Is your Dummy Stopping your Baby from Self Soothing?

Is your Dummy Stopping your Baby from Self Soothing?

Is your Dummy Stopping your Baby from Self Soothing?

The ability to go from awake to drowsy to asleep without any assistance from Mum or Dad is what we refer to as Self Soothing.

Do you let you wrap your baby, pop their dummy in, and they drift off to sleep?

While this is a great way to get a newborn to sleep, and works successfully for many babies, if you start to notice that your baby is waking after 30-45 minutes and crying, then actually they aren't self soothing, they are dependent on the dummy to go to sleep.

Parents often email me confused as to why their baby settles so easily, and doesn't wake up when the dummy initially falls out, but believing their baby self soothes, are confused as to why the baby can't go back to sleep after a short sleep cycle.

As always, the conditions in which your baby needed to fall asleep, they likely need to go back to sleep.

So if your baby has a dummy to settle, they need the dummy to re-settle.

What about sleep training with a dummy?

If you are wanting to teach self soothing, another mistake parents make, is keeping the dummy under the age of 8 months.

Under this age, it is unlikely that your baby will learn to find and replace their own dummy, therefore your baby will remain dependent on you to put that dummy in for them, and this doesn't consistent self soothing, as you the parent are soothing them. 

Hearing from parents who are using spaced soothing and using a dummy under the age of 8 months is another mistake I hear parents making.

It is unlikely to result in self soothing, until your baby is old enough to put that dummy in themselves.

If you pop that dummy in, during sleep training, then no self soothing is being taught, and your options are.

1. Ditch the dummy and work on self soothing.

2. Pop the dummy in, and help your baby drift off to sleep with the dummy.

3. Wait until 7-8 months and teach your baby to put their own dummy in, find and replace their own dummy, and this will be your baby self soothing with a dummy.



Whether or not you keep a dummy or ditch a dummy is a very personal decision, they are a great soothing tool for children, and can be great for older children.

But that in-between age can be fraught with multiple dummy runs a night, short naps, and frustration as your baby becomes over tired due to insufficient sleep. 

Some sleep patterns that cause parents to decide to get rid of the dummy and work on self soothing include.

  • Short naps - cat naps

  • Struggling to settle, multiple dummy runs per nap

  • Short naps, causing over tired grumpy baby

  • Frequent wake ups at night to replace the dummy.

  • Early morning wake ups for the dummy.

Once you make a decision to work on self soothing without the dummy, you have multiple options depending on your babies age, stage and temperament.

We cover all of these options in our online sleep program.

Take the quiz, work out your parenting style, and your child's sleep temperament, and be directed to the best self soothing approach for your family.

No two families are the same when it comes to sleep, settling and raising babies. 



Emma Purdue

Emma is the owner and founder of Baby Sleep Consultant, she is a certified infant and child sleep consultant, Happiest Baby on the block educator, has a Bachelor of Science, and Diploma in Education. Emma is a mother to 3 children, and loves writing when she isn't working with tired clients and cheering on her team helping thousands of mums just like you.


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