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Dummy for newborn - more trouble than it's worth?

(22 Posts)
FatRedCrayon Sat 25-Mar-17 09:55:57

DD is 2 weeks old. Having gone through sleep hell with DS (now 2) I am desperate for DD to be a better sleeper!

I have tried giving DD a dummy for naps and at night. She will often take it and suckle to sleep, or the edge of sleep, only for it to fall out and her to wake up after a few minutes. She doesn't actually stay asleep. Sure, I can reinsert it, but I'm then stuck doing this repeatedly as she gets more and more grumpy.

Am I doing her a disservice by trying to get her to use a dummy to sleep, as it's not really helping her get any meaningful rest? She is swaddled, although she fights it. I'm not sure how much of that is due to overtiredness, as despite making sure she's clean, fed and swaddled and put down drowsy but awake with her dummy before she's overtired, she won't go to sleep on her own... so I end up with a grumpy baby regardless!

I simply can't cuddle or rock her for every nap and all night, aside from the fear of making a big ol' rod for my own back in the coming months, I have a toddler to look after and need more than 0 hours sleep a night which is what I got with DS. She is in a moses basket downstairs during the day and a co-sleeper at night. Advice welcome!

FATEdestiny Sat 25-Mar-17 10:40:20

A newborn is likely to sleep without a dummy, because sleep at this age is passive. So as long as a fully tummy, sleep should "just happen".

However. And it's a big however.

For some children, if a dummy isn't established early on, it becomes progressively more difficult to establish as an independant comforter. So then come 4 months, when sleep is no longer passive and becomes hard work, without a dumny you end up needing to use other more hands-on comforting methods.

So I agree, dummies in the newborn can be a hassle. But for lobg term independant settling they are unbeatable IMO.

She will often take it and suckle to sleep, or the edge of sleep, only for it to fall out and her to wake up

This is not unusual. If you are inexperienced in the ways of dummy, you probably didn't realise how to help. But for a newborn you may need to physicalky hold dummy in until in a deep sleep. Or place baby in a position (flat on back, face upwards) that means gravity keeps it in.

Here's how a dummy works:

1. Going to sleep phase
This is from awake until relaxed to sleep. Baby will actively suck for comfort to get to sleep.

2. Falling asleep phase
As baby starts to fall asleep, muscles start to relax (including jaw and mouth muscles). At this point dummy will sit loosely in mouth but not constantly sucked or held in due to relaxing muscles. Occassionally baby may do a brief suck as falling into a deep sleep, but not all the time as in the going-to-sleep phase.

_3. Deep sleep phase
Once in a deep sleep, muscles all over the body completely relax - floppy body, fully relaxed jaw and mouth. Dummy will fall out at this time, it is no longer needed.

In a newborn, baby's mouth is smaller, jaw muscles not as strong as they will be, and the newborn has far less control over muscles than an older baby.

So in that second 'falling asleep phase', when dummy is still needed for comfort sucking but muscles are relaxed, dummy can easily come out. This wakes baby because she is not yet in the deep sleep when dummy is no longer needed.

So the answer is to find ways of helping baby keep dummy in while going to sleep, so that they can quickly and easily get into a deeper sleep without waking ir being disturbed getting there.

eddiemairswife Sat 25-Mar-17 10:43:20

I introduced mine to their thumbs very early on.

neonrainbow Sat 25-Mar-17 10:46:19

Very interesting post thanks FATE!

FatRedCrayon Sat 25-Mar-17 11:01:03

Thank you FATE, good advice on holding the dummy in. Short of attaching it to her ears with elastic bands, I'll probably have to hold it in (she has a habit of turning her head to one side so the dummy falls out, if only she'd stay lying flat on her back facing upwards, gravity would help!)

A newborn is likely to sleep without a dummy, because sleep at this age is passive. So as long as a fully tummy, sleep should "just happen".

Yes, this is what I was hoping for, but when clean, fed and winded, she's put down and doesn't go to sleep... I don't know what to do! She'll look around and 'chat' for a while, which progresses to complaining noises after a while. I've tried leaving her but she can stay awake for up to an hour with the grumbling gradually increasing until she's crying. This is especially infuriating at night when we both just need sleep! Of course, she then ends up overtired, or hungry again, so her next feed is poor as she'll be desperate to sleep, perpetuating the cycle. She'll then nap badly... aargh!

eddiemairswife... she's a bit small to even know her thumbs are attached to her at the moment!

LapinR0se Sat 25-Mar-17 11:04:18

I would definitely not be pushing a dummy on a baby. They cause issues longer term when sleep regressions kick in and you are up every 45 mins reinserting the damn things.
Try to go without and see how you get on

FATEdestiny Sat 25-Mar-17 11:10:33

Is baby not falling to sleep while feeding?

At 2 weeks old it's usually just a case of feeding to sleep. Lift sleepy baby into your shoulder for a drowsy wind cuddle until asleep. Maybe a bit of swaying while baby is there. Then put somewhere to sleep.

