How to make sure you’re using a soother effectively

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Soothers (dummies, pacifiers or whatever you call them in your family) have been used by parents since the dawn of time to help calm and soothe babies for sleep. They are the saving grace of so many parents’ and not to mention there ​​is strong evidence that they are associated with a reduced risk of sudden infant death when used consistently.

But while they are a useful tool for settling and sleep, there are a few things you should be aware of when it comes to soother use. It’s important to make sure you are using them correctly and maintaining them in order to keep your baby safe and content.

Don’t use the soother at feeding time

When using a soother keep it separate to feeding time and it should never replace a feed. Make sure you are giving it to your baby when they have a full stomach especially when breastfeeding. You don’t want using a soother to interfere with breastfeeding in any way.

Mothercraft Nurse, Chris Minogue recommends waiting until the 4-6 week mark if you are breastfeeding before introducing a soother to avoid any confusion with feeding.

The right fit  

Make sure you are using the correct soother for your baby’s age and that it fits them correctly and does not cover their nose in any way. A soother that is for an older baby cannot be used on a newborn as they are designed specifically to support your baby’s growth and development. 

Practice proper hygiene

Clean and sterilise the soother using boiling water and keep it in a sealed container until use. If the soother falls on the floor or gets dirty in any way you should not use it until it has been properly sterilised again.

After 6 months a regular wash of the soother with hot soapy water will do.

Check the soother regularly 

Check the soother regularly to see whether it’s worn or degraded in any way. Replace the soother immediately if it’s broken or worn as this can be a choking hazard.

Always have a spare!

Keep spare, sterilised soothers on hand. Your baby is sure to drop the soother or throw it out of the pram somewhere without you noticing, then get upset when they want it again. Always pack a few spares when you’re leaving the house.

Don’t dip the soother in anything

Never put anything on the soother such as honey or sugary drinks on there. Honey may cause infant botulism and cannot be given to babies under 12 months. 

Strangulation risk

Never tie the soother around your baby’s neck or attach it to their hand or cot as this poses a strangulation risk. Soother clips may be used during the daytime under full adult supervision.

Keep consistent

You should offer your baby a soother for all their sleeps, to help them associate the soother with sleep and settling.

Where possible, avoid giving the soother outside sleep times to avoid your baby growing attached to it as something other than a sleeping aid.

If your little one’s soother comes out while they are sleeping you shouldn’t place it back in, as they grow they will learn independence by replacing the soother themselves.

Babies are natural-born suckers and soothers are a great way to provide your baby with that added comfort and security they need. Making sure you are using the soother correctly as well as keeping them clean and changing them regularly will help give you that peace of mind knowing your baby is safe.

This is a paid partnership between Kiindred x Medela.

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