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Question:

My four month old has a great routine –
7.00am wake
7.00am bottle (formula)
8.00am solids (farex, apple puree etc)
9.00-11.00am Sleep
11.00am bottle
12.00pm solids
1.00-3.00pm sleep
3.00pm bottle
4.30-5.15pm nap
5.20pm solids
5.45pm bath
6.00-6.30pm bottle
7pm bed
10.30pm dream feed

Generally my baby wakes once per night for a feed (last night was 5.30am) and put my baby back to bed where she slept until 7.30am when she woke.

My challenge is her waking when her falls out dummy when she hits the 45 minute sleep cycle.
She crys out and is moving her head / mouth looking for her dummy. How do I get rid of the dummy or make the dummy work better for her?
During the night, she can self settle, it is mostly during the day that she gets frustrated.

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Answer:

With regard to her dummy it is about not using it as a prop but as a settling tool. This means that when she goes to bed she goes down without her dummy and you allow her an appropriate time to settle and then if she doesn’t settle then intervene with your settling tools to help her find her sleep. I have also adjusted her routine for you.

7.00am Wake
7.15am Bottle and Solids

Offer milk feed before naptime
9.00 -11.00 am sleep

11.15am Solids plus water in Sippy cup
12.45pm Milk feed
1.00pm Nap
3.00pm Wakes
3.15pm Milk feed

In between here I would suggest you do a band-aid nap so work backwards from her going to bedtime and keep her wake time the same. So at this stage I would suggest the band-aid nap be 5 to 5.30pm and then bed by 7.30pm. If you cant do the band aid nap then stretch her wake times out to 2 hours 15 minutes and then her bed time would be around the time you want.

5.00pm Band-aid nap no longer than 30 minutes
5.30pm Wakes
5.15pm Solids and milk
Evening routine bath, milk

7.30 bed
If feeding during the night ensure you are feeding for hunger and not comfort.

Dummies are a useful tool to help settle your baby if they need help to find their sleep. However if you ‘plug’ your baby with the dummy as soon as they go to bed then, I believe, that you are taking away their chance and ability to try and settle by themselves.
Giving a dummy to your baby straight away can in fact cause more crying than if you let them grizzle/cry first before allowing, and then if needed, use as part of your settling tools. .

Dummies are designed to comfort newborn babies. Around six months most babies no longer need to ‘suck’ to gain comfort and so the use of a dummy should diminish.

However, if your baby continues to use the dummy as a comforter it is important to keep it for their cot, for settling and re-settling. It should not be given so that your baby has it in their mouth the whole time. I often see this latter approach when mums are out and about and I understand in this circumstance that the object of the dummy in an older child’s mouth is to keep them quiet. However, doing this regularly can affect their speech development.

BAND AID NAPS
Now between this feed and going to bedtime you either need to decide whether to put her to bed for the night at 5.00pm or do a band aid nap. If you choose to do a Band-Aid nap then work backwards from 7.30pm so that she is waking from the Band-Aid no later than 5.00pm so the Band-Aid nap will be between 5.00pm and 5.30pm

SETTLING AND RESETTLING NOTES
Settling and resettling take TACT – time, acceptance, consistency and tranquility

Sleep is a learned behaviour. Sleep is also a nutrient and walks hand in hand with food.

It takes a minimum of ten days to see any changes and the change at the end of the light is just a dim light. The first 3 to 4 days is always the hardest and to change their circadian sleep cycles it takes a minimum of six weeks

Sleep is a learned behaviour. Sleep is also a nutrient and walks hand in hand with food. It is healthy for a baby to cry/grizzle before going to sleep. When you go to bed you read a book, meditate, watch TV, or chat with your partner – a baby can only do one thing and that is cry. You are not leaving him there to cry it out; you are leaving him there to give him the ability to find his own sleep. In my experience it takes approximately 20 minutes for a baby to fall asleep, however you are not going to leave your baby to do this on their own. Ideally you will put your baby in their cot awake, close the curtains and leave the room. You will leave your baby for an appropriate time and then intervene with reassurance – I tend to do this in 5-minute intervals so the settling routine will look like this – and it also depends on the age of the baby. For babies under 12 weeks, I tend to do the settling in arms. IF doing in arms I never do any movement that cannot be replicated in a cot.

Into bed, leave for up to 5 minutes (at your baby’s age you will probably only leave for a minute and its also about the crying/grizzling and whether it is off or on)

Comfort – reassure (this is normally less that the grizzling time)

This can be repeated for up to 20 minutes with reassurance every five minutes and then you need to stay in the room and help your baby find their sleep – if you already haven’t. Sometimes babies will not be able to go to sleep if they are light sensitive. I would suggest that you look at your baby’s room and if they are unable to fall asleep then try making the room darker.

It is not about leaving your baby to cry it out, but it is about allowing your baby the right and ability to find their sleep and if they cannot do this in an appropriate time then intervening and helping them to find their sleep.

RESETTLING
Teaches babies how to progress from light to heavy sleep. This is essential to avoid the pitfalls of frequent waking and catnapping. In a sense, resettling is the second stage of teaching baby how to find sleep and does demand more time and patience than settling (TACT).

Most babies stir or wake when progressing from light to heavy sleep and this occurs anywhere between 20-45 minutes.
In the beginning the idea is not to let your baby wake fully during this transition; a sleepy baby is easier to resettle than a wide-awake, crying baby.

Resettling is not about calming them down or staying until they just start to drift off, it is about staying with your baby until they go into a deep sleep.

DREAM FEEDS
Dream feeds

In my experience dream feeds are controversial and need to be carefully considered before incorporating them into a feeding schedule.

They differ from night feeds in that they are parent-led – the choice of the parent and not the baby.
Dream feeds are given between 10pm and midnight and involve feeding a sleeping baby as opposed to one that wakes naturally. They are supposed to lengthen a baby’s sleep cycle to give a tired parent a reprieve. However, there is no evidence to indicate that dream feeds guarantee parents’ extended sleep.
Research shows that dream feeds are thought to interfere with a baby’s most precious and deepest phase of sleep that occurs between 9pm and midnight.

Make sure you are well informed before making your own decision, as once in place dream feeds can be difficult and disruptive to eliminate from your baby’s routine. If you do decide to include them, ideally aim to drop them by the age of six months.

Neuroscientists believe that deliberately feeding a sleeping baby meddles with digestion, growth and development and can disrupt long-term sleeping patterns.

Thank you so much for your question I hope this helps, just remember you are doing an amazing job and being a Mother is the hardest job in the world.

Kind Regards
Dorothy

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