Ditching the dummy

Published on 15 January 2023 at 21:07

Dummies are always a topic of conversation among parents and healthcare providers, some prefer to use them and others are completely against them (often telling you straight).  Louie has had a dummy since birth, as if I'm honest, I'm all for a couple of extra minutes of calm if the dummy helps to them to settle. 


In April,  we had Louie's 2 year check with the health visitor, she commented on how his dummy was affecting his teeth and advised that we needed to ditch the dummy ASAP, along with a whole host of other negative comments with little to no advice but that's another story.  She was right in that it was clear his teeth were being pushed back a little due to dummy use but as we had previously seen with Charlie this soon resolves. 


Louie has always been a very strong willed child, he likes things to be done a certain way and doesn't react very well to change.  At this time he seemed to be petrified of the toilet, scared of having a pillow or blanket on his bed and we didn't feel that it was the right time to take his dummy away at all.  We were already trying to introduce many new experiences that were not going down well and resulting in huge meltdowns so didn't want to add in anything else that may cause unnecessary upset.

Over the next few months we noticed that Louie started to listen more, his meltdowns wouldn't last as long due to him listening and reasoning with us and things started to get a little easier so we started to introduce some changes with his dummy use.  At first we would encourage Louie to remove his dummy every time he wanted to talk to us simply by saying "I can't hear you with your dummy in".  We then moved on to only having the dummy at nap times and bedtime, although there were many times that he would appear with smirk on his cheeky little face and a random dummy that he had stashed somewhere.  This was working well and as Louie was getting older he was understanding more of the conversations that we would have so we started to discuss him being a big boy and no longer having a dummy but this didn't go down well at all.  

We decided to set a date that we felt would work for all of us, Christmas, we both had time off work so would be able to support each other, deal with any sleepless nights and would be less stressed or tired to deal with any meltdowns.  In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we talked about how Santa collects dummies to give to the babies that don't have one and that as Louie was now a big boy he could leave his dummy for Santa on Christmas eve in exchange for a gift.  The conversations all seemed very positive and Louie seemed willing.  


Christmas eve came, we had a busy day, did our usual traditions in the evening and right before bed we reminded Louie to place his dummies on the Christmas tree for Santa.  He put all but the one in his mouth on the tree and then howled the house down when encouraged to do so.  The biggest meltdown ever occurred, he gave reluctant cuddles before bed and screamed "night night" to his Nanna then trotted up the stairs in a strop to bed.  He sobbed for about 10 minutes and then surprisingly fell asleep. 


We couldn't help but think that we had made a huge mistake in doing this on Christmas eve, we expected to be up with him  throughout the night but he was silent, didn't wake once until Christmas morning and by this time he was so excited about presents that it wasn't mentioned at all. 


Bedtime on Christmas day, he asked for a dummy, but we reminded him that Santa had taken them and brought him a gift for them, to our surprise he was fine with this and off he went to bed.  Since then he hasn't asked for a dummy once.  Overnight he seemed to grow up so much, his speech started to rapidly improve and his teeth already appear to be much better.  


For us it was the best decision, we don't regret waiting as we believe that the outcome would have been much worse had we have done it much earlier.  Every child is different, they develop at different ages and have their own quirks and although getting rid of a dummy at 2 may be the right time for some children it doesn't mean that it will be for all.  

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