I never wanted to give my son a dummy and I certainly didn’t want to give him one at only five days old. It was a habit I was determined not to start. But, much like all other expectations I had before my son arrived, this concept was soon tossed out the window.
Before you have a child lots of people tell you that all newborns do is sleep. What they don’t tell you is for the first few days and weeks the only place they’ll consistently sleep is in your arms! This was a pretty horrible shock, I don’t mind admitting.
Five days in, recovering from my section and severely sleep deprived, Hubs and I were attempting once again to get Caterpillar to settle in his Moses basket/crib/bouncy chair or pretty much anywhere that would allow us both to have both hands free to eat our dinner. And he was having none of it. Quite right too really, he had no idea where he was and needed lots of comfort. But I needed a wee, and sleep and just a tiny moment of personal space. So we relented and gave him a dummy.
That little miracle-worker then stayed in his mouth for the next two and a half years until last month when we bid it a fond farewell.
I’d been putting it off for so long. We were dreading the long nights and constant upset we would face when we took it away. We’d tried to phase it out several times before but made the mistake of being fairly inconsistent and now we had no choice but to go cold turkey.
I prepared Caterpillar a few days before by explaining about the dummy fairy, being sure to soften the blow by focusing on the part where she replaced his beloved dummies with a present. We decorated a shoe box for her and so far he seemed pretty excited about the prospect.
Finally, the night came and I searched high and low for every dummy in the house (I still live in fear of Caterpillar finding a forgotten one under the sofa) and he happily tossed all his dummies in the box. All except for the one in his mouth. When he realised all actually meant all he did become quite upset and it was a little heart-breaking. After some coaxing he did and, after a little upset, he slept.
I forced myself to cut off the teats and throw them deep in the bin as I knew that if he woke crying at 3am and I still had a dummy in the house I would likely cave.
That first night was pretty rough, he woke a lot and was really restless. Oddly, he didn’t ask for his dummy once but was constantly asking for other forms of comfort so he was obviously thrown off by it. In the morning, he cried for it straight away but once we reminded him about the fairy and hastily shoved the box containing his present under his nose he was efficiently distracted.
Over the next couple of days he would occasionally ask for his dummy but once reminded that he gave them to the fairy he seemed fairly satisfied and promptly forgot about it again. By the 4th day it was as if they had never existed!
We are genuinely shocked with how well he’s coped. As with most things in life it seems, the reality of something I’d been dreading was nowhere near as bad as I imagined.
One of the strangest things is my own reaction to losing the dummies. I’m not the sort of mum who particularly mourns the loss of baby stages but I found myself choked up throwing away those bits of plastic. The very last accessory of his babyishness.
Similarly, I found that I was more anxious about him not having his dummy than he was! In hindsight, I’d realised how much I’d relied on the comfort it gave him. Stemming from my historic lack of confidence in my mothering abilities, I hid behind that comforter, knowing that it will always sooth him when I worry I can’t. With the dummy no longer an option it is solely down to me to step up and provide comfort and I find I like that very much.
Would I give my next child a dummy? Absolutely. It brought relief to all of us when we needed it and getting rid of it hasn’t been the nightmare I anticipated. In short, I highly recommend the cold turkey method!
Are any of you facing this challenge? How did you say goodbye to the dummy?