Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dummy

Sucksucksucksucksucksucksuck.

That is the sound of my son.

Last week I wrote about The Creature’s decision to enter himself in the World Screaming Championships (actually, it was about colic, you can find it here).

Empathetic comments were left on the post, and I was pleased to read them. A problem shared may not be a problem halved, but it certainly makes a difference to know that it isn’t just your own child who spends all his waking hours doing an impression of a banshee. 

The final comment on that post was from Mum of One, and it was the one which I was probably most glad to read.

Here’s why: Mum of One mentioned the D word. Dummy. Not only mentioned it, but mentioned USING one to soothe her own teeny person.

By the time I read those comments we had already reached that mindset of “will try anything to make this stop”.

While I had been considering seeking out venture capital to start up Cyberdyne Systems, in order to get to work on development of a retrofit volume control for babies, Mrs L had taken the more pragmatic approach of buying a couple of dummies and trying them out. She’s the brains of this operation, of that I have no doubt.

The dummy works. The Creature is now far more likely to be quiet for a bit, to drop off to sleep, to give us some much needed respite from his vocal stylings. 

The Dummy. Or, Peacemaker.
Hooray.  Or so you’d think.

No. We feel awful about using it.

I’m aware that guilt is becoming enough of a theme on this blog that I should probably make it into a separate category, but WOW, parenting is a daily guiltfest. With a guilt party running alongside it, in case you get bored of all the guilt and need some more guilt.

Neither of us know why we feel guilty. We haven’t gone down the route of researching every piece of equipment we subject our boy to. We don’t have medical journals confirming or denying the side effects of dummy use.

We DO have intact eardrums though, which is nice. Meanwhile, Cam doesn’t seem to mind, and he hasn’t been any worse at breastfeeding since using the gobstopper (though that’s not hard, he’s SHITE at that).

So why the niggling feeling that we shouldn’t be doing it? I must confess, the one thing that I know is bothering me is the possibility it could affect his teeth. As the (resentful) owner of a truly stereotypical British smile I would love Cam to have lovely straight teeth. I don’t want Mrs L to have to endure endless days of inconsolable screams to, maybe, improve his chances of perfect pearly whites though.

We’re making as little use of the dummy as we can, it’s only a last resort, but we are going to keep using it for now. 

Is it just us and Mum of One who’ve pacified our babies like this? Hit me up in the comments to either make me feel better about our decision, or to pour scorn upon my parenting skills.

57 comments:

  1. I felt exactly the same way with my eldest. I actually cried when I gave it to him. I cried more when he wouldn't take it and the screaming continued however!
    Dummys are fine but at 6 years old you should probably ween him off it ;-)

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    1. Right, no more than five years, three hundred and sixty four days, got it ;-)

      Thanks for commenting and making me feel better :-)

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  2. Our middle child had a pacifier, loved it so much, that as she got older, she felt it was her duty to chew them apart each day. It got so bad I really thought I would have to buy shares in the company. Anyways, the girl has perfect teeth!

    By the way, breaking her of the pacifier addiction was a new problem. The only way I could do it was cold turkey, because I refused to buy a new one each day. Then I had to rub her forehead each night until she fell asleep, cheaper but a royal pain. She will be 20 this year, and occasionally she actually asks me to rub her head - a laugh, a gentle laugh, then say no.

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    1. Thanks, I'm hoping he won't get a (literal) taste for them! I've got some strategies further down the page for weaning him off them, all of which and more will be employed when the time comes :-)

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  3. I used one from day one- extremely begrudgingly but he needed the extra comfort, and being a human pacifier didn't really appeal to me and my boobs lol.
    He's 6 months old now and he's got 2 teeth coming through at the bottom... low and behold he's discarded it without me even trying to take it from him! I think you'll find that @lovefrommummy found the same thing with her little one (we were the dummy squad on twitter until her son gave it up!) so it's not necessarily the most awful thing in the world :) Fret not- it sounds like you and Mrs L are doing a fantabulous job :D

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    1. I think Mrs L can empathise with the need for boob relief :-)

      Thanks for the kind words, we're certainly trying! ;-)

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  5. I used a dummy for my 1st because she was a greedy little thing and wanted food constantly so it pacified her between milks and we have just started our 2nd with one as she is really unsettled in the evening and its the only thing that will stop her from getting cross and upset. I felt a bit guilty but then thought if it soothes the child and stops us grown ups from going mad then its got to be a good thing.

