Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Poll Discussion: Sleep Props

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There are times when a sleep prop is a necessary tool to help your baby sleep. Some things one person views as a sleep prop another person does not. Sometimes we hear so much warning about the usage of sleep props we are afraid to use them when the situation might warrant it. While I avoid many sleep props, there are many on the sleep prop list I used with my children and highly recommend to everyone. Some examples of sleep props are (NOTE--not all people would view all of these as sleep props, but considering a sleep prop to be something that you give baby or do for baby to help baby fall sleep, let's call them all sleep props for this poll):
  • Pacifier
  • Sleep positioner
  • Sound machine
  • Swaddle
  • Rocking baby to sleep
  • Nursing baby to sleep
  • Sleep location other than crib (swing, rock and play, wrap...)
It is very helpful for me when compiling answers if you at least number the answers you give. You can also copy the questions and answer them. If the question does not apply to you, simply put "N/A."

1. What sleep props did/does your child use?
2. What age did your child start with each prop?
3. What age did your child end with each prop?
4. When you ended each prop, was it difficult for your child?
5. If yes to number 4, what kind of reaction was it and how long did the reaction last?
6. In retrospect, would you use that prop again?
7. Any advice on sleep props?

6 comments:

Erin Hoffman said...

1. What sleep props did/does your child use?
Pacifier (birth-present (17 months), Sound Machine (birth-present), Swaddle (birth-4 months), Rocking (birth-5 months), Swing/Rock & Play (birth-4 months)
2. What age did your child start with each prop?
Birth
3. What age did your child end with each prop?
Besides the pacifier and sound machine, which we continue to use, all sleep props were done by 5 months at the latest.
4. When you ended each prop, was it difficult for your child?
My kiddo grew out of the swaddle and it was a little tough with the remnants of the reflexive startle, but we weaned him off of it. We had him fully in the crib for all naps and sleep trained (CIO) at the same time. It did not take long and he had very few problems with either.
5. If yes to number 4, what kind of reaction was it and how long did the reaction last?
Weaning from the swaddle took a couple of tries, several break-outs, and about 1 week total.
It took maybe two days of naps and nights for him to be completely comfortable in his crib.
6. In retrospect, would you use that prop again?
The pacifier (still a prop) was hard at first because it would fall out and we would have to replace it. I love it now, but I'm not sure if I'll use it again with the next kiddo. I will probably use the swing and rock & play if the next kiddo has gas issues, but the crib will be an earlier transition.
7. Any advice on sleep props?
I've had great success with the ones I've used, but I would not ever rock to sleep again. That was born of desperation and it really messed up my back. I did and will try to think long term with any sleep props in the future- am I willing to continue to use this prop, or help my kiddo use this prop, for another month? Three months? 6 months? A year?

Unknown said...

--Jolene H.--

1. What sleep props did/does your child use?
Both sons (and US!) sleep with fans in the room. Younger son was swaddled (birth-4 months). Older son used pacifier (first year off and on--tried breaking him of it a few times).

2. What age did your child start with each prop?
Fans from birth. Older son- pacifier was started at 3 weeks.

3. What age did your child end with each prop?
Fans--still using. Pacifier (officially around 1 year old). Swaddle (around 4-5 months).

4. When you ended each prop, was it difficult for your child?
It was a process, yes.

5. If yes to number 4, what kind of reaction was it and how long did the reaction last?
With my older son, we tried to quit the pacifier several times over the course of his first year. Eventually gave it up around 1 year. Had to do a lot of CIO. For my younger son, breaking the swaddle was a process. Did some CIO, but he got the hang of it in a couple weeks.

6. In retrospect, would you use that prop again?
Pacifier, no, that's why we didn't use it with my younger son. Swaddle, yes, because it really did help my younger son sleep. Fans, yes, because I need one too! And they really help with blocking out other noises.

7. Any advice on sleep props?
"Begin as you mean to go on." So true!

Jessie said...

Child 1
1. What sleep props did/does your child use? pacifier, sound machine
2. What age did your child start with each prop? pacifier was within the first week, sound machine was about 2 months
3. What age did your child end with each prop? We took the pacifier away at 14 months (interfered with sleep) and she still uses a fan
4. When you ended each prop, was it difficult for your child? She didn't miss the pacifier after a couple nights, but she definitely did for naps for quite some time.
5. If yes to number 4, what kind of reaction was it and how long did the reaction last? We did cio and she simply refused to take a morning nap from that point on. It was a couple months before her one nap lengthened (ultimately, she wasn't ready for one nap, but she wouldn't take two).
6. In retrospect, would you use that prop again? Only in certain situations, not for every single sleep time or at least not going in to give it back all the time.
7. Any advice on sleep props?

