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Could a dummy perhaps solve my 12 week old's sleep problems? Advice needed by first time mum

(11 Posts)
SlightlyDoolally Thu 25-Jun-09 17:17:28

I'm a first time mum with a 12 week old DS who is finding sleeping increasingly difficult, and I'm wondering whether to try using a dummy with him.

Here are his 2 key issues:

Night-time: previously he was a good sleeper - would sleep from about 9pm until 6am with 1 or possibly 2 wake-ups for BF then back down again happily (fed to sleep). We swaddle him so he doesn't startle awake, and were pleased at how well this was working. Now, though (for the last week-ish), he is fighting the swaddle and writhing and screaming rather than finding it relaxing. I'm trying to sleep him unswaddled, but he keeps startling awake and can't settle again. Feeding to sleep doesn't work often enough, as he's too full (and overtired) to feed. Last night he was up every 1-2 hours and is exhausted today. I can't bear his poor little face looking at me through his tears wondering why I can't help him get to sleep - it just breaks my heart and I feel like I'm letting him down.

Naps: He can't settle to nap in the day time without some kind of facilitation - a pram walk, a drive in the car, or a bop to music in the baby bjorn. All of these are becoming difficult in the hot weather, and I would love to be able to settle him in his cot in a nice cool room instead.

Up to this point I have resisted using a dummy because I didn't want it to interfere with breastfeeding and because I didn't want him to become too reliant on it and have difficulty getting him off it later. But I'm really wondering whether a dummy could be the solution to these sleep issues now, and am confident that breastfeeding is well established after 12 weeks.

So, after that loooong intro (sorry), I was wondering whether anyone could give an opinion on dummies: do you use one; do you wish you'd started sooner; do you rue the day you caved in and tried using one...?

As a first time mum with no family experience of dummy-use, I don't know who to ask for advice and I really want to help my poor tired baby sleep better

reikizen Thu 25-Jun-09 17:35:12

A dummy saved my life with dd1 after I had previously been all snooty about them but I was bottle feeding so I know that's different. I suppose if you feel that by 12 weeks feeding is well established, know many friends who had no problems combining bfing and dummies. But be aware that sometimes we will never be able to 'solve' a sleep problem in such tiny babies, it just goes away one day in my experience and you have no idea why! They constantly change so what worked last week doesn't work today, that's just how they are. Neither of mine would ever simply lie down and go to sleep as babies, they both needed a cuddle, pram etc for quite a while. Also, I had them sleep close to me for longer than 12 weeks, not in a room in another part of the house, and I think that is the recommendation now with regard to cot death prevention. Dd2 showed no interest in a dummy so wasn't an issue.

SlightlyDoolally Thu 25-Jun-09 17:44:32

Thanks reikizen. A lot of my hesitation about dummies has also been snootiness to be honest, but I'm prepared to overlook that after the last few sleepless nights!

I am sleeping in the same room as DS, in a bed just a couple of feet away from his cot so we can hear and see each other.

I know that there is no magic solution to these sleep problems, and don't expect a dummy to fix everything, but lots of people have said I'm mad not to try one with him so I wondered what the mumsnetters thought.

Thanks for your comments

row78 Thu 25-Jun-09 19:43:07

I was snooty about dummies, and then after my son refused to ever settle I gave in, and he refused it! Believe me, if giving him dummy would have got me some sleep in the past 6 months I would have gone for it. Yes you will have to break a habit, but surely that is easier when you have actually had some nights sleep?

row78 Thu 25-Jun-09 19:44:10

Oh and if you are snooty about them, just give it to him when trying to settle, and then no needs ever know :-)

MmeLindt Thu 25-Jun-09 19:47:13

Both mine had dummies, but I FF so I don't know how much more complicated it is when you BF. I do know that lots of my friends in Germany BF and their DC had dummies so I suspect that it is possible and perhaps depends on the make of dummy.

At the end of the day, sleep was more important to me and I was absolute anti-dummy.

Both DC gave up the dummy, DD with rather more resistance than DS but even she was weaned off her dummy within 24 hours.

It might also be a growth spurt. I seem to recall that mine had one at 12 weeks or so and they were more restless and fed more often.

jeffily Thu 25-Jun-09 20:44:59

Oh, reading your post was eerie- it could have been me writing that! My DD is 12 weeks old and follows a similar sleeping pattern to your DS, though we are co-sleeping so I lose track of what her feeding is like overnight! I also hated the thought of a giving her a dummy and resisted strongly when DH suggested it. He eventually won out though and we finally got her one. The first few times she just spat it out, but now I find that if she is really upset/overtired, she will take it to calm down but is not bothered when she falls asleep and it comes out of her mouth.

I did a bit of research about dummy use- there is a suggestion that it reduces the risk of SIDS. To make me feel better about giving her it, we set very clear rules about when/where she would have the dummy and decided that it would only be a last resort. By the time you get to 12 weeks you can be quite secure that it won't interfere with BF, although my HV did say that often BF babies are not interested in dummies as the teat means nothing to them.

This is a long and rambling way of saying, do what you need to do! You never know, she might hate the dummy and just spit it out and that will be decision made for you. Or if it works, make the most of it!

ches Fri 26-Jun-09 02:41:36

I agree it's a growth spurt which is affecting his sleep and making him sleepy.

Dummies don't reduce the risk of SIDS any more than breastfeeding. The theory is that dummies make them sleep LIGHTER. Night nursing has the same effect.

Crossleggedmoose Fri 26-Jun-09 16:23:45

I know you asked for some advice about using dummies but I thought I'd just let you know that it was not the miracle cure I was expecting. Some babies just don't like them!

My DD was pretty unsettled 2-3 times a day up until she was about 4 months old.

I was desperate for her to take a dummy as I thought it would solve all her sleep problems. I tried for a week to get her to suck it and she managed to once or twice, but then just kept pushing it out with her tongue! She fell asleep sucking it for a daytime nap, but as soon as it fell out, she was wide awake.

I found it more stressful trying to make her take the dummy that in the end, I just gave up.

We also wrapped DD and she was ok to start with but started to wriggle and fight her wraps by the time she was 12 weeks old. We went away one weekend and I borrowed a sleeping bag for her (similar to grobag) but this one had sleeves and was very warm (it was winter) and for the 1st time in 12 weeks, she slept for 8 hours solid! I wish I had put her in a sleeping bag sooner! I never noticed her startling herself awake though.

Umlellala Sat 27-Jun-09 05:40:32

Agree that dummies - and feeding frequently - make them sleep lighter - and this is a good thing (honest) in early months. I hate dummies too but dd has a dummy (still hmm - she's only ever had it for sleep - and the odd comfort suck) and though it drives me mad, it really, really comforted her and helped her. Tbh, there are times I wish ds would take one. He's so noisy going to sleep too (on/next to me even)! Hate hearing that crying/moan/sleep noise - dd never did it!

SlightlyDoolally Sat 27-Jun-09 10:46:52

Thanks everyone for your comments. I've bought 4 dummies and they are still sitting in the cupboard waiting to see if we really do want to try him with them or not. The last 2 nights he's slept much better again, so maybe it was just a bad patch.

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