Ditching the dummy – a personal journey

I don’t think I have actually mentioned that I am now a mother of two!  Its not even a recent thing but Ava is now a big sister to Archie and I am Mummy to a gorgeous smiley nearly 2 year old boy 🙂

I have written about dummies and dental health but I also wanted to share my personal experiences, with my Mummy, rather than my Consultant hat on, if you like.  This post was written when Archie was nearly 9 months old, but I never quite managed to finish the editing and get it published 🙄

Ava never had a dummy.  She laughed in my face when it was offered and secretly I was pleased.  However, there were times I think I made my life harder as I was used to meet all her suckling needs and much as I am a big supporter of breastfeeding, it really can be hard, and there were times I felt beyond exhausted.  She wasn’t a great sleeper and she certainly never missed a meal, so I spent most of her first year as a sleep-deprived zombie.  When Archie came along, I guess I had relaxed my stance a little and so when my husband suggested a dummy, I didn’t put up a fight.  I made myself feel better by buying the ‘orthdontic’ soothers……. Maybe it was a bit of “second child syndrome”, maybe my children have different temperaments or maybe it is a bit of both but Archie was much calmer.  He could sleep through soft play with wild toddlers screaming around him!  What I hadn’t prepared myself for was that he would like, no love, his dummy so much.

Little by little, I found myself allowing him to use it more.  At first it was just for sleep, then car journeys, then when I was trying to get out of the house and then when I just needed to get something done…. and he got more and more vocal when it was taken away.  He began waking at night because he had lost his dummy, cue me waking, popping it back in only to repeat the performance an hour later. After waking no less than 10 times in a night I decided enough was enough and so began operation “Mean Mummy”.  I struggled through a day dummy-free, only to find that my husband had given in that evening because he didn’t think Archie was ready.  To be fair, I caved in myself a fair few times “He’s teething”, “He’s unwell”, “We’re away this weekend” until finally it dawned on me….there wasn’t going to be an ideal time.  I just needed to man up, and do it properly.

I psyched myself up and then….it actually wasn’t the battle I had anticipated.  I had planned to wean him incrementally – starting with going to sleep, then night wakenings, then naps but as it happened I decided to change tact and go for the ‘plaster approach’ and went cold turkey just two days in.  The result?  After a few grumbles, he managed not only to put himself to sleep, but back to sleep with minimal fuss.  I did have to go in to give him more cuddles than I normally would for the first few nights but I can already see so much progress, and after 10 days dummy-free we are not going back.  My clever boy, I love him even more after a better night’s sleep  😀

Tips for ditching the dummy

1) Plan ahead – try to find a few days when you  can cope with potentially restless nights and shorter naps in the day.  Immediately before a holiday or job interview is probably not ideal!

2) Get everyone onside – discuss your plan with your partner so you have both agreed the plan of action.

3) Be ready to offer additional reassurance – you are removing a source of comfort, make sure it is replaced with plenty of cuddles.  You could also offer a lovey, such as a comfort blanket or small soft toy and ideally introduce this before ditching the dummy.

4) Be strong – it might not be the easiest few days but keep your eye on the end goal.

5) Use the money you would have spent on dummies on a day out for the family, and if there is any left over a bottle of wine for you ….. Doctor’s orders  😉

Do you have any tips for ditching the dummy?  I’d love to hear from you.

Post Author: Claire

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