Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What a Dummy!

How do you feel about 'dummies'? I'll bet you have some sort of opinion... everyone seems to, whether they have children or not.

Me? Before I even had Fern I was dead against them. At the risk of offending my readers, I was terribly holier-than-thou on the subject and my pet hate was seeing toddler-aged children wander through shopping centers with a dummy 'plugged' into their mouths. I thought it looked awful, like they were being 'shut up' by their parents...

After Fern was born, I resisted a dummy for a couple of months. Out of principle, more than anything else. Then, Dan (bravely) brought one home one day and offered it to Fern to help her sleep. She wasn't that fussed about it, and sucked on it thoughtfully for a little while before spitting it out. But over the next couple of weeks she grew more attached to it, until I grew nervous that the 'dummy addiction' had set in. We only offered it to her at sleep time, but still. Could she go to sleep without it?? Could I go to sleep, knowing she didn't have it??

Then, something awful happened. The dummy got a hole in it, and had to be thrown away. I panicked, and went to buy another. But I couldn't find the same one, and bought another brand in its place. Fern was more discerning than that (geez, wonder who she takes after) and refused to take it. Thus ending our short but torrid affair with the dummy.

Well over 12 months passed until one day, about 6 weeks ago, Fern discovered the wayward dummy in the kitchen pantry along with other discarded bits of bottles/ beakers etc. She popped it into her mouth (upside down) but soon discovered she quite liked the sensation. Since then, she's developed a quick and somewhat passionate affair with this dummy and is extremely reluctant to be parted from it. She likes to sleep with it, but it has also found its way out of the bedroom and into the car... her 'cubby house'... out in the garden...

How did I let this happen?

Fern is 'too old' for dummies at 17 months, surely.... and yet seems remarkably placated by hers, especially at bedtime. It makes her content. Comforted. And I am therefore content and comforted, too! But there has to be an expiry date, and sooner rather than later.

Or does there?

Would you dare remove the dummy from this child?

I'd love your opinion on this one.....


  1. I couldn't remove the dummy from that adorable little face! She's just tooo cute!

    I felt the same about dummies at first then at about 3mths old Will took to it... but at about 8mths old he just decided he didn't like them anymore. I was a bit put out because it was my fail safe 'get him to sleep' thing.

    I don't pass judgement on kids w dummies now, although I saw what I'm sure was a 4yr old the other day sucking away and inwardly raised my eyebrows. :)

    I think most of my pre-parenthood judgements and theories have gone out the window now that I'm a parent - you just do whatever works for you, whatever gets you through the day and keeps them happy and healthy.

    Whoops, sorry long comment :)

  2. I was against dummies too, and tried hard not to give one to Byron, yet somehow he ended up with one. We to restricted it to bed time as Mick couldnt stand the sight of them, but at around the age of Fern Byron became very attatched to it and wouldnt hand it over. If it wasnt in his mouth it was in his pocket!
    At 2 1/2 years I told him that he had one dummy left and if it got a hole in it, it would go in the bin, and a few hours later he came to me with a broken dummy and went and put it in the bin. He made the decition and he hasnt asked for one since.
    I have now given Harper one and have turned a blind eye to it going out in public.. I'd rather a content 'plugged' baby then a screaming one!

    And dont worry if you think if will slow speech, because Byron can talk your ear off without a problem!

  3. I cried when I gave one to H the first time (Like you....very very against them (pre kids!))....but he was using me as his dummy! I'm starting to go through the 'yucky dummy' with him so we can slowly get rid of it.

  4. My boys just wouldn't take one .To be honest I didn't really want them too but my mother thought they needed one and was always buying them and holding them in their mouths , but they just didn't like them. I wouldn't worry too much she's still only little.

  5. My daughter was attached to her dummy until she was 4 years old. We tried on numerous occasions to get rid of it. In the end I let her decide when it should go and on her 4th birthday she boldly went into the kitchen and put it in the bin. She is now 9 years old. You have to do what is right for you and what is comfortable for Fern. Don't worry about what other people think.

  6. Hi Nicole, as with the sleeping bags, this is another topic I had been thinking I would ask your opinion on too :) I had very similar views to you pre-pregnancy, especially when it came to older kids with dummies, however, when Grace was a few months old, I found it really helpful to get her to nod off at night. Now, we're at the stage we're she only has one in her cot which never leaves the cot (except if we're out for her nap and I want her to sleep in the pram) When I go in to get her in the morning, she hands her dummy straight to me :) My worry is how I will get her to sleep without it - she doesn't always need it to sleep as she'll nod off in the car or pram if she's really tired without it and often at night it's fallen out anyway, but when I put her down, she definitely looks out for it and will often grizzle in the middle of the night as she's searching for it. Part of me is kicking myself because the Baby Bliss book I was reading when Grace was young wasn't against dummies but suggested they go by the age of 6 months, a point which I chose to ignore. As Janette said above, now that I'm a parent, I'm less critical of others with kids and I think you have to do what you think is best for your own child :) Fern looks so adorable in that photo above! xx

  7. Hehehe!! You sound like me! My Josh loved a dummy from birth. He was a major comfort sucker and loved his dummy. We restricted it to bed and sooky times only. I thought he was obsessed with it and often wondered how I would get rid of the damn thing. 12 months? He still seemed so little. 2 years? I'd just given birth to his sibling and didn't want to rock his world more...anyway, I finally got rid of it around the 2.5 mark. Way later than I ever thought. I ended up doing it quite suddenly one day when he wouldn't go to sleep so I took it off him and threw it away and that was that! He coped so well with it, much better than I expected. Was just a habit by that stage.

    Zoe has one too but is nowhere near addicted to it as her brother was so I'm not as worried with her. I've no doubt when we decide to remove it she will be fine - that's if she doesn't ditch it first!

  8. I feel your pain! Isobel is nearly two (GASP!) and still has a dummy for sleeping and sometimes it makes its way out of the house - to my complete distaste. Pre-baby I felt dummies were for lazy parents.. oh how quick we are to judge when we are not yet parents!

    Now I am waiting until Izzy is old enough to understand that the dummy fairy has taken her dummy and replaced it with something non-addictive!


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