.
My daughter is 4.5months so we are in the midst of the sleep regression and is a complete dummy addict. She has it for all naps and night time sleep. However she's waking quite often for us to pop the dummy back in, only to take it out her mouth and cry, so it's a battle to get her back to sleep as she can't fall asleep without the dummy but seems to get frustrated during the night when we put it in.
I don't want to get rid of the dummy completely as she obviously gets comfort from it and I know with all the other sleep challenges/regressions coming our way it's a valuable tool for us to be able to use. However I hate that she's getting such broken sleep at night and is catnapping during the day. I'm wondering if anyone else has had success partially removing it I.e getting bubba to sleep at night without it but still using it to settle them at night when needed? Everything I read seems to suggest cold turkey but like I say everyone's views were that the dummy will come into its own when she can replace it herself - I guess my question is can I get her less dependent on it without removing it completely or replacing it with another sleep prop like feeding to sleep. She's in a sleeping bag, we use white noise and I've started trying to introduce a comforter to her.

FATEdestiny Sun 19-Mar-17 16:36:25

The Lullaby Trust are the government and NHS backed research base for Sudden Infant Death risk research. Some key facts regarding SIDS and dummy use:

◇ Irregular use of a dummy increases SIDS risk.

◇ Stopoing dumny use under 6 months old increases SIDS risk

◇ Consistant Consistent and regular dummy use lowers SIDS risk.

I would also add that you seem to have wholly unrealistic expectations. She is 4 months old. She will need your help to get to sleep no matter what method you use.

FATEdestiny Sun 19-Mar-17 16:37:45

I missed the S off the website address. It should be:

Tabitha1983 Sun 19-Mar-17 18:57:36

I'm in exact same boat so hoping for some reassuring replies!
DS is now 5 months and I've had 4-5 weeks now of 1-2hourly wakes all night 😣😴
Exact same that DS loves dummy and cannot settle without it...however he takes/knockes it out of his mouth a million times before he settles to sleep....then requires me to re-insert after each sleep cycle (obviously I feed him some wakes too. EBF)
...if he is swaddled in his woombie he settles with dummy much quicker...but I'm trying to wean him into a sleeping bag with free arms...with currently little success as he's much more unsettled 😕
I too am reluctant to go cold turkey and loose the dummy as it's a gr8 form of comfort and better for me personally than feeding back to sleep at every wake.....however....I'm beginning to loose faith that this is just 'a phase' as it's been 5 weeks now of hell I have to admit 😞

FATEdestiny Sun 19-Mar-17 20:56:03

Are you sure your babies are not hungry? I was less precious about EBF when DC4 was a baby. So at 4 months we started mix feeding and by 5 months were only breastfeeding for fun/cuddles, not calories.

I was therefore able to actually track how her milk intake chanted at this time. Her milk intake went up by 25% - that's a massive amount. A quarter more milk than she was having just a couple of weeks before.

Because I wasn't a fan of night feeds, instead I maintained 2 hourly daytime feeds to calorie load, from 7am-11pm. Full feeds this is, not snacky small amounts. But still often needed an additional feed between 11pm-7am.

If you are not getting the calories into baby through the daytime, very frequent night feeds will be necessary to up their calorie intake. So if you are trying to give dummy when baby in fact is hungry (or the worse combination of hungry but too tired to feed), then it's never going to work.

Aside from that - do some things to save your own sleep. For example:

- cot next to your bed, so you don't have to get out of bed to reinsert dummy
- 3-sided sidecar cot, so you don't even need to sit up to reinsert dummy
- see ribbon on sleeping bag with press stud at end, so finding dummy is easier. With this and sidecar, you can reinsert dummy without moving from duvet or opening your eyes
- turn your bedside clock around so you don't see it in the night.
- don't have your phone/tablet in the room to look at in the night
- don't count wake ups.
- don't stress about needing to lean over and resettle. It's no big deal. Just do it and go back to sleep.
- catch up on as much sleep as possible in the daytime
- resting in a dark, quiet room in the daytime is a good second best to sleeping, if you can't sleep.
- value 20 minute power naps / power rests in the daytime to recharge.
- have 30 minutes or so to yourself for a power nap as soon as DO gets home. Also utilise parents/family/friends who might give you 30 minutes to have a rest.
- have a proper rest when given the change. Go to your bedroom, close blinds, silence, don't take your phone, don't watch tv. Close your eyes and do nothing.
- don't feel the need to be busy on maternity leave. Just relax and watch box sets or whatever.

