I can't tell you how many times I've had moms tell me the following-my baby keeps spitting their soother out. They don't like it.
Or-I've bought every soother on the market. He hates them!!
I was lucky (IMO) that both my kids took their soother. But they weren't born and instantly took their soother and kept it in their mouth. I actually had to teach them how to keep it in their mouth. It's a skill. Just like riding a bike or tying their shoes.
So what happened. When my babies were born. I first started by nursing. As often as I could and then eventually on a schedule. At that time I didn't offer a soother. After about a week (because my milk came in) i knew that I would only offer a soother AFTER a good nurse so that's what I did. I nursed well. And if my babies were asleep. I swaddled them up and put them down. But if they were still wanting to suck I would place a soother in their mouth. My soothers of choice were avent. Once they started to suck I would slowly and gently pull the soother out of their mouth. And watch and teach them to keep sucking on the soother a bit but not
compleatly. This taught them to suck on it to keep it in their mouth. Of course
sometimes it would fall out. In fact in the beginning it was a lot. But I took the time to teach them. Yes babies are born to suck. But just like us in becoming new parents. It's all a new skill. And with new skills practice is needed. It took about 2 mos of practice but you know what, they got it!!!
Now here's the thing. Going out and buying a million different kinds of soothers isn't going to help. Because every time you switch to a new soother you have to start all over again. You need to teach them a new shape. A different way to form their tongue to hold onto their soother. So pick one. And be patient.
It may not work or you may not want to give a soother at all. Some babies are ok with that. But some babies are just big suckers!!! So watch for those signs. If your baby has a good feed and still wants to suck. They may need a soother. If your baby eats and is content. Then maybe they don't.
It's inevitable that your child may wake and cry. But that's when sleep nurturing comes into place before 16 weeks, or sleep training after 16 weeks. At this time we can give them a chance to soothe themselves without a soother. Of course if you do have to go to your child offer them the soother. Once they are older you can limit the amount of times you offer it and we do suggest that. A soother does help soothe but it's not the only thing we want them to know. We do want to teach self soothing as well
Once your child is old enough to grasp with their hands. Instead of putting the soother in your child's mouth for them. Put the soother in their hand and put their hand to their mouth. Try to do this every time that you offer the soother. You Will teach them this way. Once they can do this you can throw a few soothers in the crib. At this time you would want breathable bumpers as well. it will keep all of them from falling to the floor. Thank me later. I swear at one point we had 6 in the crib. But they found them all themselves and we never got out of bed. at the age of one the soothers never left the crib. All of them stayed there and self soothing during awake time became a Must. In public or at home. There was no easy pop a soother in. When we got up in the morning or after a nap I taught them to leave the soother in the crib.
The other question I hear is. When do I take the soother away. That's very much your choice. If you have chosen to sleep train with us. You would pick a time you are comfortable with and teach it away. By that time your child is already sleeping the night and most likely putting the soother in their mouth on their own. We started getting rid of them as they got older and before they were 2 we removed/will remove them all. Yes. Some training may occur. But they understand that their crib means sleep and they will catch on faster then you think. Have confidence in them and commit. Once you remove it. You should be sure that it's gone throw them out. With my son. He started biting through them so it became a hazard and I had him throw them out. One by one as he bit through them. One day. He bit through his last one. No choice left. It had to be done. Nights were fine. Nap took 2 days to lengthen. Then it was like nothing happened
So in the end. Know that like anything. Give it time. If it's something you want to offer then work with your child to teach them how. The same applies with bottles.
I'll touch on that in the next newsletter.
Take care and sleep well.
Follow Sabrina, one of our sleep consultants, as she blogs about her experience with her new baby!