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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Spitting the Dummy

The 2 year old uses a dummy. And up until now, it hasn't been an issue. At all. But recently I've noticed the love for the dummy has increased. Dramatically.

I was never one of those mums, rightly or wrongly, who said "I will not use a dummy." Quite the opposite in fact. Before my first son was born, and along with a box of nappies, wipes and nappy rash cream, I bought dummies. Ready and waiting for when Bub (or probably more specifically, I) needed it.

When I was in hospital after my 7yr old was born, the midwives were quite insistent that I should wait to introduce the dummy, in case it messed with his breastfeeding. Wanting to do the right thing, I put the dummies on hold, forgoing sleep and my sanity in the process for the good of my newborn baby.

For the first two weeks anyway.

After a particularly long and stressful day filled with tears (most of them mine, many of them his), Hubby and I decided to give him one. I held it in for a few seconds, praying that he would take it. At first, he seemed to want to spit it back out. And then suddenly, he had it. Almost instantly, he fell asleep. At last. Sleep. Relief.

When my second son was born, I had Hubby bring the dummies in to hospital. I wasn't going to muck around that time. (And we had no problems with breastfeeding either.) And the same with the third.

But I've always had strict rules with the dummy. They are not for anything but bed time. Of course, this rule was slightly relaxed in that as long as they were physically on their bed, they could have the dummy, but once off it, the dummy came out and was left there.

My 2yr old, who will be 3 next month, has also followed this rule, but he has started to challenge it recently. I've noticed him straying from the confines of his bedroom, dummy in mouth, to watch tv or lie on the floor with his beach towel. (Yet another comfort item - he slept with this as an alternative to a pillow until he moved in to his "big boy bed" and we convinced him he needed a "big boy pillow" to go with it. Not that I can blame him; wanting to lie on a beach towel all the time. I'd like to feel permanently on holiday as well.)

Anyway, these recent turn of events have made me realise; it's time. Time to get rid of the dummy.

With my first son, it was something I knew we had to do, but I was reluctant. He loved the dummy too. I was afraid to remove it. Would he sleep without it? God forbid. He could keep it until he moved out of home if that was the case. I didn't want to go back 'there'.

We decided to offer him a bribe. A packet of toy cars for the dummy. He handed them over willingly, his eyes eyeing off the 6 pack of shiny new cars in front of him. And then when he lay down for his first afternoon sleep without his beloved dummy, he started to cave in.

He begged for it, pleaded for it, promised he'd be a "really, really good boy" if we gave it back to him. I likened it to a drug addict going cold turkey. I had to be tough. Strong. Willing to see him through it. And you know what? Within five minutes, he had gone off to sleep. He woke after an hour, calling out for the dummy. I repeated the mantra I had the first time, "You're a big boy. You don't need a dummy. Remember: you get six new toys cars to play with later." And it worked. He went back to sleep. And we never looked back.

It was that easy.

It was just as easy with our now 5yr old. But the 2yr old? Well, let's just say I'm bracing myself at the very thought of going through the same process with him.

My youngest is the most determined. He's also very vocal. And I'm worried I've left it just that little bit late. Many years ago, I read somewhere that the best time to give up the dummy is between the age of 2 1/2 to 3 years of age. The reason being that up until that age, they really don't understand why you are taking this comfort object away from them, and any later than 3, it becomes habit forming. Both the first two boys gave theirs up during this 6 month period, but a little closer to 2 1/2 than 3. I have precisely a smidgen over 1 month left to complete this task. Time is ticking away. And I just can't wait any longer.

And so, I am giving myself a deadline. No more dummy by the end of next week. Going, going, gone.

Now I just need to find an item to bribe him with. Wish me luck!

Until next time...


Ami said...

Oh good luck! I give in to our puppy at the drop of a hat, so I guess I'm going to have to toughen up when bubs comes along!

And let me just say, apart from loving your blog in general, I also think it's going to come in handy for tried and tested parenting tips! Who needs books when I have Mummy Mayhem!! x

Brenda said...

Good luck!

Sending out lots and lotsa supermummy juju to you. ; )

MegsyJ said...

I was the opposite to you, Jodie: I was determined that my little one wouldn't have a dummy. I couldn't stand them! BUT, after one particularly bad day when she screamed for an hour before each nap, I was ready to try anything. At my husband's suggestion, we tried a dummy and... relief. She fell asleep straight away; it was as though she'd been waiting for some extra comfort.

But, like you, I do insist on it being for bed time only.

I now dread having to wean her off it! She's 14 months, so hopefully we can use it a little longer...

Nomie said...

Oh good luck! Miss8 had one permanently attached from about 3 days old to just over 3 years of age... she had reflux, and we chose dummy over medication... I still wonder if it was the right decision! We gave it it the fairies about 7 times, then one day in desperation I put it in the freezer... and it did the trick! (Still don't know why, but it worked!)

Thea said...