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Mar-17 06:38:04

Morning Fate...I'm EBF and feed minimum every 2 hours during the day (mostly before his naps which are every 1.5-2hours as he only cat naps for 30mins ) 😕 ...but maybe he is hungry?? Every hour though? Surely not? But you could be right as he doesn't feed for long at night and then he's back asleep (only takes 1 side).
...I'm not precious anymore about the EBF thing...want some sleep lol!....however trying to consistently get him to take a bottle of formula is proving a challenge!! Little bugger!
Started with some baby rice last week ...doesn't seem to be fact it's making him poo at 4am ish which is a pest!! Oh the joys 🤣
I like the idea of not looking at the clock but I like to have a rough idea of whether I think he is likely to be hungry or not?? I basically feed 2 hourly over night and insert dummy on other wakes x
...thanks for all your previous help...DS now settles in snuzpod with dummy...improvement on the feeding to sleep every wake then transferring 👍😀

EmW1987 Mon 20-Mar-17 07:07:29

Thanks for your reply and yes I do think hunger has a role as I seem to be feeding every 3 hours during the night and a lot more during the day. I would introduce formula if I thought it would keep her satisfied for longer but she had such bad reflux now controlled with medication and a potential cmpi that I fear it may cause more issues.
@tabitha1983 it's the same - dd keeps taking the dummy out and holding it, then crying before I take it off her and put it back in, only for the process to continue about 20 times.
That's why I was hoping there was some middle ground for her to be able to settle herself some of the time rather than completely rely on us to plug her back in?

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Mar-17 07:08:06

Also...strangely he will feed 2hourly overnight and wakes around 6am...but then at 6am he will not feed at all...and it's difficult to get him to take a 'proper feed' until nearer 10-11! U think I'm filling him overnight so he's not hungry??!

OohNoDooEy Mon 20-Mar-17 07:13:11

I ditched the dummy for sleep at 4 months for this reason. We used shh-pat to settle instead. He only woke once for a feed.

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Mar-17 07:28:44

Oh no that's not the answer we want lol! 😂

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Mar-17 07:31:16

EmW- it's so frustrating isn't it!! Why the heck do they keep taking dummy out but then cry because they want it 🙈😣 If I have DS in his woombie this problem is solved...but he can't stay in his 'straight jacket' forever 😳🤣

marmitecrumpets Mon 20-Mar-17 07:39:51

My DS started using this from about 7 months old. It took him a couple of weeks to et the hang of it, but when he did it really saved me going back in to replace the dummy lots of times!
The bunny has Velcro paws that dummies can be attached to

EmW1987 Mon 20-Mar-17 07:57:15

@tabitha1983 I have the same problem most mornings with dd not wanting first feed of the day and sometimes wondering if I feed her because I know it will settle her and possibly keep her going for longer!
@marmitecrumpets - I've actually just brought one of those and have started introducing it as her comforter - I'm just not sure I can wait another couple of months of the sleep deprivation/dummy runs! Glad it was a success for you - gives me hope!
@OohNoDooEy - how long did it take for you to ditch the dummy? How hard was it?

FATEdestiny Mon 20-Mar-17 08:05:19

Started with some baby rice last week ...doesn't seem to be helping

It won't. As well as being pointless and indigestable in an immature digestive systtem, its also lower calorie than mìk.

Either milk (breast or formula) are the most calorie dense foodstuff you can give. Per ml, milk will give far more calories than the same volume of anything else.

Much better to give 4oz of formula than 4oz of solids if you are looking to provide calories for a hungry baby. Regardless of age.

