Daily Dish: Dummies


My family have always used dummies. In fact, I used to have 3.

How could you have 3, I hear you ask? Well, I used to have one in my mouth….. and then one in each hand (I’m an ‘always want more’ kinda girl; nothing’s changed there!). So I never thought anything of it when I made the decision to give Theo a dummy.

In all honesty, I don't understand why dummies cause so much controversy but they definitely make for interesting conversation!

The decision you have to make is, do I want to sooth my baby in other ways or do I want to use a dummy? I always view it as, we don’t all need to eat chocolate but we LOVE it. Babies don’t know anything other than suckling to begin with, so why not let them do something they enjoy?

Theo was around 12 days old when I gave him his first. He was well established in breast feeding and so I felt that it was a good time. As parents, I do feel that we have a right to have our ‘selves’ back, and dummies allow me, personally, to do this. It takes a little time for them to understand what a dummy is, and how to hold it in their mouths but with a little hard work, it all pays off.

They don’t make babies any less intelligent, affect their bites (unless they have it until they’re 5!) or mess up being able to breast feed. They can affect breast feeding if you are struggling to begin with; if your bubba doesn’t understand what your nipple is yet or how to use it, adding something else to the mix can definitely cause confusion.

I often feel frustrated with health visitors, I understand that they have to follow rules, but sometimes they do frighten new mothers. My best friend gave her little boy a dummy, despite being continuously put off by the health visitor. At the age of 2, she decided to get rid of the dummy by offering it up to the ‘dustbin babies’. He was perfectly happy knowing that they were going to some other little bubba that needed it more than him, and has never asked for it since. This is pretty unique but 2 or 3 days of them being unhappy with having to give them up, as opposed to them crying throughout the day seems like a small sacrifice to me.
I’m not here to preach. Each to their own!

So let’s talk about my fave! ‘MAM’ dummies. I know that a lot of people don’t like the look of a dummy in a bubba’s mouth but these are the best of a ‘bad’ bunch. They’re fairly small, come with cute patterns and offer different kinds of teats. I use the orthodontic teats just to avoid any issues with Theo’s teeth, where it can be helped! My view is, why not?

So to play devil’s advocate, I’ll tell you about an occasion where the dummy had to go.

As all my friends and family know, I’m very lucky to have a baby that sleeps through the night at such a young age. And don’t they remind me about it every day? From day dot, I made the decision to get Theo into a routine as quick as possible so that he understood the difference between night and day! The dummy was a way for me to get him to sooth himself to sleep and for a while it worked a treat.

I noticed that his sleep patterns at night were getting worse and I couldn’t pinpoint why; he would wake frequently and took between 30 and 40 minutes to get back to sleep. I’d wake up, put his dummy in, doze off. Wake up, put his dummy in, doze off. So I decided to ‘google’ sleep techniques! One in particular suggested that I allow him to sooth himself, don’t intervene unless he is really hysterical. So that night, Theo woke at 3am, with no dummy in, made a few noises then went back to sleep. All by himself! My husband freaked out because he couldn’t work out why he’d suddenly gone quiet!

What I established from this is that when I was putting the dummy back in, he was getting some comfort but more so, it was waking him up and then keeping him awake! They say being a mother is trial and error… don’t we know it?

The real reason I say all this is because I know what it feels like when health visitors tell you what’s best when bringing up your children. You don’t have to feel guilty about any decision you choose to make. You are the ones that are with them 24 hours a day, getting up 20 times a night or walking around constantly because it’s the only thing that keeps them quiet; you know what is best for them! It is your choice and with good intent!

If you want to give your bubba a dummy, do it. If you don’t, then don’t. Everyone will have an opinion, especially if they’ve been through it.. but advice is what helps. Advice is constructive! So in either situation, we all have to think about how we word things or how we offer our help, because sometimes people need it and other times they don’t…  J

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