By Clare Byam-Cook
Clare Byam-Cook trained as a nurse and a midwife. She worked for several years at Queen Charlotte’s Maternity Hospital in London before joining Christine Hill’s antenatal practice in Chiswick in 1989, where she taught the breastfeeding classes until 2013. Clare now works with MAM to help educate and support women through their baby feeding journey.
Grandma Knows Best
Surprisingly, many new parents and professionals working within the baby industry are unaware of the potential benefits of using a soother. I am delighted to be in a position to help MAM highlight how and when a soother can be used to settle and soothe your baby.
There are many misconceptions surrounding soothers, which means some parents may choose not to use them. However, a soother can be an invaluable aid to any parent; particularly one who is trying to cope with an unsettled baby. As a first-time mum, I too had some reluctance about using a soother. I had my first baby, who was very unsettled between feeds. My own mother suggested offering a soother for comfort. Within a few short moments of using the soother my crying, unsettled baby was sound asleep. Now that is not to say a soother is always the answer, but my experience means I have been happy to recommend using a soother to my clients, who are experiencing similar challenges.
I always suggest the MAM soothers for the same reason I recommend the MAM teats and nipple shields. In my years as a midwife and breastfeeding expert, I have found that babies will often have an improved latch on the flat, symmetrical shape in comparison to the round, cherry-shaped teats. I also love the clever glow-in-the-dark design feature which makes it easy to locate the soother in the middle of the night.
A Contented Baby
It’s comforting to know, that there is no evidence that using a soother has any detrimental effect on the physical or mental development of a baby. A contented baby with a soother, will thrive in the same way as a baby without one will. The MAM soothers are developed and designed by orthodontists and dentists; this ensures that they reduce the risk of misalignment to the teeth. The use of a MAM soother will only support oral development, rather than hinder it.
Many babies happily fall sound asleep after feeding. If your baby feeds and settles well, there may be no need to introduce a soother. However, other babies do not and will cry every time someone tries to settle them; despite having all their needs met (i.e., they are not hungry or suffering from digestive problems such as wind, colic, or reflux). If this happens, parents can get locked into a cycle of spending hours carrying their baby in a sling during the day and rocking them to sleep at night. For these parents and babies, a soother can be the perfect solution. But it is important to use a soother correctly to prevent a baby from becoming so reliant on it that they are still using one as a toddler.
These are my tips:
- 1. If your baby needs the extra comfort of a soother, please do not hesitate to use one.
- 2. Some research suggests that using a soother, when putting a baby down to sleep, can reduce the risk of SIDS.
- 3. Do not force your baby to take a soother or put it back in their mouth if your baby spits it out.
- 4. You should not use a soother if your baby is crying because they are due a feed. A soother must never replace a feed.
- 5. You are unlikely to need a soother when you are walking your baby in a pram or buggy, as the movement should soothe your baby.
Following these guidelines will reduce the likelihood your baby will be attached to a soother. They will usually stop using it of their own accord when they no longer need it.
Remember: be kind to yourself and your baby. Do not be afraid to use a soother whenever your baby needs that extra source of comfort.
Learn More About Clare at her website: www.clarebyam-cook.com/