When my daughter was eight months old and still not sleeping through the night, I caved and bought a Lulla Doll. I’d heard of them before, but wasn’t desperate/sleep deprived enough the first time to get on the pre-order list for one. The next time there was a release in Australia, I attempted to jump on board. Problem was, they sold out in 24 hours and I didn’t get one in time. These dolls are popular! I wasn’t prepared to wait for the next release though, so I bought one from a store in Canada and got it shipped to Australia.
For those that aren’t aware, the Lulla Doll is a ‘sleep companion’ that is designed to make your baby think that you’re sleeping next to them. It has a sound box that plays a heartbeat and breathing noises on a loop for eight hours. You’re also supposed to sleep with/carry the doll for a few days so it absorbs your smell before you give it to your child.
So, after doing all the research and getting the doll shipped internationally, it finally arrived, and my daughter (I’ll call her Miss L) wasn’t interested in it at all. No, more than that. She seemed to hate it! Apparently, some lucky mums have success with the doll straight away, but that wasn’t our experience.
How did I introduce the Lulla Doll?
Prior to using the Lulla Doll, Miss L had never slept with anything in her cot. She also rolls while sleeping, so the first step was simply to get her used to having Lulla in the cot. We did this slowly, first by placing the Lulla Doll at the top of the cot and gradually moving her down until she was beside Miss L. Honestly, this probably took a few weeks. We didn’t use the sound at this time, it was more about getting her used to Lulla first.
The biggest problem however, was that she still didn’t like her much. Miss L didn’t want to cuddle her and would even throw the Lulla Doll away. I didn’t know what to do, but was determined to preserve when the doll was so expensive! I finally had a breakthrough when I realised that Miss L wanted anything and everything that was ‘mine’, so I cuddled the Lulla Doll when I was playing with Miss L. After doing this a few times, she suddenly grabbed Lulla off my lap and that was it; they were friends.
Once she started cuddling Lulla while she slept, Miss L’s naps seemed to get worse for a while. It was because Lulla made it more difficult to roll and would get in Miss L’s way. After a few days of this though she seemed to get the hang of it, and then we turned the sound on.
Similarly, once we turned the sound on, her naps got worse for a few days (I guess because the sound was different to her sound machine), but then things improved again. When we had a consistent nap pattern, we went through the same process to get Miss L used to the doll at night. Again, things got worse for a while, but once she was used to it all, things improved.
Does the Lulla Doll work?
I assume that most of you reading this post are looking for the answer to that question! Honestly, it’s hard for me to say. I can confidently claim that the doll helps Miss L self-settle. If she stirs during a nap or overnight, she normally cuddles the doll, and falls back asleep without needing any assistance, and that makes the Lulla Doll a success in my eyes. I certainly don’t miss middle of the night feeds!
However, I’m not sure it makes Miss L sleep through the night. This did start to happen at around the same time we got the Lulla Doll, but before we were using the sound overnight. I think her ability to sleep through is more due to the fact that she was just past that magical 8kg mark (where apparently your child no longer needs to feed overnight). Of course, every child is different, and I do believe those who say that Lulla makes their child sleep through the night.
What are the negatives?
There’s only one negative for me, but it’s a huge one. The sound plays for 8 hours, whereas if Miss L sleeps through the night, she’s asleep for around 12 hours. I believe this has something to do with the battery life and keeping the sound box small and light enough for a children’s toy, but it is extremely frustrating. To combat this, we still use a sound machine as well overnight, but leave it on the lowest volume. This means that when the Lulla Doll cuts out around 3am, there’s still sound in the room to cover outside noises and provide some consistency. During the day, we just use the sound of the Lulla Doll.
Would I recommend the Lulla Doll?
I’d absolutely recommend the Lulla Doll. It doesn’t work for everyone, but because they’re in such demand, there’s a huge market for second-hand Lulla Dolls, so you can always sell it. In fact, I’m thinking about getting a second so I can wash one without worrying about it drying in time for bed!
Have you tried the Lulla Doll? Did it work for you? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.
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