This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.


Dummies and pacifiers - baby sleep problems

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
dummies and sleep, pacifiers and sleep, baby sleep, baby sleep consultant, baby sleep training, hierarchy of soothing, online sleep program, nurture sleep program
The decision to finally admit that the dummy is not helping your baby's sleep is a tough one. I've had another tough week of removing dummies from babies, who are addicted to them as a sleep association, and they've failed to help the bubba's stay asleep!

So this blog is especially for Miss Ruby and Miss Elsie and their mummies <3 They're on their way to being dummy free but it's not been easy.

Before I go on I do not love or hate the dummy/pacifier. They have their uses and can be very very useful for a lot of babies and their parents. My niece Gemma had several until she was 5 years old (she's now 26) and my other niece Freya had one till 2 years old.

baby sleep

What are they useful for?

    • Babies who cry a lot (for whatever reason)
    • Colic and tummy troubles
    • Reflux
    • Premature babies - it helps their suck reflex and may reduce the risk of SIDS (see link below)
    • Sleep associations

    • Comfort
Babies that have tummy troubles benefit from sucking to aid pain relief. It soothes them and releases endorphins those feel good love hormones. Babies with reflux find them helpful as it helps milk flow better and faster through the digestive system and helps with wind pain. These babies have a notoriously sluggish digestive system.

The dummy has also been linked to better cardiac control and so linked with a reduction in SIDS. This ABC news article give more detail:

Australian researcher Associate Professor Rosemary Horne, of the Monash Institute of Medical Research says epidemiological studies have consistently shown dummy use protects against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, she says, how the soother does this has been unclear.

So when are they not helpful?

    • Sleep - if they fall out every 20-40 minutes and need to be replaced for the baby to go back to sleep again.
    • Breast feeding - they may reduce milk supply in a young baby as the dummy can replace a feed that is needed.
    • Babies who have a lot of wind and suck a lot on a dummy causing more wind/gas.
    • Thrush and infections - if not sterilised regularly (daily for young babies) thrush/candida can occur (see my previous blog on babies and thrush).

And the piece de la resistance of all things dummy ...

When I first trained as a Health Visitor/Child & Family Health Nurse we had it drilled into us that we must tell parents not to suck on a dirty dummy. Parents were advised to clean it and then put it back in baby's mouth. The reason being, bad bacteria were getting passed on (oral tooth decay germs) that could cause tooth decay in your baby.

Well that has been well and truly turned on its head. Isn't it funny how things turn full circle?

Now it is thought that very thing, sucking on your baby's dummy and replacing it, may be a really really good thing! Yes really! Swedish researchers claim that infants whose parents clean their dummies by sucking on them might be less likely to develop allergies because of how their parents' saliva changes the babies' oral flora.

The researchers found that 65 out of the 184 babies in the study whose parent sucked on their pacifiers to clean them were significantly less likely to get eczema and asthma - two conditions caused by allergic/immune system reactions - than babies whose parents didn't use that cleaning method. And interestingly, mums who delivered vaginally tend to favour the cleaning practice than C-section mums.

The humble dummy may have a lot more going for it than against it.

There's one thing I need to add … Try not to use it too much as a sleep association tool.

Try and settle baby without it before 4 months and you may very well avoid that troublesome 4 month sleep regression.

Members of my Nurture Sleep Program will confirm I've helped them resolve dummy issues and you can get the same support when you join.

Access my 3 decades of experience as a registered midwife and child and family health nurse via the Nurture Sleep Program. The Nurture Sleep Program will take your baby from sleepless to slumber in up to 7 easy lessons across 3 age groups.

? FOODS that promote sleep
ROUTINE: easy, flexible, sleep-ready
? ENVIRONMENT: getting it right
?? DEVELOPMENT changes: how these affect sleep
? SLEEP METHODS: secret tips that will change your life

It will stop the guesswork and give you:

A tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep)
Gentle baby sleep methods
Holistic assessment
Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep
Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos
Prevention for under 4 months so no need to do sleep training ever
And all at a low $97 for a very limited time

← Older Post Newer Post →


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published