Todays post is twofold. Firstly, do you give your baby a dummy and secondly, when on earth do you take it off them? The dummy can be both your best friend and worst enemy and, believe me, I’ve been through all the emotions.
Before having Molly I wasn’t adverse to her having a dummy. I kept very open minded and figured I would do whatever was needed to settle her. Let’s be honest here, whatever it took for me to get some sleep too!
Typically, she didn’t sleep and she wouldn’t take a dummy. I tried.
Like all new mums I was beyond exhausted. Not only needing sleep but also just some time in the day to actually get something done. There was mountains of ironing, hoovering and, most importantly, hot cups of tea to be drunk!
I kept figuring that she would change eventually and I didn’t want to force a routine but I was desperate for her to sleep for longer than 20 minutes.
By the time she was four months old I was a bit of a zombie. Add to that the fact that I’d got mastitis and lets just say I wasn’t exactly feeling tip top. Step in super nanny, aka my mum. She’d come over to watch Molly whilst I went to the doctors for some antibiotics. As she arrived I’d just popped Molly in her cot for a nap and still remember clearly rolling my eyes and saying ‘She’s asleep but I expect she’ll be up in about 15 minutes’. Imagine my surprise when I returned over an hour later to find my mum pottering around, cleaning the kitchen and cooking me dinner. Molly was nowhere to be seen. I looked puzzled and mum told me that Molly was still asleep. I was slightly shocked. This had never happened. I crept in to her room to find her happily snoozing away and sucking a dummy. The same dummy I’d tried to give her on many an occasion with no luck. My mum is my hero. I later discovered that she had dipped it in honey before giving it to Molly! I am well aware that honey is a big no no for babies but we are all fine so I’m more than happy with that tactic.
From that day on everything changed. Molly was like a different baby. I’m not even exaggerating. We could put her in her cot wide awake, give her the dummy and within seconds she would be fast asleep. She went from sleeping for 20 minutes to having three huge naps a day. Sometimes 3 or 4 hours at lunchtime with a good hour or two morning and afternoon. That girl loved to sleep. I sometimes didn’t know what to do with myself. She soon started sleeping long stretches at night too and very quickly went to sleeping through. That dummy honestly changed my life.
We never looked back. She would send herself to sleep and was the most content little girl. She did love her dummies though and would be found with collections of them grasped in her hands. We have the funniest video of her climbing off up the stairs and crawling under her cot only to reappear with one in her mouth and four in her hand! If your baby has a dummy you will soon get used to the middle of the night cry as they have lost it so as she got a bit bigger we simply placed every dummy we could find in her cot and she would simply reach and find one when she lost it.
We tried to be quite strict that the dummy was only for bedtime or nap time and we pretty much succeeded in that until Alice was born. Then it all went downhill. The arrival of a second baby when Molly was 18 months meant I lost all restraint. Molly pretty much had a dummy in her mouth the whole time and as much as I hated it I didn’t have the energy to fight it. Once I started feeling a bit more normal I decided enough was enough. There was no going back to just bedtime dummies it seemed and as Molly was due to start pre-school that September I decided it was time for the dummies to go.
I felt awful. Bad mommy taking away the thing she loved and that gave her so much comfort. If it had just been bedtime I wouldn’t have minded but she wanted them the whole time. I felt even worse that by this point Alice was sucking her thumb and I knew there was no way I would be able to take Alice’s thumb off her (!) so it felt mean to be doing this to Molly. However, we decided to go cold turkey. It was the only way.
So when Molly was just over two and a half the dummy fairy visited. Molly carefully put all her dummies in a box, wrote a little note and reluctantly went to bed. In the morning the dummies had gone and she had been left a new doll. She wasn’t remotely bothered by the doll, nor did she have tantrums that the dummies had gone. I think that is what made it worse. She was just so, well….sad. She often asked where the fairy had taken them and I almost cracked many a time. I just couldn’t bear to see her so obviously heartbroken. That might sound OTT but she was.
I won’t say it was as easy as just taking them off her and moving on. Bedtime became a bit of a nightmare. She could no longer self soothe and I would have to sit by her bed for over an hour, sometimes two, before she would drift off. It was tough but we got through it. It probably didn’t help that we also took the sides off her cot at a similar time so she discovered she could easily get out! Epic fail there.
Despite this I remained strong and the dummies never returned. Now she is five and she honestly doesn’t remember ever having them. Have you decided to give your little one a dummy and how did you find it? And if it’s time for the dummy to go how are you planning on handling it? We would love to hear all your thoughts and stories.