I like the idea of not looking at the clock but I like to have a rough idea of whether I think he is likely to be hungry or not

That's an interesting, and telling, thing to say.

Yoy shouldn't need the clock to tell you if baby is hungry or not. You're not likely to stretch the gaps between night feeds if you do that, because you're feeding according to the time rather than by listening to your baby.

If you don't know the time, or how long since the last feed, what would you do at each wake up?

What I'd do is attempt a resettle first every time. Only if that isn't settling baby would I feed. If I felt like I hadn't managed to get back to sleep between 1 resettle and the next, that would suggest resettle didn't work, so would feed.

Not being able to see the clock, as well as being a psychological tactic for feeling more rested, may actually help you read baby's signs in the night instead of assuming.

taking the dummy out and holding it

Do you have a sidecar cot?

To tackle this I would:

- add a tightly tucked in blanket (if not a swaddle) to hold arms down. Not terribly effective, but helps a little.

- cuddle into the sidecar cot from my bed, arm around baby and gently hold arms/hands on mine as going to sleep.

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Mar-17 08:56:47

Thanks Fate that's really interesting idea! I definitely just feed him every 2 hours at night as opposed to trying to settle 1st( I guess in the hope he might settle for longer than 2 hours, but he doesn't!)
So....he goes to bed at 7pm (ish-depends on last feed/sleep) then he wakes every 2 9pm, 12, 2am, 4am, 6am. I currently opt to feed him at all those times and dummy insert any other wakes in between. Do you think I should opt for settling with dummy at every wake and just feed maybe once/twice??
I'm guessing you mean dummy insert 1st but if he wakes in say an hour just assume he is hungry??
He was in snuzpod attached to my bed until a week ago...decided to try his own room to see if it hasn't...but hasn't made it worse either. Just means I have to trail to his room now to put dummy back! So I might move him back!!
Thanks for tip re: baby rice. I'll just stick with BFeeding for now and work on getting a bottle of formula into him every day x
Thanks again x

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Mar-17 08:59:58

That's encouraging to hear success with sleepytot! Think I'll order 1 of those 😀 Assume your baby just finds dummy puts it in and leaves it there lol! Not like EmW and I whose crazy babies continuously take dummy out and cry 🙈

FATEdestiny Mon 20-Mar-17 10:42:06

I'm guessing you mean dummy insert 1st but if he wakes in say an hour just assume he is hungry?

Yes. I had a 5 minutes 30 minutes rule. And bear in mind I often couldn't see a clock (I'd turn the clock around any time I was exhausted), so these are not actual by the clock timings. They are approximate. The 30m could easily be 60m if I was knackered, but the basic premise remains the same.

The 5 minute rule may help with dummy pulling out too, now I think about it. Are you just putting dummy in and that's it?

5/30 minute rules were:

I'd spend 5 minutes resetting when first waking. That would be more than just 'dummy in, done'. It would be actively settling. From my bed, I'd cuddle into the cot. Arms around baby, dummy in. One of my hands holding baby's hands down (often in the crossed-chest swaddle position). The other hand/arm may be holding dummy in, or just cuddling around baby and putting dumny in any time it falls.

Then once fully settled, Id extract myself back to bed. You can do all this without opening your eyes, so going back to sleep is easier.

Then the 30 minute rule, again it's an approximation and could easily be 60 minutes. If baby wakes again in a time frame I feel like ^"you've not gone back into a proper sleep", then I expect to need to feed. So I'd put dummy in to give me a minute to come-round properly, scoot baby over to me, feed, return to cot.

The expectation is that in an ideal world you should be able to resettle baby back to sleep without milk. Rather than the expectation (in your own mind I mean) that baby needs feeding.

So if I had baby waking every hour, I'd do the half asleep resettle for 5 minutes every time. If baby went back to sleep in that 5 minutes, woke an hour later, I wouldn't feed I would be doing the half asleep dummy reinsert again.

I'd only feed if it was half an hour, or so, since resettle. Or if 5 minutes of resetting doesn't work.

