I always said I never wanted to give my children a dummy. I don’t like seeing toddlers out and about with those bits of plastic sticking out of their mouth as they run around the playground. Then there are all the photos where you can’t see their faces properly because of that same bit of plastic. Whilst I didn’t think less of parents who gave them to their children, it just wasn’t something I wanted to do.
I have loads of those photos now, and part of our bedtime routine is to make sure there is a spare dummy on the side next to his bed.
How did it happen? A friend of mine gave us a very thoughtful bag of presents shortly before T arrived. In the bag was a box of two dummies. I put it to the side, and didn’t think much of it until it came to packing my hospital bag. I told my partner I was going to sterilise them ‘just in case’ and add them to the bag.
We gave in during T’s first night at home. I’d ended up having an emergency c-section, and we’d spent two nights at the hospital with him. The dummy hadn’t even crossed my mind when in hospital with him; he’d cried, but it was nothing that we couldn’t handle.
Why is it that the first night home is when they discover they can scream?! I’ve heard this from every single parent I’ve heard of. That first night is the worst. As well as being exhausted and hormonal, you’re also overwhelmed with the knowledge that you are now in charge of this tiny little human being.
T was fine, until about 1am. 1am was when he fully came alive, screaming at such a high pitch for almost 2 hours before we tried him with a dummy. I’d tried feeding him, we’d changed him, sung to him, cuddled him, read him stories, but he just didn’t want to know. We were both at breaking point, and as soon as that dummy touched his little mouth he was silent. Silent, and asleep. A miracle!
There were a few friends and family members who were disappointed that we’d introduced a dummy.
“Why did you do that?!”
One family member even told us recently that she was disappointed we’d given him a dummy until she heard him scream. She said that it was the worst scream she’d ever heard, and as soon as she first heard it she knew exactly why we had given in. She didn’t blame us at all.
I spoke to my health visitor about it, when she came for her first check-up. She chuckled, and said she’d given in on day 3. She reassured me, and said that some babies are just ‘sucky babies’ – they need to suckle in order to comfort themselves.
Did you know that giving your baby a dummy can also greatly reduce the risk of SIDS? In a study undertaken at the Monash Institute of Medical Research in Australia, it was concluded that having a dummy increases cardiac control in infants – it helps them better monitor their blood pressure, and encourages them to wake when needed. It has also been suggested that having something in their mouth reminds babies to keep breathing.
At 19 months old, my son still has a dummy. We have thankfully managed to restrict it to just naptime and bedtime (except when he’s poorly), and at some point we will probably have to go cold turkey. For now though, it comforts me to know that he has something to comfort him.
Did you give your child a dummy? Do you regret it, or is it the best thing you ever did?