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  6. Oh and Layla's teeth are just fine after 2 years of using it, she's got nice straight shiny teeth. And getting it off her was fine too we just waited for her to understand she was too big and that was that.

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    1. Ace, that's what I need to hear! I'm all for retaining my sanity :-)

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  7. I took both mine to a cranial osteopath for colic, worked a treat and I was told that the current thinking (or was at the time anyway) was that dummies were good for shaping their palate, so there's a positive for you! I got to that point where I was up for trying anything & gave lil miss a dummy only for her to repeatedly spit it out. Even failed at that, bah!!

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    1. We've got the little guy booked in to see a cranial osteopath now, got to be worth a look!

      If it's any consolation, he also spits the dummy out on a regular basis.

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  8. When I was pregnant, my Husband and I were adamant that no dummies would be used and even got cross with my Nan when she knowingly slipped one into a bundle of gifts she'd bought for the baby.

    Then Edith was born and due to a traumatic birth, had no suck reflex. She was in intensive care and we'd listen daily to nurses telling us she's had 30ml of milk by syringe, harldy anything. Until one bright spark thought to give her a dummy to encourage her to develop her sucking action and everything just fell into place.

    I know this isn't particularly relevant to you but comfort, emotional nourishment, is just as important to a baby as physical nourishment and if that's what your baby gets from having a dummy, you're doing the right thing. Lose the guilt!

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    1. That's really interesting! I knew it, dummies: a force for good :-)

      Thanks for reading!

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  9. We used a dummy with our first because it was the only thing that would get him to sleep, especially when teething. Even then he stopped napping altogether at 13 months.

    We haven't used it for our second despite her being a puker and incessant crier when new-born for the simple reason that we tried a couple of times and she spat it straight out.

    18 months in to child number 2 there are plenty of things I DO fell guilty about but giving child number 1 a dummy isn't one of them. His teeth are fine by the way. And about to be replaced by the adult ones he's growing while dummy-less.

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    1. Hooray! Due to the lovely comments from people on this post I'm totally over my dummy guilt. I will now start looking forward to my next bout of guilt! :-)

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  10. You are doing exactly the right thing because it is working for your child, soothing them and assisting you. There is no problem or no shame in dummy use if it works and it obviously does for you.

    My first child was a huge dummy user. He always kept one in his mouth and one in his hand - when teething was finished and we felt he could now do without, the 'fairies' came to the house to take dummy away for another child who needed it; leaving a trail of glittery fairy dust behind. Okay, so he hated fairies for a while, but he got over it.

    My second child never touched a dummy, he preferred to hold something, like a teddy as a comforter - I would have gave him one, but it just wasn't for him. They are babies and as such, anything that can help soothe them is a blessing. Just remember to take it away, when the time is right. Hope this helps but you should certainly not feel guilty for helping your child.

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    1. Thank you, I'm coming to realise that it's best just to go on what works best. As I've said to others elsewhere though, with so much information out there (and so much of it conflicting) it can be hard to keep that in mind!

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  11. My first baby was breastfed and would not entertain a dummy,and chose instead to use me as a dummy day and night for two years. It was hard work I wont lie. My second baby bottle fed (there goes the guilt :-() and she uses a dummy and I wouldn't be without it. Dont feel guilty its there to comfort him if it does that it cant be a bad thing can it? x

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    1. You're dead right, whatever keeps them happy will also keep us parents happy!

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  12. D has never had a dummy, but we were lucky in that he quickly found his thumb which does the job well and without the damned steriliser. We did consider it at one point and went as far as to buy one but he spat it straight back out again and we gave up. I do think that if we had a colic-y baby we may have persevered. Don't be too hard on yourself, just do what is right for you, your eardrums and your bubba

    x

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    1. Thank you, if nothing else this post has shown me we're not alone, which is comforting :-)

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  13. RachellwilliamsMay 9, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    I don't think you have anything to feel guilty about. You are doing the right thing for Cam.

    I gave both of mine dummies and bottles whilst breastfeeding despite being told by the HV that they would get 'nipple confusion' what a load of crap.

    The only things I would say about using dummies is the teeth decay thing you mentioned and the fact it's sometimes hard to get them to give the dummy up when theyre older. Both mine gave them up naturally at a couple of months old as the sucky thing didn't give them milk so it got spat out!! Lol.

