Dummy replugging 4-5 times an hour!!

Nervous parents, Mr and Mrs Coleman had avoided long screaming sessions by using a dummy to help calm their baby.

Megan was very attached to her dummy for sleep but her exhausted parents found themselves having to go in and replace it for her several times through the night because she could not yet find it or put it back in by herself. They would take shifts but still both parents were unable to function properly on such disturbed sleep.

Usually, replacing the dummy would be all 7 month old Megan needed and then everyone could go back to sleep but sometimes this would happen four to five times in an hour or Megan would need more than just the dummy so her parents would pick her up and try to cuddle or rock her back to sleep.

Sometimes this worked and sometimes not so as a last resort they would take her into their bed for the rest of the night just to get a bit of sleep!

We looked at the options for the dummy:

  1. Keep it in our plan and teach her how to take control of it herself -This would be tricky because many babies are not able to grasp or make this complex move until around the age of nine months.
  1. Get rid of the dummy completely - It bares little benefit past the age of six months and is likely to be increasing Megan’s disturbances in the night.

The parents were nervous about ditching the dummy.

They feared this would mean Megan would be awake and crying or screaming for hours on end in the night without this means of comfort.

Having made this bold move myself in the past with my eldest, I knew exactly how they felt but I reassured them and explained that there is no easy time to do it and it only gets harder the older they get so now is as good a time as any.

They agreed that it was likely to be a good move and bravely they threw away all the dummies and gave Megan a new bedtime teddy bear as a reward.

At first Megan did look for the dummy when she woke, naturally, it was all she knew up until now. However after a few days of receiving comfort and reassurance from her parents while remaining in her cot, the dummy was forgotten.

The parents fears of having to spend long hours trying to resettle her in the night without having a dummy to give her and without taking her into their own bed, were quickly dashed because Megan rapidly reduced her night wakings and by night three she was sleeping through the night!

In this case, the dummy was actually the primary cause of the night wakings and was hindering more than it was helping, even though it seemed to be the thing that most aided Megan’s sleep.

They felt so proud of their achievements, this rested and refreshed family could get back to enjoying one and other and ‘living’ rather than surviving.

Note: The names in this case study have been changed to protect identity

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Lucy Shrimpton, "The Sleep Nanny"

Known as The Sleep Nanny®, Lucy Shrimpton is the mother of two young children and one of the UK’s leading experts in child sleep. As a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, Lucy was trained and mentored by “The Sleep Lady” Kim West, and studied the most extensive professional sleep programme available, working with doctors, attorneys, lactation counsellors and family therapists. After studying the methods and philosophies of pioneers and experts in child sleep, Lucy has developed The Sleep Nanny System™, which gives parents the information and tools they need in order to find a solution that suits the individual personality of their child. With The Sleep Nanny System™, Lucy has already helped hundreds of parents and children worldwide, discover the gift of sleep.