Friday, 28 June 2013

The Dummy: Friend or Foe?



 
Like most well intentioned first time mothers, I self-righteously announced to all before the birth of our daughter that “I would not be giving our baby a dummy”. Apart from problems it could cause with their teeth later on, and something called “nipple confusion”, I was actually unsure what the other reasons for not using a dummy were, but from the ‘tiss tissing’ people seemed to direct towards children using dummies in public, I assumed they must be bad and therefore would NOT be doing it.
 
At the 8 week maternal health nurse visit, our health nurse listened to the long list of techniques my husband and I had fruitlessly employed in an attempt to get our little daughter to sleep before asking “Have you considered using a dummy?”
At first I looked at her like she was speaking a foreign language, “Parles-vous Anglais?” I was about to ask, had I heard right?  “There are the drawbacks of course”, she said, “Like having to replace the dummy hundreds of times a night”.
Surely that was an exaggeration, surely whatever ‘dummy replacing’ that would be needed would be worth it to end to my little baby’s endless cries… and more importantly to give my husband and I more than an hours sleep!
Next came the other issue I hadn’t considered in the dummy ‘settling’ technique, “She also may not take a dummy”, she continued. Well that was something I would definitely be working at overcoming, if we now had the green light for using a dummy I certainly wouldn’t be giving up that easily. My Mothers’ group friends seemed to believe the dummy was a godsend and so I too would join the brigade of first time Mothers before me that had only made it 8 weeks into the job before going back on one of the things they “definitely wouldn’t do”.  Thankfully we persevered with the dummy and she eventually took it (insert wink emoticon here). Luckily she has a suction on her like a Dyson vacuum cleaner and so replacing the dummy wasn’t a big issue. This is not true for darling no #2 however.
Upon the impending birth of our son I was quick to announce to all that “I will be taking a dummy to the hospital”. It was as if announcing it to all so defiantly left little room for any negative opinions. And even if this did provoke some disapproving reactions from some no one would dare tell a fully pregnant woman who was about to have a newborn and a 14 month old at home to NOT do anything!!
So I did wait some time before trying to give our son, Master Q, a dummy, but suffice to say he was a regular ‘user’ before he was 2 weeks old! And unfortunately for us he has a suction on him like a TV shopping network 2-for-1 deal carpet sweeper. We panic if we have set off out of the house with no back up dummy, and we are on super vigilant dummy watch when someone else is holding him and there are no other clean ones. Watching the last clean dummy fall out of his mouth and bounce onto the floor is like watching a grenade being dropped in slow motion.
Perhaps if we had actually believed that we would in fact be replacing the dummy hundreds of times a night in an attempt to get some sleep we wouldn’t have forced Master Q to become so dummy dependent. In fact even when he wasn’t crying and awake we were still trying to force the dummy upon him! What were we thinking!?
Maybe if the decision to introduce a dummy was made in calm and considered moments you would see far less of them around. However as most are shoved into the mouths of babes in a desperate attempt to save ourselves from complete mental breakdown we find ourselves slaves to silicon sally, petrified of the day when we will have to permanently yank it from their mouths and hoping that day will be before we walk them through the front gates of the school yard.
And so we continue with the dummy dance on a daily basis; can’t live with it, can’t live without it. Our daughter, Miss M, who is now nearly two still has her dummy which is only allowed within the confines of her cot, OK, well that rule has also been extended to car trips longer than an hour and day care, and that’s it… I swear!

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