    Parenting is one big guilt fest where everyone has an opinion. Go with your instinct :-)

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    1. Thanks Rach, you're completely right, we need to get a bit more used to trusting our instincts. Hopefully he won't get too addicted and will do away with it of his own accord at some point. If not, we'll cross the dummy weaning bridge when we come to it :-)

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  14. We all do what we have to do regardless of the preconceived ideas that we have pre-children.

    We were very much like yourselves - it got to the point where we would try anything and we resorted to a dummy. It didn't help that the little man point blank refused it and screamed even more but hey ho we gave it a go.

    Thus far into this parenting foray I have learnt that guilt goes hand in hand with every decision we make but trust yourselves. You two are the only ones that truly know Cam so listen to your instincts. We have also discovered just how flexible we need to be - what works one day may not work the next.

    Every decision made is made with love so why we feel guilty I will never understand! You're doing great :)

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    1. Thanks :-)

      We're learning the flexibility lesson too, there's no manual with these things is there!?

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  15. There is a certain amount of snobbery around dummies from some folk. I'll admit I used to be one of the dummy snobs. I just thought it looked a bit naff & chavvy having half your baby's face obscured by a bit of plastic.

    But then I had my 2nd baby & she had a horrid time with colic for the 1st 2 months. We tried everything - massage, leg exercises, swaddling, Infacol, Dentinox, gripe water. And a dummy.

    I was worried about wonky teeth & speech development & that she'd become so dependent on it that she'd never sleep without it & I'd be endlessly groping about her cot in the dark every time it fell out at night.

    She's 4 months now. The colic is long gone. We still use the dummy sparingly & never at night. Just when she's grouchy & hard to settle during the day. And, because my eldest is nearly 6 years old & a rampant thumb-sucker, I can say with certainty that is is far easier to remove a dummy than it is to remove a thumb!

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    1. Shamefully, we too were in the dummy-snob camp. I realise now how silly that was!

      Thanks for reading and commenting :-)

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  16. I didn't use dummies for DD but new research seems to show them as a very positive thing, reducing cot death, improving breastfeeding (yes really) etc etc. So if I had a baby now I'd probably give one a go (I was a comforter for DD most evenings .. nipple in mouth was the only way she would snooze in the evening... many men are similar)

    The only thing I would say would be that a child running around with a dummy in does look awful, I would only ever use them at nap time or bedtime, I also think that would make it easier to wean them off later - as it won't be a 'constant companion' !! Good luck!

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    1. Thanks, and yes, we're going to try to be sparing with it!

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  17. oh and there is a reason the American's call them Pacifiers!!

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  18. I have never used a dummy. But you must do whatever works for you. Aka Muma wrote a really balanced post on it after she chose to use one when breast feeding. I'll tweet you the link.

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    1. Thank you for the link, and the reassurance despite never having used one :-)

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  19. Dummy's are brilliant - used them on all three of mine because I was a thumb-sucker, right up until the age of...er, I don't think you want to know, lets just say it was rather late.
    With my children to wean them off we made up a story at Christmas about how the baby reindeer needed them, and put them next to the glass of sherry and a carrot. What an image.
    Christmas morning was exciting enough and they were too busy to think about where dummies had disappeared to. There were a couple of moments where they moaned and many times we wished we could delve back into the bin to retrieve them but unless you want to break the spell early that Santa doesn't exist you have to remain strong. It took about a week for them to forget about it.
    If only my parents had put my thumbs in the bin, having said that I remember it was soothing and relaxing, my teeth are just fine and I did manage to stop..... eventually!

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    1. I love the weaning suggestion! Thank you for reading and commenting, whoever you are... :-)

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  20. totally associated with the guilt x one of my blogs 'pride' mentions my hopes prebrooke of not using a dummy yet my daughter gets real comfort from it x soother is a much better word and soothes it does x thanx for the blog

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    1. I'm going to try to call it a soother, definitely a more positive word for it.

      Thanks for reading :-)

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  21. T&K never took to soothers/dummies whatever people want to call them. We tried because, sometimes, you'll try anything, but for some reason they just didn't take to it. Perhaps we didn't really try because of the associated guilt. Perhaps they didn't like it because of the reflux problems they both had. Dunno.
    But what works for one doesn't for another and all that mullarky. If it keeps you and the little one happy for now then all is cool. Just remember they won't be using one when they're 15 so all is good. And don't beat yourself up about it. Parenting is tough enough.