FatRedCrayon Sat 25-Mar-17 11:57:55

She falls asleep feeding... indeed it can be a bit of a challenge keeping her awake for a full feed, but I'm told that's normal for her age. However when she's done and winded she'll wake when put down, regardless of how long she's held for. After a couple of minutes in the moses basket or crib, her eyes will open and she'll start the chatting, before grumbling... and no sleeping!

Sometimes I'll lift her and see if she needs to burp again (rarely) or offer more milk, but that doesn't seem to be the issue. She just wakes and won't go off to sleep, so ends up tired and grumpy and awake for several hours. It's so frustrating, especially at night. It's why I tried a dummy... which she is currently loudly protesting against!

FATEdestiny Sat 25-Mar-17 12:47:12

Unless you have concerns about establishing breastfeeding and weight gain, I wouldn't be working to keep baby wake during the feed. Newborn means feeding to sleep, there isn't really another way this young. Certainly don't worry about rods for your back.

Is baby floppy and fully asleep while being winded? If not, maybe reduce the ferocity and sway or rock a bit to get baby to sleep while being winded on your shoulder.

Also, not sure when in the process you are swaddling, but putting in the swaddle before the feed may help.

Rockinghorsehay Sat 25-Mar-17 12:53:54

Dummy and swaddle has been a lifesaver for us with 2 out of 3 children. Made so much difference, particularly when they got a bit bigger and meant they could sleep in car/buggy easily. As an ex-thumb sucker who had to have lots of orthodontic treatment I have tried to avoid thumb and have found it very easy to get rid of dummies by 2. Mine have only had it for sleep and quite time, never to walk around. Wish I'd done it with number 1.

MollyHuaCha Sat 25-Mar-17 12:56:01

Congratulations on your DD smile. Having a newborn baby is always exhausting - you are trying to recover from the birth, you have a toddler to care for as well as a new baby to get to know, a household to run, visitors to cope with, baby clinic to attend. It's a hectic time and like no other.

Regarding dummies, I have a personal dislike of them for various reasons - bad for emerging teeth, can contribute to speech delay, germy unless constantly sterilized, can create dependence and they just don't look very nice. However, if it works for you, then def use one. But I wouldn't push a dummy on a baby who doesn't seem to like it.

Good luck whatever you choose.

FatRedCrayon Sat 25-Mar-17 13:27:58

FATE she can drop off 2 minutes into the feed, thankfully breastfeeding is going well, I just want her 'tanked up' so she has a decent nap (ha) and I know she's not waking from hunger. Yes, she is floppy when being winded, and I usually put the swaddle on half way through the feed so she's already in it when the feed is done. So, definitely asleep when put down. She just always wakes a few minutes later, and perhaps that micro nap then stops her drifting off again. Or maybe the luck of the draw has given me two crap sleepers... sad

Rockinghorse, Molly, thanks for your thoughts - my DS has dummies for naps and night time only, if DD takes to the dummy I’ll endeavour to do the same. I didn't want to introduce a dummy for him initially, but it was literally the only thing that even vaguely helped him to sleep - hence offering a dummy to DD, although now I'm second guessing myself (sleep deprivation breeds self-doubt)!

FATEdestiny Sat 25-Mar-17 13:42:18

So, definitely asleep when put down. She just always wakes a few minutes later

Is she in something you can move? (Pram, bouncer, rocker etc). It would be at this point I'd put dummy in and start the rhythmic movements. You have to be quick about it though, catch baby before waking up (when they do that face scrunching thing) and lull back into a deep sleep before moving out of light sleeping.

If baby needs the swaddle then this would be best done in something flat that moves - pram, rocking crib etc. I favour the foot bouncing the bouncy chair for daytime naps, but you cant swaddle baby in a bouncer.

FatRedCrayon Sat 25-Mar-17 17:19:54

FATE thanks for your suggestions, I'll keep trying... we've had a frustrating afternoon of her falling asleep feeding, rocking her on my shoulder, putting her down asleep in her basket, dummy in, rocking her... then she wakes up regardless and cries. It doesn't matter how asleep she is, a couple of minutes after being put down, she's awake, and she's not happy about it. If I leave her because the toddler needs attention, she'll eventually doze... for 5 minutes before the screaming starts up again... she gets no sleep except for 5 minute crap naps.

I am tearing my hair out already, I've been through this with DS and it almost killed me, I honestly have no idea how I'm going to cope with another non-sleeper!

Nottalotta Sun 26-Mar-17 06:39:55 a similar position. Ds1 20 months, still struggle with napping other than in the pram/😬car. Ds2 6 weeks. I can't swaddle as struggle to keeper's arms in and he almost always poos 5 minutes later.

Doesn't really need the dummy now but am prepping for when he does. I use it for naps at hone, in the bouncy chair.

