Weaning 6-month-old off dummy - help!

(21 Posts)
EJ85 Mon 28-Dec-20 20:05:27

My 6-month-old baby relies on the dummy to get to and stay asleep. He’s now waking frequently in the night and crying when he realises that the dummy isn’t there.

We’ve thought about waiting until he can find the dummy himself but as it’s disturbing everyone’s sleep, I think that the dummy needs to go.

Has anyone got any tips on dummy weaning? I briefly tried a gentle method but it resulted in lots of tears. Is cold turkey the best way?!

OP’s posts: |
Parkmama Mon 28-Dec-20 20:11:45

Yes I think so, I'm not sure it's fair on them to let them have it sometimes and not others, they don't really get the concept of the 'gentle' weaning approach. Cold turkey is painful but you should be through the worst of it in a few days. Both my DD's had a dummy and I let them have it until they were about 2.5. It definitely helped in those early years to provide comfort in the day and sleep at night, when they kept waking for it like yours is, I just put a few in their cots and they soon managed to locate them. It was also helpful when it came to dropping the night feeds. Good luck!

EJ85 Tue 29-Dec-20 09:47:32

@Parkmama Thanks for your reply, I’m in two minds as to whether I should wait for him to find it himself or just to cold turkey. Sleep is horrendous at the moment - he wakes every time it drops out of his mouth so I don’t know if I can hold out for much longer! 😩😬

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Superstardjs Tue 29-Dec-20 09:53:23

Dd had about half a dozen dummies in her cot at that age and just learned to find one. We weaned her off it same as pp, about 2 and a half and it was fine then, but definitely helped with sleep up till then.

FiloPastryMaker Tue 29-Dec-20 10:17:32

@EJ85 I was going to post today about weaning 7mo DS from dummy! Same as you he needs us to replace it so frequently in the night it's driving me bonkers. He can get to sleep in the car, pram or in bed with us without it so I'm thinking he maybe needs it less than he once did.

Just put him down for first nap without it and it was brutal, got himself really worked up and I had to give him a feed to calm him down. Then lots of rocking. I guess this is how it will be for a while as he gets used to it. Will try and give it a day or so and go back to it if he doesn't seem to be adapting.

Would be interested to see an update post from you OP.

FATEdestiny Tue 29-Dec-20 10:23:22

You are probably focusing in on the wrong thing here, the dummy won't be the cause of your baby's sleep issues (I say this as a sleep consultant). Yes, sounds like aspects of your baby's sleep could improve significantly - but you are focusing on the wrong thing.

Dummies are ACE and the single best gentle, no-crying sleep solution.

When a child (or adult) goes to sleep, all of their muscles relax and go slack. That includes the mouth and jaw muscles. As such the dummy is meant to fall out - it's an indication that baby is now in a deep sleep. The purpose of the dummy is to allow sucking when going to sleep, because sucking is a natural comfort for all babies. They take that comfort from dummy to allow their body and muscles to relax. Then once relaxed and asleep, dummy comes out of the mouth. It has served it's purpose. It's then not needed again until baby next wakes up.

So if baby us waking frequently and needing dummy very frequently - look at why baby is not staying in a deep sleep. It isn't the dummy because the dummy serves no purpose during deep sleep. Some possible things to consider:

- Over tiredness, exhaustion and sleep deprivation (in babies) causes fretful sleep lacking in deep, restful sleep. The more sleep baby gets, the better quality that sleep will be. It might need a few days of emergency measures to overcome extreme overtiredness and so see improvements.
- hunger is an obvious disruption to deep sleep
- pain or physical discomfort. This could be many things - too hot, too cold, lumpy bedding, disturbed by peple/noises in the room, wind, reflux, illness.
- extra comfort is needed to help baby to relax into a deep sleep. Just sucking might not be enough. Close contact may help. Or movement.
- not going to sleep where baby stays asleep. If baby goes to sleep in your arms (for example) and is put into cot already asleep, this can give a sence of upset and confusing when stirring and and being in an unexpected place.

There are loads of other things. Bottom line is, dummy is unlikely to be the problem here. If you are getting rid (I wouldnt) do it fully cold turkey for the sake of consistency.

FATEdestiny Tue 29-Dec-20 10:26:25

Look into a sleepytot as a way for you and baby to most easily find and reinsert dummy in the night.


EJ85 Tue 29-Dec-20 10:36:52

@FATEdestiny Thanks for such a detailed reply. This makes sense but I really pay attention to sake windows and sleepy cues, he is comforted and I can tell by his cry if he is in pain or discomfort. I’m really not sure what it could be other than the dummy. Starting to feel like I’m going mad!

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EJ85 Tue 29-Dec-20 10:37:20

@FATEdestiny Awake windows, even!

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EJ85 Tue 29-Dec-20 10:38:51

@Superstardjs I wish this worked for us but I’ve tried and he can’t find them himself. Very frustrating for him and for us!

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EJ85 Tue 29-Dec-20 10:40:53

@FiloPastryMaker Ah, you’re in the same boat! Same here - he can sleep in pram and car without it but it’s a definite sleep crutch when at home.

Sorry to hear that the first nap was brutal - we’re going to take it away later today so let’s keep each other updated. Good luck!

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snowy0wl Tue 29-Dec-20 10:54:24

OP - does your son have a favourite toy or comforter? He will most likely need something to replace his dummy. Be prepared for the process to take several days or a few weeks. It took two weeks for us to wean our daughter off her dummy when she was 1. Good luck!

EJ85 Tue 29-Dec-20 11:12:19

@snowy0wl Thanks, we have a muslin toy that we’ve introduced and I put it into his hand when re-settling him. He hasn’t taken to it quite yet but I’m hoping he will!
I’m hoping that the process takes days rather than weeks but I suppose we have to be prepared! Did you go cold turkey?

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snowy0wl Tue 29-Dec-20 11:33:17

Yes, we went cold turkey. As other posters have said it will most likely confuse your DS if you are not consistent.

EJ85 Tue 29-Dec-20 15:50:56

@snowy0wl Thanks! Pretty nervous about starting the process but something has to change!

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EJ85 Wed 30-Dec-20 22:09:42

@FiloPastryMaker How are you getting in? We’ve got through day one - slightly nervous about the night ahead! Hope you’ve made some headway.

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OhToBeASeahorse Thu 31-Dec-20 12:45:58

Sorry if I missed it but have you got a dummy clip? Found those v useful. DS (just over 2) still has a dummy for naptime and bedtime. It's a great sleep cue

BuffaloMozzerella Thu 31-Dec-20 13:44:23

We went cold turkey. Getting her to sleep without it took longer the first night (maybe the second too - can't remember now) and then she forgot abut it - so well worth it! And slept much better/longer too.

EJ85 Fri 01-Jan-21 08:35:26

@OhToBeASeahorse We do have a dummy clip but after two days cold turkey I think he forgotten about it! Agree that they’re an amazing sleep cue - he just wanted it all night though!

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EJ85 Fri 01-Jan-21 08:37:18

@BuffaloMozzerella Cold turkey seems to be working! Far less traumatic than I feared. As you say, sleep is much better and longer but he’s woken up for an hour both nights. Hopefully a few nap tweaks and he’ll crack it.

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BuffaloMozzerella Fri 01-Jan-21 13:26:01

Great news!! His waking may just be developmental so keep that in mind. For example we took away the dummy around 5 months but she didn't actually sleep through until 7 months - but she did sleep a lot better generally. Good luck!

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