When I was pregnant with Zachy, I decided that I was absolutely, never ever, not in a million years, going to give my baby a dummy.
Then he developed colic, cried a lot, couldn’t settle, became over tired and no amount of soothing, cuddling or verses of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star would help.
So, I gave him a dummy.
Silence shortly followed, as did our first 4-hours of uninterrupted sleep in a month.
At first, I gave him the dummy sparingly and in secret, thus avoiding disapproving looks and comments about me being a terrible mother.
Looking back, I was obviously suffering from my first case of Mother’s Guilt (currently masquerading in me under the name of ‘Working Mother’s Guilt’ but essentially the same awful gut wrenching sick feeling, that takes over your entire being whenever you feel you might be putting your own needs ahead of what’s best for your child).
Eventually, (my) sleep deprivation won over and the dummy became as much part of his bedtime routine as bath and bottle.
I have no regrets. The dummy got me through the first few months while I adjusted to being a new mum. Zachy started sleeping through the night at 7-weeks old, napped regularly throughout the day and was a happy, chilled out little boy.
Well, until the dummy fell out during the night that is. Most often than not, he would wake up crying for it and I would be up and down every couple of hours popping it back in. I became his dummy bitch.
Usually I did this on autopilot, but every now and then he’d throw it completely out of the cot and I would have to crawl around on the floor, feeling my way in the dark trying to locate it.
I’d pop a new one back in of course (I’m not that terrible to give him one that has been in contact with the floor), but this was back in the day when we rotated just the two dummies and while one was in the mouth, the other was in the steriliser.
‘We’re definitely taking the dummy away at 6-months old’ I declared firmly to the Greek God(zilla) as I heaped a handful of new ones into our shopping trolley.
But, then Zachy moved into his own room and I thought it would help him to settle at night. Besides, we had by this time discovered the little dummy clips, that could be strategically positioned onto his grobag to prevent future midnight floor crawls.
‘After the wedding’ I vowed as Zachy reached his 7th month.
When he learnt how to pop the dummy back in all by himself, we all started to sleep for hours at a time again and I just forgot my earlier promise.
‘I’m definitely taking the dummy away when we are back from Crete’ I announced when Zachy was 10 months old. I did not much fancy the 4 hour flight without it.
When we returned home from our holiday, it was time for me to return to work and I thought the dummy might help to soothe him if he became upset while under the care of his new nanny.
At 18-months old, I thought he had now had it for so long, that he wouldn’t understand why I was taking it away. So, I decided to wait until he could understand or maybe even give it up willingly…
‘After the house move’ I mumbled half heartedly back in March when he was 19 months old. Even I had stopped believing myself.
My baby is now a bonafide toddler at 27 months old and sleeps with his dummy. He is obsessed by it. In a toss up between his dummy, Bear and Igglepiggle, the dummy would win every time. He knows he can’t have it unless it is bedtime but will ask for it at various intervals during the day, I then refuse him, he screams. Repeat.
I am definitely weaning him off it at Christmas.
This is how we are preparing him:
– for the past week we have been gently explaining to him that dummies are for babies and he is no longer a baby. This he understands.
– he does not have his dummy for daytime naps, so we know he can do it!
– we have asked him if he would like to give his dummy to the little babies who need it more. He seems to be fairly agreeable to this.
– we suggested that maybe we could ask Father Christmas to take the dummy and deliver it to all the babies on Christmas Eve, while he is out making his rounds. Father Christmas will then obviously leave him an extra little present to say thank you. He seems even more agreeable to this. He has no idea who this Father Christmas fella is, but he likes the idea of a present.
Now, I just have to make sure I go through with it this time. I have started wondering if the stress and planning that goes into being dummy free is worth it for those few extra hours sleep in the early days (Errrr, yes).
‘If we have another baby, I am absolutely, never ever, not in a million years, going to give them a dummy’ I insisted to the Greek God(zilla).
I think he just wishes he could just give me one instead.
Did you give your baby a dummy? If so, how did you take it away? Did you use similar ‘dummy fairy’ type tactics or just let them go cold turkey? Did you ever get a good night’s sleep again?