I know exactly what you're saying. I didn't want to use dummies, but was given one for the first and actually bought one for the second...but, neither of them took them. Both spat them out and refused them. I must say I was relieved because I didn't want the 'how do we stop using them?' dramas. However, I became a human dummy for 10mths, then 13mths, and then they both became 'hooked' on the bottle...which was effectively a dummy! It was heartbreaking telling my boy there would be no more bottles just before he was 3. Not looking forward to doing it all over again with my 2 year old.

Good luck! Be strong!!

Liz.. said...

ohh good luck! I have no experience in this area but i do know that up until about 3 1/2 i had a dummy in the mouth and one in each hand.. just in case, you know, i lost one or two... so i guess it's a good thing your little one isn't that obsessed!

Erica said...

BTDT once so far. Mr 8 had a dummy, and like you it was strictly for sleep times. By the time he was about 2 he had taken to chewing rather than sucking them, and they kept getting blowouts. After a couple of weeks of buying a new dummy every couple of days I decided it had to go. So next blow out we told him it was broken and had to go in the bin. He put it in the bin and never asked for it again.

#2 never wanted a dummy, so that was easy.

Miss 13 months loves her dummy though, and she's feisty so I think I'll have a struggle on my hands when it comes time to get rid of hers. I'd still rather a week or so of dealing with dummy withdrawals than a non-sleeping newborn!

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

I am so with you! My MIL once made the comment that she used to walk her boys up and down the hallway to comfort them. I don't think she was keen on the dummy. I'd rather a kid be comforted than crying and working themselves up in to a state! And really, getting rid of them isn't so hard.

But I'm still nervous!

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

Ha ha! I used to put 3 dummies in my firstborn's cot, so that if he lost one, who could find another rather than wake me up for it! I g

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...


I got that tip from a friend who used to put 8 in there!

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

Thanks Thea! My 5yr old was the only one who had bottles, and he used to love walking around with them after finishing them, with them hanging out of his mouth. But he was such a relaxed little thing, I'd just pull them out and he wouldn't complain!

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

I reckon if you can avoid medication, it's a good thing. x

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

It's amazing how fast they can work, isn't it?

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

Thank you luv!

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

Oh, you're so sweet!

Yep - stick with me and I'll open your eyes up to lots of interesting parenting issues! I hope we don't put you off!

Ally Paolino said...

oh God - I am about to go through this - I have a 2.5year old and the time is ready for getting rid of the dummy. But we have just got him sleeping through the night, and a new baby about to arrive so I have decided to give it to the new year before taking action - Like yours, he is very vocal and very attached to his dummy. It's not something I am looking forward to! I hope to hear how it goes!

Anonymous said...

Le Artiste was a dummy sucker. When it was time for the dummy to go we held a farewell dummy ceremony and it was thrown (by Le Artise) into the bin. No dramas. Petal is a thumb sucker....ergh, if only we could detatch it and ceremoniously pop it in the bin..but no,that just would not do. I'm hoping with some peer group pressure at school next year it will gradually subside, but it's tricky, to be sure, to be sure.

Anonymous said...

Oop, sorry, forgot to sign off. That last comment was from me.

Tara (Waffling Along)

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

Will keep you posted Ally!

Liz K said...

Good luck :).

I've not long ago forcibly removed the dummy from my son's mouth... he's 5. He's stubborn, he's vocal, he's tricky to handle and all of that added up to the dummy staying well after I wanted it to go. At 2.5-3 he couldn't understand why I tried to take it from him and it didn't work so I let him set the pace. During 3-4 he was reducing the use and mostly sticking with the bedtimes only thing but from 4.5 it started becoming a permanent fixture. We went everywhere with a dummy *sigh*. I though perhaps public comment would cause him sufficient embarrassment to give it up... no, he just got more defensive and determined to keep it. Eventually I just cut the top off the one he had in bed one night and hid all the rest. 6 weeks on I'm still getting him asking me for a dummy but he's going without. I have not wavered ! lol

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

Good for you! Sticking to your guns. It's hard isn't it? Actually, that reminds me of what a friend did. She just cut a little bit off the dummy at a time, until nothing left so he would then get frustrated with it and throw it out. It worked for her too.

fat mum slim said...

Good luck! Lacey only just started taking a dummy at 14 months. For a while there I thought I was in trouble. She was pretty hooked.

But now she only has it for falling asleep and then doesn't care for it again throughout the night.

We usually take dummies to the toy store and trade them {using them as currency} to buy toys. It's funny because one of the older kids still thinks you can pay for toys with dummies. It works. I will wait until Lacey is 2.5 years. I'm not too worried.

Good luck to you. xx

Liz K said...

I would never have thought to do it except that a woman mentioned she'd done that when her child was resisting. I Lurv that woman lol. I got asked today (again) why he can't have a dummy, keep thinking he might forget but not yet *sigh* (LizK_is from twitter)