Early when I was in the ‘newborn haze’ I posted on Facebook “to dummy or not to dummy?”, to get advice from friends about whether I should give my baby one. The response was mixed. I decided to give him one. Would I give him a dummy again? Yes. My daughter didn’t have one (which is why I went searching for opinion), but the dummy was the only thing that gave me a break from breastfeeding my very thirsty son and allowing my body the time it needed to produce more milk. It was a lifesaver in the car and he was a great sleeper with our strict rule that dummy was only for sleep time, so in the cot and in the car etc. It was like magic – produce the dummy and off to sleep he would go. However, I there surely isn’t a ‘one fix’ plan/approach to children, it definitely wasn’t something my daughter would have needed or benefited from.
A couple of years later and I have decided it is time for my little boy to say good-bye to the dummy. I would have gotten rid of it earlier, he is 3 soon, but I wanted to be totally available for whatever sleepless nights (I might have!) or time he might need with me in order to feel secure. And so, over the Christmas break seems like a good time as the distraction and chaos of the festive season, and out of the normal home routine, might mean he will be tired and find it easier to go off to sleep without his dummy.
But he is not the sort of kid that would just give something away, as his sister did with her fabric comforter ‘cuggy’ when she decided all by herself that Santa would need it to keep the reindeer warm! He is a fix-it kind of boy and so I decided (after reading much advice from online forums) to go with the ‘broke’ approach.
After a stay at Nans we packed up and he put it in his overnight bag and by the time we arrived home from Nans house he went to get it from his bag and found it ‘broken’ (a little hole with a needle did the trick). We decided it must have broken in his bag on the way to which he replied “get new one shops?” Typical male-solving problems! A friend had advised to say that the ones at the shops are only for babies – which he seemed to accept. Until about 10 minutes later when he asked me again “get new one shops mum?” Along with the dummy, my heart was now breaking!
Day sleep – bit of a grizzle. Only slept ½ hour.
1st night – wore him out as much as I could through the afternoon. I had to sing to him for a bit, usually following a story I simply kiss and leave but the extended singing calmed him down and he was happy with this. He slept through the night until 5am. Yep. SLEPT THROUGH!
He has his Monkey and Mr W soft toys and I am predicting that he may now get more attached to them, finding comfort his dummy once gave him. Prior to removing dummy he could easily sleep without them, so I might be going through a ‘teddy’ detachment sometime soon!
And so 2 weeks on. I’m relieved as I anticipated screaming and kicking and many tears, but none of this has happened. He doesn’t happily go off to bed like he used to. Lots of coaxing and singing and back rubbing are required now. I fear the day sleep may go altogether too. But I figure this is better than the teeth problems he may face should the dummy still be in his mouth past the age of 3 years.
In the end, the transition went by without a tantrum, I am sure this is not the same for all dummy-loving babes who may find giving up the comforter traumatic, and my heart goes out to them (and their parents!). He is not my baby anymore. He is a big boy and giving up the dummy turned out to be more of a concern for me than him!!!!
Have you used dummies with your babies? How did giving up the dummy go and do you have any tips/advice for others worried about moving their child through this stage?!!