Those pesky unrealistic expectations come back here though: if you are counting wake ups and noting the time of each, you could drive yourself insane with "augh I was awake every single hour last night <screaming frustration face>". Or you could frame it the positive way: "baby has only 1 feed / no feeds last night. Yeah! <parenting winner face>" and stop paying attention to resetting in the night.

FATEdestiny Mon 20-Mar-17 10:52:08

I've just read that back and wonder if I have incorrectly given the impression there that dummy resettle are a hassle.

The hassle of dummy resettles is not to do with the dummy - it is to do with having a needy/clingy baby. Not the dummy.

DC3 - from the day he was born, he has dummy in, hear nothing from him until 1am ish, feed, hear nothing from him until morning.

From him being 7 weeks and onwards he has dummy in at 7pm and that would be it. I would hear nothing from him until 6-7am. Never any dummy runs in the night.

DC2 - he did similar. Dummy at bedtime. Zero resettles required. He woke 1 or 2 times for a night feeds and back to sleep with dummy, until 6 months.

From 6 months he needed 1 or 2 dummy resettles per night (no feeds). By 9 months he went to sleep with dummy at 7pm, woke 7am, no dumny runs in between.

DC4 (now 2), she's been a needy baby. It is my most recent experience with her I describe in my piste above.

So when you have a needy baby, who wakes and wants you a lot. I would say without any question that the dummy is the quickest and easiest way to resettle.

It won't turn your baby into a non-needy baby. But it is much better than the alternate I'd sitting by the cot for most of the night rocking, patting, feeding to sleep or whatever.

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Mar-17 11:08:51

Aww Fate thanks for sharing your experiences!...Feel positively inspired I can 'do this' 😂 or is that the sleep deprivation?! Love the idea of viewing it positively to not have to feed so much...even if I did have to resettle with dummy (coz husband can help with the latter 🤣)
So that's my new plan tonight! I'm going to move baby back to snuzpod (Hubbie might not be keen on that part!)...then try dummy settle 1st before automatically feeding.
Totally agree with you DD1 'just slept'! No real issues to deal with...just shows how different they all are...and she fed to sleep at night and had dummy for naps x

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Mar-17 11:14:01

Sorry more thing (that will be a lie 😜) I think I should jus go cold turkey and get him in a sleeping bag with arms free?...he's still in woombie and he's much more settled with it on than without...but do I just break the habit now when nights are naff anyway?....or am I crazy?! Did you swaddle your babas so they can't take dummy out when falling asleep? X

FATEdestiny Mon 20-Mar-17 11:42:30

You say hes much more settled. But then you also say sleep is naff any way.

I believe in giving babies as much to comfort them as they need. So if the swaddle helps him feel comforted, I see no reason to remove that comfort.

DC4 was fully swaddled right through until she was rolling both ways. Even then we went through various stages of looser swaddle, then starting the night in a tightly tucked in blanket instead but swaddling part way through the night, then moving to just the tucked in blanket over sleeping bag etc.

We kept it so long because DD liked it, so why not? I used a normal sheet for swaddling though, so there were different 'degrees' of swaddle - tight when she was stressed, looser when she was more relaxed. Not sure of that is possible with these bought swaddle pods.

On my MN postnatal thread, there were I think 3 of us still swaddling at 4-5 months old. I recall much discussion about what if a swaddled baby rolls into front. Someone's HV had suggested that since rolling over whilst wearing a swaddle is difficult, such a baby is likely to be robust enough to lift head and shout if stuck.

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Mar-17 12:01:08

Yea sorry...bit contradictory! Guess I'm viewing waking every 1-2 hours as a bit naff!...but he settles quick in woombie swaddle. Out of swaddle it can take 20 mins + to settle him as he keeps knocking dummy out! Sometimes I've held dummy in and cuddled him until he seems deep in sleep yet as soon as I slide back into bed he wakes 🙈...this doesn't happen so much in woombie think it can stay for now.
...much same...bit concerned about rolling but he's not even attempting yet so no point worrying about the future when I've got enough to worry about for now 😂

OohNoDooEy Mon 20-Mar-17 15:11:23

It took a couple of days. At 4 months habits are easily changed

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