Dummies are one of the controversial topics in parenting aren’t they? A lot of the debates you find on dummies cover the topic of breastfeeding and whether actually they can hinder the progress of breastfeeding and cause nipple confusion.
For us, this was never an issue as I knew from even before being pregnant with Jason, that I wasn’t comfortable breastfeeding. (Before anyone starts shouting at me, I knew the benefits for both me and baby however if you’re not comfortable you can’t just make that go away. It was never something I wanted to do and thankfully wasn’t pushed in to it either. I don’t regret my decision in the slightest – however I must add, I am envious of those mums who are happy to breastfeed….fed is best right?)
Ellie had a dummy from day four. I didn’t want her sucking her thumb as I believe this is a much harder habit to break when they are older. Having a dummy meant she slept better in the day and settled quicker at night (although we had other issues with her sleeping at night at the beginning as she refused to sleep in her moses basket and was either in our bed or in her bouncing chair :O)
Being a bereaved parent meant I was (and still am) petrified of losing another child. Losing Jason was the hardest thing I have had to live through and losing Ellie would be so much harder. There has been research done that has linked dummies to reducing the incidence of cot death and I was constantly worried about SIDS at the beginning. It still gives me nightmares occasionally now and she is nearly 3! The fears of losing your child is a forever thing, especially when you have lost a baby previously. Your eyes are widened to all the possibilities of your living child being gone.
Ellie had a pretty awful dummy habit, it got worse as she got bigger and looking back she has a dummy in 90% of any pictures! She would have access to it all the time and I was definitely using it to ease the tantrums and to help soothe her when she was sad. It was a comfort for both of us. I knew I could fix everything with her dummy.
We had started to limit her dummy to just when she was tired or ill however this is hard to maintain when we both work and she was having it more and more often, especially as her tantrums have gotten so much worse it was easy to deter the situation and give her a dummy to soothe the tantrum.
Until her most recent trip to the dentist at the beginning of the month.
Ellie’s teeth are good, she is brilliant at brushing them and lets us get to the bits she can’t brush. We pretend to be her dentist and let her brush our teeth too. She loves it! It is so important for her to learn to do it independently so we always let her try first before we step in. However, straight away the dentist recognised that she still has a dummy and advised that we needed to stop before it affects her front teeth more, which could take years to correct themselves.
We explained to Ellie that the dentist said “No more dummies” and we went cold turkey. We threw them all away (even the spares our parents had at their houses!) except one. I wasn’t quite ready to watch my baby completely disappear, I guess by keeping one in the drawer I still had a back up IF I needed it and things got too bad.
Going cold turkey was the best thing we did. Ellie understood what the dentist said and would repeat it to us whenever she asked for it. Don’t get me wrong, the first few nights were the hardest. She would scream sometimes for her dummy and I just wanted to get the spare and “fix it” but deep down I knew I wasn’t fixing anything by giving it to her. After a couple of days, Ellie asked for her dummy less and less and when she did we would ask her what the dentist said and she wouldn’t ask again that day.
We are on Day 17 of no dummies and it is extremely rare that Ellie asks for it now. She settles herself to sleep and we have just replaced it with finding a special teddy for bedtime. She dribbles less, the rash around her chin has gone and she seems happier to talk and sing more too.
If I were to ever have more children (with this I do not know the answer) I will still probably offer the dummy but will be more mindful of how often they have it.