A dummy, a pacifier, a dodo… whatever you call it, I hate them! #controversial
With my first daughter we introduced a dummy while we transitioned from breast to bottle feeding at 8 months, 3 weeks later she caught a cold and refused it, so we took that opportunity to take it away, so ending that successful story.
Daughter no 2 was a very different story!
She was a sucky baby from the get go. She would only use the boob as a sucking/soothing device and didn’t latch on properly to feed, therefore causing me a substantial amount of nipple damage. I found that I was constantly soothing her, by letting her suck my finger aka ‘the Mummy dummy’, and so I was trapped under a baby 24/7, it was then that my husband and I thought ‘sod it’ this kid needs a dummy and this Mum needs a break!
And so it began…
A 3 year love affair with a cherry teated, sickly pink coloured piece of plastic that would invade every baby picture, wake me at least 3 times every night as it found its way down the wall side of the cot & have me panic buying more in every supermarket just in-case we lost one or they were suddenly discontinued, It became a little obsessive.
Though we tried (many times), she would not give the damn thing up. It was like a drug to her, she had it in her mouth every second of the day and night.
When she was about 18 months old I started to become aware that, although she was babbling all of the common words that she was supposed to, and then some, they didn’t sound quite right. Now I’m no expert, but as a mother already and a former nursery nurse, I have heard my fair share of babies babble, and some of her words sounded different, and although it was early days, I started to become a little concerned about her speech.
I was aware of course that dentists do not recommend cherry teat dummy’s, as they can affect the shape of the growing teeth, so when she was about 2, I asked our dentist at one of my visits. she had a look at my daughters teeth and said that they were OK and not to worry, BUT… advised us to get rid of it asap as it can become a problem at the time a child reaches 5 and they start getting adult teeth, until then the teeth can move around and any light damage can be rectified.
So as we had been told her teeth were good, (apart from a small over bite), I did a little research into speech and the use of a dummy. It seems that having it in her mouth so often, caused her tongue to be held down as she learned to speak, meaning that some normal sounds were impossible for her to make – eg. B, P, T, D ( I know obvious when you here it ) and she used ‘G’ as a beginning sound in their place, she also used ‘W’ in place of ‘R’ as she couldn’t purse her lips properly with the plastic pink demon in the way.
We started to take the dummy away during the day, it was torture for her and us, she would ask for it constantly at first. We allowed it while we were in the car, because – screaming child + driving = Crazy Mum. As time went on we began leaving it in her bed so as to only have it for falling asleep and I would sneak in and take it away after she’d nodded off. This worked great but taking it away all together would be harder.
Apart from the potential speech problem and possible future dental issues, It was the fact that she had the dummy in practically every photo, that makes me resent the bloody thing, and in her first three years of pictures we cannot see her beautiful little mouth at all, it makes me sad and angry, why did I give in to a dummy in the first place and not just continue using my cracked nips and wrinkled finger to pacify my screaming baby that never slept… OK, I know why, I’m just being dramatic!
Anyway, you see my point ^
As it approached her third birthday, we thought enough is enough. Luckily her birthday is in December and Santa being such a useful source of bribery, we asked her if she would like to leave her dummy’s for Santa to recycle into a new toy for her in time for Christmas – clever huh!
To our amazement, she actually thought it was a great idea, and as a little extra insurance ( meaning that I wouldn’t be able to cave & give it to her) I said that Santa’s elves can’t recycle the teats, so we’d have to chop them off first, and so we did.
That night we were prepared for some resistance and mind changing, ready to avert a meltdown with a mad dash to the 24 hr Tesco for an emergency dummy, but she took it all in her stride, So proud of herself and content with her decision, she slept the whole night through and has done ever since.
L is coming up 5 in December and she is still dealing with the effects of the dummy, her speech is much better, ‘she surprised us all ( and herself ) by blurting out the ‘B’ & ‘P’ sounds one morning ‘, but she is struggling with the other sounds, we are currently working with her teachers at school to assess whether or not she will need speech therapy.
Our photo’s of her are now perfect ^
I guess my advise to any parent considering a dummy, would be.. Don’t do it! unless, like us, your baby is determined to destroy your sanity without a constant sucking tool attached to its face, and then be sure to minimise its usage. Most experts say to remove a pacifier by 6 months and I would have to agree, it gives your baby time to learn to self soothe, before it begins to form a habit, and a week of restless waking, crying and cuddles is better than 3 years of mouth less photos, speech problems and night waking to retrieve the dummy from the dark depths of the bedroom floor.
What ever we choose to do as parents we are sure to either criticise it ourselves or receive criticism from others, there really is no right or wrong in the ‘dummy debate’ just do what’s right for you and your child.
Big love to all the Mums and Dads just keeping their children safe, fed and happy, you’re all stars!
Why not make a nice cuppa and read on: