I never liked the idea of dummies, or as Lily calls them, D’s. You know when in your head BEFORE you have children you are this perfect mother.. In my head I would never have my child watching TV, or eating chocolate, or bringing them in to my bed with me, or… having a dummy. I had heard all the usual stuff, it ruins their teeth, their speech, I didn’t like the idea that it would be used to stop them crying rather than picking them up or giving them attention (as if it was that simple to get them to stop screaming!) I wish I could go back and slap me.
Because I felt like this I didn’t buy any dummies before Lily was born. However I was given a few as presents so they sat in a drawer that I thought wouldn’t be used. We successfully didn’t use a dummy for a while, Lily seemed fine without them, sleeping wasn’t a big issue, dummies didn’t really cross my mind until about 4 months. At about that time Lily went through a phase of sleeping terribly, I would be up constantly in the night with her feeding, I felt like she was using me as a dummy! I knew that she just wanted comfort but it was hard work. After one particularly bad night when I was up every hour I went to THE DRAWER and took out the dummies and sterilised them the next morning just in case we had another awful night.
Sure enough the next night Lily was up again, and after getting up for around the 3rd time before 2am I went and got a dummy. I popped it in her mouth and once I let go it popped right out, she didn’t seem to understand how to hold on to it. After a few attempts I worked out a sort of light tapping motion on the dummy which helped her to get the hang of it. A few minutes later she was sucking on the dummy herself and she was fast asleep! I woke up to the sound of Lily making her usual gurgling waking up sounds and looked at the clock- 6am! She had slept for 4hours in a row! Hallelujah!
That was it, both of us were hooked on the dummies. It allowed me to get some sleep and it comforted Lily enough so that she slept pretty much through the night. However that wasn’t all, once she needed the dummy to go to sleep at night it quickly turned in to her having the dummy for day naps too. I would then give her a dummy if we were going in the car to try and stop her from getting fussy as well.
As Lily has got older she does still have dummies. Not only for nighttime but if she is watching TV, or listening to a book she will often ask for her dummies. If she spots one I have failed to hide she will throw a tantrum if I don’t give it to her.
But the use of dummies hasn’t been without its issues. I’m sure it’s part of the reason Lily took a while to develop her language skills, other children her age seemed to be saying more words and stringing together sentences before her. Her teeth are straight, however some of her speech has possibly suffered. For example she pronounces her L’s as Y’s. Instead of Lily she is Yiyi. I’m trying to teach her the correct way to say it at the moment even though it is so cute.
I’ve been worrying lately about it and am aware that we need to bite the bullet and start to take the dummies away. I’ve got stricter about no dummies unless she is going to sleep and I try to be firm if she asks for one even if she is throwing a strop, by distracting her with a game or book. I know the real battle will be at bedtime. She has become reliant on the dummy to settle and that means more sleepless nights whilst we have the transition.
I’ve heard of a few techniques, dummy trees, dummy fairy, saying the child will be giving the dummies to a younger baby she knows. I’m not sure any of those will work with Lily that well but I’m willing to try them of course. With the bedtime battles we’ve been having keeping Lily in her own bed I don’t want yet more stress, but I know at some point it’s got to happen.
If anyone has any tips on giving up dummies please let me know, any advice welcome!