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    1. Thanks mister, especially for the reminder not to beat ourselves up. We keep forgetting that one :-)

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  22. this article will ease your guilt - dummy use decreases risk of cot death http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4509240.stm

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    1. Woop! Thanks for that, my dummy guilt is well on its way out of my life.

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  23. Bob wouldn't take a dummy at first but I perserveered! After a few months she accepted it and it helped her to stay asleep for slightly longer than 30 minutes! Dummies are great! :0)

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    1. Bob's not much of a sleeper, is she!? Whatever works is golden it seems, for which I am grateful :-)

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    2. How did you know? I try to keep it a secret! ;0) Hope you are well!

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  24. Am so glad this worked for you guys too. What I didn't mention was that, like you, I was unsure if I wanted to use one. To be honest I was just being a bit snobby. It took Mr B going bacl to work for ONE day before I cavde. We never looked back! Don't worry about the teeth. Tommee Tippee do a range that is age specific designed by dentists. The little bit of research I did discovered that using a dummy actually reduces the risk of cot death, HOWEVER if you then take it away before 12 months old the risk then increases to higher than if you had not used one at all. W is 16/12 now and still uses his but only at night. Lots of kids just get bored of them so I am waiting for that to happen.

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    1. Jaysus, it's a feckin minefield out there! Thanks for your original comment and thanks for this one too :-)

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  25. Last I heard the SIDS people were recommending using a dummy becuase if they sleep on their tummy, it acts as a breathing spacer.

    My first child had one and it was so easy to calm her - dummy and a muslin. I flew in the face of my NCT group and had a much more peaceful existence than they did. And with a newborn, that's a precious thing.

    I was desperate for my other two to have one but they ceremoniously spat it out and preferred wailing. I'd think yourself lucky he likes it!

    Do try and wean off sooner rather than later though. My first daughter had it age 2 (only to go to sleep with by then) but the dentist said he could tell she sucked a dummy as her teeth were coming through wrongly. Later that night the dummy fairy came and removed them all from the house and left her a jewellery box. She never wanted it afterwards. (pure luck!)

    In america they are called soothers which is a far better description. They are not to 'dumb' but to soothe. Why do people have such a problem with that??

    That said, 4 year olds with dummies....nah.

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    1. Yes, we'll be trying to keep use to a minimum. He won't be having it rammed in his mouth unless we have to.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment :-)

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  26. Oh Christ don't feel guilty for using dummies. We gave Miss T one at one week old. She had a poor suckle, couldn't latch to feed & the dummy worked wonders at helping her to learn to feed. They don't harm teeth. My only worry was choking, but that's only because I'm paranoid. By aged one she had three dummies at a time - one to suck and two to hold. 2 weeks before her third birthday she gave them up to the "Dody Fairy" not bother at all. Babies need to suckle when they sleep, it's natural.

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    1. Thank you for commenting, I'm enjoying the mental image of Miss T with three dummies :-)

      I'm totally calling on the dody fairy when the time is right!

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  27. PS: She only ever had dummies for sleep time and naps, never during the day.

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  29. When Z was born he was such a sucky baby. He jut wanted to be latched on all the time and would scream the place down otherwise. After a few weeks we popped a dummy into his mouth out of desperation. It was like magic. Suddenly there was some relief from pure exhaustion. I felt so guilty though because we'd been adamant no dummies. I asked my dentist friend about it and she said as long as you don't leave it in his mouth 24/7 it's ok and actually better than him sucking his thumb as you can take it away.... She basically said that a sucky baby will find something to suck and that's just how somes kids are. So don't feel guilty, you've done the right thing!

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    1. Thank you, this thread has been great for easing the guilt. I think he probably is just a "sucky baby", both his parents were...

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  30. My daughter uses a dummy, she's 7.5 months old. We used to use it to calm her if she was upset but now it's just for sleep time and she's fine with that. My aim is to get rid of it around the 12-18 month age. I don't want it any longer as i know it can hinder speech. Don't worry. Don't feel bad.

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    1. Thank you, I'm over feeling bad now, it's clearly far more normal than a lot of parents let on :-)

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  31. Moo still uses a dummy for naps and at night and her teeth look fine. You get over the guilt/snobbery once you realise your baby will sleep through the night! I love dummies! (the blog post I wrote about dummies has been one of my most popular ones, by the way. Everybody LOVES this subject :) )

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