The dummy dilemma

Dummy smallBefore my first child was born, I was sort of religiously anti-dummy. I thought the concept of a fake nipple in a child’s mouth was appalling. One of our friends gave us a really cute dummy chain after my daughter was born, and I remember thinking that maybe I could use it as a toy chain or something, as I was surely never going to give my baby a dummy!

Ha-ha. How naive can one be. The day that I gave my daughter her first dummy was when I was in a London double-decker bus, top floor, left window seat (my favourite place), with a screaming baby in her BabyBjorn. She was about 6 weeks old – it was the 7th of July 2005. I remember that date specifically as it was exactly the time that a couple of *%$#^@s planted bombs on 3 London underground trains and blew up a double-decker bus on Tavistock Square, not far at all from where my bus was driving around in circles (I didn’t know why at that time, until the driver pulled over and asked his passengers to check for suspected bags under the seats)!

Anyway, from that moment onwards my daughter had a dummy. And I completely turned around on the dummy front – I even started suggesting that my friends give their babies dummies! The moment your baby gets cranky: plop! Dummy in the mouth, baby asleep. What a life saver!

I must say I have always been cautious to just give her the dummy for sleeping. And she knew this perfectly well.
But now, nearly 3 years later, I faced the challenge of getting rid of the dummy, because obviously, she had become a little dummy addict!

This is how we did it…. We decided to go for the gentle approach instead of the sudden approach, (where you basically choose a day to get rid of all the dummies and that’s it).
We told our daughter that big girls don’t use dummies (cleverly using examples of ‘big girl’ friends) and told her that if she could manage to sleep without a dummy we would take her to the toy-store and she could pick any present she wanted.

It took about 5 weeks. Every evening we asked her if she wanted to try to sleep without the dummy. She would say no, and we didn’t force her. Until one night, she proclaimed she wanted to try it. When she was in bed, she started to cry, so we put the dummy on the night stand and told her that she could get it whenever she wanted it. Funny enough she didn’t want to take it, but continued to be upset, crying for her dummy. So, after letting her cry for a while, we went in and gave it to her. (Very interesting to see that she didn’t take it herself! She was obviously really trying). The fourth night, after leaving her to cry a bit longer (the dummy was always right next to her), I put her in our bed (alone) and she fell asleep without the dummy.

Next day my husband came home from work and we all went to the toy store together, where she picked out wooden bread-buns for her play kitchen (she could have picked anything! I would have chosen a bike or something)!

The next couple of nights she whined for her dummy (I always just said ‘no, we don’t use dummies anymore’), but she fell asleep in her own bed. After a week she never mentioned the dummy again. Her little brother still uses dummies, but she never takes them (BTW, they are a different brand – this might be helpful as they are clearly ‘his’).

So, this is how it went! In the end, dummies have made my life sooo much easier! And getting rid of it wasn’t too bad as soon as my daughter realized that she couldn’t really be a big girl with a dummy in her mouth!
And besides, have you ever seen a princess with a dummy? 😉

xxx Esther


Comments (8)

April 27, 2008

Really glad to hear that your approach worked well. I too was anti-dummy until my son was about a month old and I have to say it’s been an absolute life-saver since (he’s 18 months now). I do worry about how I would eventually wean him off it altogether, but my plan has always been to wait till he’s older – like your daughter’s age – so that we can bargain with/bribe him! It would be harder to reason with him at 18 months old. Having said that – he doesn’t just have it at bed time and his use has increased recently (probably prompted by teething) so I might try to scale it back a bit.

April 27, 2008

Dummies have been really helpful for us. My daughter used hers until we took it away at 18 months, cold turkey. We replaced it with a special friend she could sleep with and it worked out well except for a few crying naptimes. My son didn’t start using a dummy until he was 6 months old and teething and then only for sleeping. I am happy to report that we took it away cold turkey a few weeks ago, he is 16 months and it was as smooth a process as it could have been. He asked for it, but we told him he didn’t need it anymore because he is a big boy. I do find it strange when I see 3 or 4 year olds walking around in public with dummies. My dentist also said that it can cause problems with their teeth if they still have them when they are 2.

April 27, 2008

I was like esther, with my first son I waited until he was over 6 weeks to give him the dummy. I was so worried about nipple confusion! It has been a life saver and we have to start working on getting rid of it now!
Esther’s soft method sounds like it could be the right one for us.
With my second one… it took me about a week to give her the dummy!

April 28, 2008

I never had any problems with using a dummy as I had seen how they worked on my friends babies. My daughter never knew what to do with it though,she would just spit it out!! I guess it means I don’t now have the task of weening her off it :o)

April 28, 2008

My first son (now 3 years old) was a real ‘sucker’ and I also against my plans with our first born had to use a dummy, also to prevent him from starting to use one of his fingers to suck on, which I think is much harder to get rid off. I took the dummy away at around 3 months. As he was still so small, it didn’t creat any problem, maybe two days a bit more crying before settling in for sleep. Since he was six months old he has a nijntje (miffy) that I guess replaced the comfort that a dummy might have given him. He still sleeps with his nijntje (a bit grubbier though now ;-))! I am planning to do the same with my second one (now almost 2 months), although he doesn’t seem to really like his dummy anyway!

April 29, 2008

I had this great idea that s dummy would be my secret weapon that I would be able to introduce in an emergency situation. One night, with our first daughter, we were desperate, and stuck the dummy in, fully expecting a miracle, only to have a little human look at us with disgust and spit the dummy back into our faces. That was the end of my experience with dummies….

May 6, 2008

Have you seen the Leslie Petricelli baby board books? She has a cute one called “Dummy” about a baby & its dummy. V. Cute. (US version is called “Binky”)

My favorite of her books is “No No Yes Yes” about the same diapered baby learning not to put its toys in the toilet, pull the cat’s tail, play with scissors etc.

May 13, 2008

Thanks for the tip, Libby. My new ‘project’ is taking the night time bottle from my daughter, and the night-nappy.
But I’m going to give her a break for now!!!

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