I also do a sling nap most days where I walk for 30-60 minutes. Toddler in pram. Both sleep and baby can often be put down to stay asleep fir two it three hours

LapinR0se Sun 26-Mar-17 08:46:46

OP your baby is doing snack n snooze. You're essentially a 24/7 tapas bar which is not fun.
First of all, does your baby have a tongue tie? If yes then I would advise you to get it snipped asap.
If not, then do the following:
Do a proper feed. Wake the baby as soon as they start nodding off. Take them off the breast, strip them off, put them on the floor next to you. Just get them awake.
Feed from both sides for as long as you can.
Wind like a mofo after both sides.
Swaddle the baby make sure they are awake then pop down in the Moses basket.
Do not put the baby down asleep. This is the root of your problem.
Lay your hand on the baby and pat pat pat and shhhhhhhhh until calm.
You should get a much better and longer nap this way

FATEdestiny Sun 26-Mar-17 09:52:36

Happy Mothers Day to you all flowers

Both babies sleeping at the same time Notta - that's the Holy Grail! I bet the peace is lovely, even if you are out walking.

FatRedCrayon, you are only 2 weeks in. Remember that regardless of how baby is doing, your body likely to still be in recovery from the birth and your hormones will be all over the place. Go easy on yourself.

Nottalotta Sun 26-Mar-17 11:43:30

I'll add that not everything works for all babies. Ds 1 and 2 are poles apart. Ds1 didn't fall asleep independently until he was more than 12 months old. Ds2 frequently does aged 6 weeks. No amount if putting ds1 down 'awake but drowsy' made Any difference at all.

FatRedCrayon Tue 28-Mar-17 11:09:49

Thanks all. It's been a couple of days and we're not getting anywhere fast. She still isn't keen on the dummy and holding it in hasn't helped - she spits it out, or gets upset - we've abandoned it for now. Perhaps she'll be more keen in a few weeks. It really did help DS although he was older when he came to love it.

She's also developed the night time squirming and grunting and wriggling that her brother had. At least it doesn't seem to be waking her up although frustratingly it means that I can't sleep through it as shs's so noisy and sounds like a stuck pig! It's like she has wind or is trying to poo - although she usually burps ok and poos frequently.

LapinR0se ironically to try and avoid the 'snacking' I'd been doing exactly as you'd suggested... and it wasn't working. DS had a tongue tie and it caused all sorts of issues so wanted to avoid it this time. DD doesn't have a tongue tie and is feeding fine. But this whole 'put her down drowsy but awake' malarkey she just isn't on board with. Anything but sound asleep (and often not even then) is met with eyes pinging open and complaining starting. So my choices then are to leave her to cry or pick her up and start all over again. I don't always have time to pick her up when DS needs attention too.

Nottalotta my symapthies, it's so draining isn't it! I can't do long walks at the moment as still recovering after the birth. I walked everywhere with DS as he only slept in the sling. Can't do that this time around as he's less keen on napping in the pushchair!

FATE thanks, I hope it improves... I know it will in time... but the thought of months of hideous sleep deprivation first do not appeal!

Nottalotta Tue 28-Mar-17 13:41:54

Ds2 is six weeks now and starting to get the hang of the dummy a bit more. Completely know what you mean about not having the ability/time to resettle when you have a toddler.

I am hoovering miss mornings, pop baby in bouncy chair, hoover around him. He sleeps! Just discovered it doesn't work in the afternoon though.

FATEdestiny Tue 28-Mar-17 19:13:45

Regarding "snacking". This idea can be a thorn in the side of a breastfeeding mum. Because you can never be sure.

While I only have experience of breastfeeding a 2 week old, I have experience of exclusive breastfeeding (twice), exclusive formula feeding and mix feeding at 4 months.

And I can tell you that all four of these were frequent daytime feeders. 2 hourly average, but could be 90 minutes to a maximum of 2.5h.

It was a revelation to me when DC3 was formula fed after two breadtfeeders. I had always, always been made to believe that my children were "snacking" and if only I could get them going longer between feeds, they would be much more "normal".

Then DC3's formula bottles showed me - proved to me - that babies can and do have FULL AND FREQUENT feeds. Frequent fees absolutely does not mean snacking.

DC4 was the same. 2 hourly (or more frequent) feeds were full feeds. Full amount, a full bottle. Not less because the feeds are close together. Not snacking.

I believer the same had been true for all my children. That's the benefit of hindsight though. While breastfeeding and breastfeeding frequently, you can make yourself believe that baby is snacking when they are not. Baby could well be taking as much as their tummy can hold, digesting it quickly (and using the calories and goodness for growing and developing), and wanting another full feed a short time later.

If I tried to space feeds put, baby just made up for it by wanting more night feeds. So not the answer at all for any of my four children.

Redyellowpinkblue Tue 28-Mar-17 19:29:17

OP she might be like my DD1 and not be comfy lying completely flat after a feed? We BF and she would drop off nicely, I'd let her sleep with as cuddle/burp and transfer her to moses basket, all sound asleep.... but within minutes she'd be awake and as time went on these wakings were more and more grumpy. At 3 weeks in a friend gave me a poddlepod and I transferred her into that instead and she slept like a dream. We ditched the moses basket and didn't look back. Same for the cot, she just couldn't sleep in it successfully so we ended up co sleeping but we used a Sleepyhead and it worked brilliantly. I think at a few weeks old they are still so tiny they like to feel safe and snug, and swaddling doesnt cut it with some babies, mine hated being swaddled.

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