Dummy love

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?


  1. November 29, 2011 / 11:01 PM

    I could have written this!! I have always been very anti-dummy until E was poorly when she was young and it really helped settle her. But now she’s a year and a half I think we need to get rid of it (I say IT but she likes to go to bed with three – one in each hand and one in her mouth – and keeps swapping them all over as she dozes off). I’m waiting until she sleeps through the night again first though!! x

  2. sarahderrig
    November 30, 2011 / 4:18 AM

    I’m a big fan of the dummy! Sadie had a dummy in her mouth within hours of being born, she quickly became addicted to the dummy and even got to a point where she only wanted a particular brand and particular colour – one I could only get in Australia and living in the MIddle East I had to get friends and parents to bring them over by the truck load each time we had visitors. I think I got just as addicted to her dummy as Sadie did – it meant she was still my baby. When Sadie turned 3 we talked about her giving up the dummy and she was more than happy to give it up as she did it with no problems!!! She didn’t even want a present she just wanted to know she was a big girl and not a baby but then….friends came over with their 18 month old who…had a dummy. Sadie’s rage and jealousy of another child having a dummy that she didn’t have made her regress! She threw an almighty tantrum until I gave in and fished the old dummy’s out of the I can’t throw any of my child’s stuff away because I still want her to be my baby box and gave her the dummy. Sadie is now nearly 4 (in April) and she is more addicted to the thing than ever! She’s happy not to take it out in public as “Mummy people will think I’m a baby so I’ll just have it at home ok!”. We are moving house today and for the last few weeks I’ve told Sadie that the “Dummy Fairy” is coming to the new house tonight to take her dummies and give them to all the babies that don’t have one and the “Dummy Fairy” is going to leave her a lovely present. Sadie seems ok with this in theory but I think we’re going to have a few hellish days and nights. I get teary everytime I think of taking her security away from her because that’s exaclty what the dummy is – it’s her security, it soothes her and settles her and keeps her calm and I feel terrible for taking that away from her but she can’t be the only kid in Year 12 still sucking on a dummy so it has to go!

  3. November 30, 2011 / 5:14 AM

    I don’t envy you the job, I always said the same, that Leo would never have dummy’s but I caved to get sleep. I was lucky thought at 3 months old he suddenly refused to take it and we got rid of it just like that! Bottles however were a different story at 23 months old – refused to drink from anything else and used to carry it in his mouth like a dummy, so you can’t win!

    In the end we went cold turkey, suffered a day of crying and tantrums then got over it, not easy though but I’d had enough of trying to get rid of it. Good luck.

  4. November 30, 2011 / 7:52 AM

    We got to where you were and we caved too… but she wouldn’t take a dummy! Best of luck with your ‘extraction plan’!

  5. Joelle
    November 30, 2011 / 8:47 AM

    I read this and actually thought you’d written about me! We have done exactly the same although Chloe has a special name for hers and since about 6 months its been known as ‘Nanda’. Don’t ask me why but we all calm it that too, Nanda is pretty much a family member! I have the same issues of weaning her off although she tends to have it during the day for napping as well but since starting at her little pre school I’m hoping she’ll notice none of the other kids have one and will give it up! Here’s hoping! Good luck with it and let me know how you get on xx

  6. gill
    November 30, 2011 / 9:03 AM

    Calum had a dummy until he was 4!! That makes me the most Scummy Mummy in the world. It was also called the FD, as he got out of bed one night and said ” Mummy, wheres my f****ing dot?”. I am the scummiest mummy with my potty mouthed children. It took him years to settle at night once the last FD had been chewed through, and I decided enough was enough. He’s now 10, and is under the care of the orthodontist, he’ll be wearing braces as soon as he’s shed his last baby teeth. Take it away!! Sooner the better!! For the sake of his future smile. Good luck sweedie. xx

  7. Grenglish
    November 30, 2011 / 9:16 AM

    Thank you all for your comments! It is so reassuring to know that I am not the only one. Will let you know how we get on… eek!

  8. November 30, 2011 / 10:44 AM

    I really hope Mummy doesn’t see this! I have a dummy to sleep with (although like many commenters above, Mummy didn’t want me to have one at all). I’ve heard her asking people on the phone about the Dummy Fairy, and what age does she normally come and visit. NOOOOO!! Not yet! I am addicted, it does comfort me. I’m hoping to keep my head down and my dummy in for a while yet and hope the DF visits you lot first!

    • Grenglish
      November 30, 2011 / 11:01 AM

      Keep your head down Chatty Baby, you can milk it for a lot longer yet xx

  9. November 30, 2011 / 11:00 AM

    I don’t know why people are so anti-dummy or what the big deal is?

    I wasn’t bothered if Wag Dollette needed one or not. She did have one after a few weeks as it helped her settle at night, she had her ‘No Ni’ as it was known until about 2 and then we told her she was a big girl and didn’t need it any more – it was for babies and could she put it in the bin, and she put it in the bin. She was a bit grizzly for a couple of days and then never bothered about it. Much easier than trying to wean her off a thumb or fingers lol! Good luck, you’ll get there!

  10. November 30, 2011 / 11:45 AM

    I could have written this! I also swore that no child of mine would have a dummy. Three weeks later and…! He is nearly 15 months and uses it mostly at sleep times and when we’re in the car and he has the grumps.
    I haven’t thought about how I’m going to wean him off it yet, though. I like the idea of dummy fairies, etc. I wonder if (when we’re ready to get rid of them) he’ll like the idea of an extra present and being grown-up but maybe not understand understand exactly what he’s agreeing to!
    Oh well… Will wait and see what happens. Please keep us updated!

  11. November 30, 2011 / 8:13 PM

    We have a similarly obsessed toddler who will be 2 in January. Glad to hear that we are not alone. Think I will wait to hear how your efforts pan out before we try anything too drastic ourselves…

    • Grenglish
      December 7, 2011 / 2:56 PM

      Ok, so we have taken the dummy away apart from night time sleep. As soon as I get him up, the dummy goes back in the cot until the evening. He was a bit grzzly for a few days and was asking for it a lot but has accepted it now. The hardest thing is not giving in but know I’d have to go through a few hard days at some point and now is as good a time as any. Just need to work out when to take it away from nighttme sleeps too – was thinking Chriatmas but would like him to be quite happy at Christmas 🙂 It is a tricky one!

  12. Bianca Cox (@RichmondMummy)
    December 13, 2011 / 9:47 PM

    Great post, I was totally the same before Allegra was born – “no child of mine will have a dummy” I thought to myself… first night home from hospital, tired, emotional, baby crying and crying – in goes the dummy… peace! And it’s been with us ever since. She’s now coming up to 10 months and I know at some point we’ll have to wean her off it, but I’m not rushing it! And actually she tends to only want/need it when she’s tired and wanting to get off to sleep so it’s not all the time. But sod it, it’s a comfort and I think it can’t be any better or worse than a thumb – she used to suck her thumb until she was about 3 months then just stopped one day. Good luck with Z! xx

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