Working my way through the last minute shopping list before Axel was born, it never entered my head to buy a pack of dummies. I think the NCT leader had advised us all against them and so I hadn’t given it a second thought. My mum stepped in and said I should buy some ‘just incase’, and at the time I didn’t realise just how grateful I’d be for that piece of advice!
My breastfeeding journey is a story for another day, but in short I didn’t have enough milk, and with a sucky little Axel crying out for hours wanting more and more, the dummy came to the rescue and stayed with us for the next 12 months. I’ll be honest, it was an absolute lifesaver at times.
Once the feeding issues were sorted, Axel used a dummy for sleeping and the occasional crying outburst (mostly when we were in the car and needed some peace and quiet!!). I had absolutely no issues with the dummy until he was around 11 months old, when I noticed it was interfering with his sleep. If he couldn’t find the dummy in the night, he would scream the house down! It was at that point I decided enough was enough and it was time to get rid.
How we gave it up:
1.Set a deadline: Sounds harsh but we see a deadline of his first birthday. I knew that If I didn’t have a date to work towards, I’d cave in. I picked a time before I went back to work and didn’t have many plans. I was prepared for the sleep disruption.
2. Cut down: I started to cut down on the use of the dummy. The occasions when I just wanted a moments peace or felt Axel needed calming down, I didn’t use it and gave him a cuddle or distracted him instead.
3. Introduce other sleep aids: The biggest thing for us was getting Axel to sleep without his dummy. It made me realise how much I relied on it for giving a sleep signal. For nap times, I would just pop him in his cot, give him his dummy and switch on the white noise. I started to introduce other signals like giving him a cuddle and then lying him down with his comforter. I think the key is to be consistent so they understand it’s time to sleep.
4. Throw them all away: The BEST thing I did was throw all the dummies in the bin.
The whole process was so much easier than I had anticipated. It probably took 48 hours in total for him forget about the dummy and sleep soundly without it. His first nap was pretty bad. I sat outside his bedroom door feeling terrible that I wasn’t giving him the one thing he wanted but deep down I knew it was for the best. I used controlled crying and eventually he slept. The nap after was the same, BUT by the evening he was already getting the hang of it and we’ve never looked back.
I always had in my mind that I’d wave goodbye to the dummy as soon as it was affecting his sleep and I’m so glad I stuck to it. Luna gave up her dummy herself, she started spitting it out at around six months and turned to ‘sucky bunny’ for her comfort (a cuddly toy rabbit) instead.
Good luck Mammas- we’d love to hear any success stories that we can share!