Sleep prop vs. sleep association
Your baby's dummy- a prop or a sleep association?
A prop is something that your little one needs in order to go to sleep and cannot sleep without it, such as a dummy. There is much confusion about dummies, whether to introduce one or not, when to introduce it and when to avoid it all together. Either way whether to use a dummy or not is absolutely your choice and there is no wrong or right answer. You only need to be very certain that you don't use it in the wrong way, creating a cross for your own back. A dummy can easily be miss-used when it comes to nighttime sleep and before you know it your little one is waking each time it pops out and you are having to get up several times through the night to put the dummy back in so your little one can fall back to sleep.
A dummy can be used as a sleep association by giving your little one his dummy at the start of sleep, which acts as a sleepy cue, “Oh my dummy! Oh time to go to sleep’. But then after your little one fall asleep at bedtime, that should be it for the dummy until the next day when you chose to give it to your little one. If you freely give your baby his dummy back over and over during the night or you find yourself replacing your baby’s dummy over and over it is very likely that your little one has become too dependant upon the dummy to to fall asleep. By going in and giving the dummy back to your baby you give your baby the message that he needs the dummy to fall asleep and you reinforce the habit. Your baby will become dependant upon you to keep putting it back in. A tiring cycle you do not want to get in to and one that if you do get into you will have to break at some point. Its better to not get yourself into such a situation at all. Babies learn very quickly and form habits very quickly, it only takes a few times and a few nights of you continually putting the dummy back in for it to become a problem. So if ever you are temped to reach for that dummy at 3am, think again. Rather take that time to help teach your little one how to settle back to sleep without the dummy.