As a sleep consultant, I answer a lot of questions on Instagram and sometimes I get fired up about safe sleep products for your baby. I usually get asked about the Dockatot and I always respond that I do not like the Dockatot. It’s been banned in Canada, has way too many issues, and is a sleep prop that is going to lead to sleep issues in the future.
My mission is to solve your child’s exhausting sleep habits, safely. And you might be using the Dockatot as a bandaid to help your child sleep better, but in this blog post and YouTube video, I’m going to share why I loathe the Dockatot.
The other day, I went to Target to go find a baby shower gift. And there, on the shelf, was a $175 pillow otherwise known as the Dockatot. I have super strong feelings about the Dockatot. I don’t think anyone needs this. In fact, if you didn’t know, it’s already been banned in certain countries. So my guess is that it’s going to be banned in America really, really soon. And to be perfectly honest, I hope so.
Now, if you are using the Dockatot currently, you do not have to go out and burn it right away! Yes, I believe it’s best to get rid of it. But let’s make a game plan to ditch this!
The biggest issue with the Dockatot is how they portray their product online and how it is used on social media platforms like Instagram. This is straight from their website:
Q: Can you use the Dockatot with a baby on their tummy?
A: The Dockatot Deluxe Plus is meant for babies zero to six months. It should only be used while babies are on their back. As the best evidence suggests, babies should be placed on their backs until one year of age.
However, once a baby is capable of rolling over from back to stomach and from the stomach to back, the infant can be allowed to remain in the sleep position he or she assumes.
Q: Can I use my Dockatot in a crib bassinet or play yard?
A: No, the Dockatot should not be used in a crib, bassinet, or play yard. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has cautioned that babies should be placed in a bare crib without any additional bedding, pillows, or blankets.
There is a concern that an infant who can scoot or crawl out of the Dockatot might get entrapped between the side of the crib/cot, cradle, bassinet or play yard.
There have been incidents involving other products where babies have suffocated after becoming entrapped between a soft product and the side of a crib/cot, cradle, bassinet or play yard, and incidents where babies have suffocated on soft bedding like blankets and comforters. This is why when it comes to an infant’s sleep environment, bare is best. It is also why we warn that blankets and pillows should not be placed in a Dockatot with a baby.
The problem is, and this is my own personal opinion when you go on Instagram or Facebook, you see people using their Docktato in the crib, being styled with swaddle blankets and stuffed animals. Y’all, these are product placements. And obviously, these are influencers that Dockatot is sending their product to.
They are specifically taking pictures against what Dockatot has suggested. So my biggest problem with the Dockatot is that it is completely false advertising. They’re reposting pictures on their Instagram of you using the Dockatot with blankets or with soft objects around them.
And then of course I know because I’ve been in your home, some of you are using the Dockatot in the crib and most people just don’t know that you’re not supposed to use it in the crib. It’s only supposed to be used as Dockatot “suggests” at the very beginning of their safety guidelines for lounging, supervised napping, tummy time, changing diapers, cuddling, and playing.
Not once do they recommend that you use the Dockatot for sleeping in their own crib. The only way they want your baby to be sleeping in the Dockatot is if you are watching them with supervised napping, or if you are co-sleeping together. Surprise! I am also not an advocate for co-sleeping as the American Academy of Pediatrics has determined the safest place for babies is in their crib.
That’s what I want for your baby—the safest possible sleeping environment. Let’s remember, back is best. So not only is the Dockatot being poorly advertised, they are telling you the only way to use this for sleep is if you’re supervising them while they’re napping on the floor or in your bed with no covers, pillows, or soft objects.
The majority of the families that I am working with and who are attracted to my content are not people who are co-sleeping with babies between them. They’re typically not. So if you are using the Dockatot for co-sleeping, then yeah, sure. I think that that probably is your safer option with bedsharing.
If you want to bed share with your baby and you are going to use the Dockatot, then they have a whole other set of safety guidelines you can read. They don’t want you to have any blankets or pillows around them. They also want to make sure that that Dockatot is placed very specifically in your bed.
So the biggest problem I have with the Dockatot is that I believe they have false marketing. I’ve really truly become upset when I see them repost photos of blankets and stuffed animals with the Dockatot when they’re telling you not to do that. We also see the Dockatot being used in the crib.
Another issue I have is the Dockatot is SO expensive. There is no reason to spend hundreds of dollars on a Dockatot. You can only use the deluxe for 8 months and it is nearly $200. Sadly, this is not going to solve your child’s sleep.
I also want to dig into the fact that your child is going to be rolling around by like four or five months old, and we don’t want to hinder your baby’s rolling. Now, don’t go running and screaming to your baby’s nursery and rip the Dockatot out of the crib underneath of them—just make a plan for it.
With the next nap, simply remove it from your entire sleep life. Nobody needs this product. In fact, I’m not really a fan of using sleep props (you can read more about sleep props for babies here). I like to eliminate unnecessary sleep props. So you’re already one step ahead.
If you are ready to take the next steps, we have a free guide for you on four steps to help your child sleep through the night. You’ll receive four days of e-coaching in your email every day walking you through the next steps to help your child transition through night-waking without bad sleep props. This is not just any old PDF download, by the way. You actually get four days of me coaching YOU with a daily email!
Overall, I’m here to help you make sleep a thing for your family. I don’t think we need any gimmicks or products to have a well-rested baby and mama.
Sweet dreams. See you next time.
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