Dummies seem to be a controversial subject in baby world and people can be rather judgemental about their use. I have been on the receiving end of such criticism and, for along time, it felt as though I had to justify why my baby had a dummy. It was this attitude as well as Dan’s aversion to dummies (worries about attachment issues) that made us reluctant to give one to Osh.
Our thoughts on the matter soon changed, however, when Osh started teething at 3 months; he wasn’t coordinated enough to hold teething toys or suck his thumb to alleviate the pain. I bought a gummee glove for him but it was so big and cumbersome and he soon learned how to shake it off.
We got even less sleep because, in-between breastfeeding and the bouts of pain, the only thing that would soothe Osh was if he was sucking on one of our fingers.
Now, there’s nothing more stressful then when your baby continuously cries and screams: this can happen at 3am, in the middle of a calming baby yoga class, whilst trying to recall what you need in the supermarket isle or just walking along the street. It’s heartbreaking when you’ve tried everything you can to console them but your attempts are met with a even redder face and angry screams of a pitch you thought no human could ever reach! It doesn’t make for a happy parent-baby relationship and you’ll do anything to help the both of you feel calm and better.
This was how Dan and I felt when Osh was teething and we caved and introduce a dummy, which Osh readily accepted. We agreed to strictly limit its use to sleeping and car journeys where he would often cry until he choked and turned lobster red. Slowly, the dummy started being used throughout the day whenever Osh got fractious and tearful; it got to the stage where he would only eat his food if it was in sight so he could stick it in his mouth between mouthfuls. He had become so attached to it that even leisurely walks in the pram became interspered with unpredictable hysterical outbursts.
Also, Osh had always been a rather talkative baby but as he became more reliant on the dummy there was less babbling. Then came the broken nights sleep where he would wake and refuse to settle until the dummy was found and reinserted into his mouth. It was obvious that the time had come to get rid of the dummy.
It was agreed that the the dummy would remain for the flight to Australia- we knew from a previous flight that Osh struggled with take off and landing. We also knew that it would help keep him quiet, which turned out to be a good thing because he only slept for 4 hours of the 20 hour flight. As a result, he spent most of the time being overtired so the dummy served as well as a pacifier – except for the few times where he got so angry that he spat it out so he could wail at the top of his lungs! He developed a trick of building up his cries so when passengers thought it was all over and breathed a sigh of relief, we could see that he was just working himself up to reach a crescendo. Such moments were thankfully sparse but suffice to say we were thankful not to be the only people on the flight with a baby!
So, two weeks into our stay and the time has come to ditch the dummy. I don’t know how painful a process this is going to be but I do know that the dummy has brought all of us relief over the last 9 months. Also, if / when I have another child and they have a dummy, I won’t waste my time worrying what anyone else thinks about my decision.