Child 2
1. What sleep props did/does your child use? pacifier, swaddle, swing, sound machine
2. What age did your child start with each prop? swaddle from birth, pacifier at 5 weeks, swing from birth
3. What age did your child end with each prop? Pacifier and swaddle was 15 weeks, swing was 5 months, still has sound machine
4. When you ended each prop, was it difficult for your child? The swaddle was difficult, not the pacifier or swing as we used them sparingly
5. If yes to number 4, what kind of reaction was it and how long did the reaction last? He rolled in at at 15 weeks so we had to drop it cold turkey which resulted in cio. After just a few days, he was back to sleeping like normal.
6. In retrospect, would you use that prop again? Yes. I would start phasing it out once the baby was able to roll unswaddled so we could avoid cio though.
7. Any advice on sleep props? Mom's sanity comes first :) Use a prop so you can take care of yourself, but keep in mind how much you are relying on it so baby doesn't become to reliant on it. However, if you can keep up the prop (like a sound machine) without hassle on your part, why not? I like to think about if I can keep it up and also travel with it as our family lives far away and I want to enjoy our visits away from home.

Yooli said...

1. What sleep props did/does your child use?

DS has slept in a room with blackout curtains and white noise machine since very early on. He also sleeps with a lovey.

2. What age did your child start with each prop?

DS never took to pacifiers and dropped swaddling at 3 months. White noise and blackout curtains we started at 6 weeks. At around 4 months, we introduced a soft fleece lovey to help him learn to self-soothe and began sucking and chewing on the corners as he started teething. After a while, he got in the habit of chewing on his lovey for a few minutes before falling asleep and whenever he woke up at night. The corners would be soggy every morning, so my mother ended up sewing a dozen or so fleece loveys the size of a washcloth so we could give him a clean/dry one at naps and bedtime.

3. What age did your child end with each prop? He's 18 months and still gets a lovey at naps and bedtime. Unlike a pacifier, it hasn't affected his teeth at all, so we're not pushing the issue at the moment. Any time we forget his lovey, he ends up chewing on the ear of a stuffed animal or the corner of a blanket, so I don't think it will be too awful when the day comes to wean from it.

4. When you ended each prop, was it difficult for your child?

5. If yes to number 4, what kind of reaction was it and how long did the reaction last?

6. In retrospect, would you use that prop again? Yes. While it was annoying not to have the comfort of a paci in those early newborn days (and we tried them all), DS has perfectly straight teeth and I know a lot of babies who have really messed up teeth from extended pacifier use.

7. Any advice on sleep props?

I think much like the sleep hierarchy idea, reliable restful sleep is the ultimate goal for your kids. You do have to balance the utility of a prop against longterm problems (i.e. dental issues with pacis, for example), but if it isn't a huge harm or hassle, I think is fine. For instance, I don't really see blackout curtains and white noise as a big deal. We live in a single story house, so there isn't a lot of noise separation like you'd have in a 2-story home, so the white noise really helps DS get restful sleep. We started using blackout curtains for DS because both DH and I are sensitive to light when we sleep too (we sleep with eye masks) and we feel it just gives us all better rest. Does it mean we travel with blackout curtains and thumbtacks and our white noise machine? Yes. But we also carry our ear plugs and eye masks too and we don't bat at eye at that either. With DS' lovey, we wanted to make sure he didn't imprint on just ONE object, because we knew it could be a hassle. So from the beginning, we started with 2 loveys in different colors and alternated them for washing and in case one got lost. When he started to attach and chew on them, we quicky bought 2 more that were different and added them into the rotation. Then my mother started making them herself, all in different colors, and we added those into the mix as well. Now he's not fussy about which lovey he gets, since we've always mixed them up and they are all the same texture and size.

Christine said...

1. What sleep props did/does your child use? Pacifier and swaddle.

2. What age did your child start with each prop? Pacifier and swaddle were both used from birth.

3. What age did your child end with each prop? Pacifier ended at 10 months, swaddle ended at 4 months.

4. When you ended each prop, was it difficult for your child? We went cold turkey with both. Pacifier took about two days for him to get over; he does cry for 10 seconds or so when he is put down for nap/bed now, when he used to just lay down with his pacifier... swaddle he was ready to be done with. He had been breaking free anyway.

5. If yes to number 4, what kind of reaction was it and how long did the reaction last? He was upset at first to not have his pacifier anymore. He cried for maybe 5-10 minutes at bedtime but that lasted a day or two. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be!

6. In retrospect, would you use that prop again? Yes, we used the pacifier for a few reasons: helped him get to sleep/helped him fall back asleep if he started stirring. Also, we had heard if you push the pacifier there was less of a chance of the baby being a thumb sucker. As a former thumb sucker (who took years to break the habit!) I was willing to have him rely on a pacifier to help him avoid being a thumb sucker.

7. Any advice on sleep props? We tried our best to only do certain types of sleep props... and tried to not do certain things at all that we weren't willing to do long term (rock to sleep, nurse to sleep, sleeping anywhere other than the crib). I don't regret using a pacifier or swaddle, and actually miss being able to give him his pacifier and he would just lay right down and go to sleep (now he cries for 10 seconds or so), but I do like that he doesn't "need" that to sleep now. Beyond thankful for BabyWise and this community - my son is a reliable 12 hour sleeper at night and fast asleep by 6:45 every night, wouldn't have been able to do it without these resources!

Valerie Plowman said...

Big thanks to everyone for commenting! I have it all down!

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