Dummies are one of those contentious subjects that everyone has opinions on – whether they are a parent or not, and something people tend to ‘overshare’ their opinions on.
In our NCT classes, we were provided with some questions to discuss as a couple before our new bundle of joy arrived, and one of them was:
‘Would you give your child a dummy?’
Straight away my answer was no. And thinking back, it was entirely due to my misconceptions as someone who thought she knew best, and had seen lots of children walking around with dummies in their mouth whilst trying to have a conversation – something that I didn’t agree with. And therefore, that was just how I saw dummies, as a negative.
Fast forward 6 months, and having a child who started the teething process at 3 months old. I googled everything to do with teething, and felt helpless as he was way too little to hold anything to chew on. I read an article that said dummies helped with babies who were early teethers, but, I was still carrying around these feelings about using a dummy – and in hindsight, oh how stupid I was!
After a few weeks, when nothing was helping, and he was obviously in pain, I bought a dummy. ‘It’s only for his teeth’ I explained to my husband, which was me trying to justify it to myself. It was a flipping MIRACLE! He loved it, and it seemed to do the trick. I couldn’t believe it! But, I thought to myself, it’s only going to be used as a short term solution.
Little Z was a VERY sucky baby, and I was finding that he would use the boob as an aid to fall asleep, which many books had told me was ‘forming a bad habit’ (stupid know it all books!)
So, I wondered if the dummy would be a good substitute, and started using it for nap time. It worked wonders, and from then on it was used for nap times and bad teething pain.
Although i’d made the decision to use a dummy, as I felt it was the best thing for him, and provided him with comfort, I still felt myself trying to justify it to other people. Especially other mothers who hadn’t opted to use the dummy, and I felt like a ‘bad mum’ pulling it out in baby classes when no one else had done so. I had also promised myself that it would be gone by the time he was 9 months old.
The truth? We didn’t get ‘rid’ of it until he was 16 months old, and in fact, it was nursery who initiated it by removing it successfully during nap times. Then, when I had a stretch of time off work over christmas, I got rid of it from his bedtime routine, and I was shocked at how easy it was – after a few days he had totally forgotten about it.
The take home message?
Do what you need to do for your baby, and do not think about what others may think! The next time round, I will NOT be thinking about what others may think, or feel guilty, and i’ll do what’s best for providing my baby comfort.
Mummy S x