Saturday, August 1, 2009

Dummy? No Dummy?

Esmé's Mommy here.

This is one of the last photos I have of Esmé with a dummy. I left it uncropped to give the context: that's Scotland whizzing by in the background in the closing days of 2008 - when she was 20 months.

By the way, don't you just love the term "dummy"? It's what everyone in South Africa was calling it, and I think it describes that zoned-out look that accompanies it just perfectly.

I never had any really strong feelings towards dummies either way. I briefly tried two different kinds with Esmé as a newborn - and she didn't like them at all.

And I wasn't getting much sleep at all, pacing the floor all night trying to keep her asleep. As soon as she was put down, she would wake up again.

We had a breakthrough moment; we tried a different brand of dummy. And she loved it! And all of a sudden she was sleeping by herself, and I managed to get a little sleep (not much, mind you), and the fog lifted and the sun shone! (And the church bells rang and the flowers bloomed.)

So for the first year and a half of her life, we've made sure we carried a dummy with us everywhere we've gone. Usually two or more, in case one got lost. You didn't want to mess with a baby without her dummy!

She wasn't obsessed with it, but it helped calm her down or even fall asleep in the car. And over time, she just stopped asking for it, and I've stopped carrying it around.

Even in the photo above, she wasn't using it as a pacifier. She was just goofing off, throwing it on the floor and saying "Mommy dummy!" over and over while I protested that I was actually quite smart.

So it's been a very peaceful and self-motivated weaning, for which I'm very grateful.

(Actual breastfeeding weaning is a whole 'nother story for this stubborn little girl... Which leads me to believe that if Esmé hadn't gotten off the dummy so easily, we might still be dealing with the dummy issue when she starts college.)

On my left sidebar a little ways down, you'll see a JuiceboxJungle video box. I finally played it today for the first time (since most of my computer time happens while Esmé is sleeping or watching a DVD and I don't want to risk the noise factor). It's currently playing a rather interesting overview of the whole pacifier debate.

What do you think? Dummy? Or no dummy?


Pam said...

with Ashlyn we used one- it was a life saver, but we made sure to have her off it before she turned 2. With Riley, I tried, but the boy refused it. I tried brand after brand and he just kept spitting them out. So for a while I suffered because he had a hard time self soothing- but I never had to break that habit of using it later on.

Kori said...

Meh, whatever works. I mean, I hate it when I see three or four year olds walking around with one, but as a general rule, whatever it takes. None of mine ever really used one, but Sam was a thumb-sucker and barely quit when he was like 7-and it was just like coming down off of heroin for him. And I TRIED to get Owen to take one in order to make it easier on the daycare when I went back to work (I was nursing, and went to work on my lunch hours for 15 months-I didn't want them to feed him before I got there, so had hoped he would be pacified with, well, tha pacifier while they held him off), but he totally hated every single one we tried. So-I was his pacifier when i was home with him, ha ha ha.

this is one of those debates, like co-sleeping, where people can get unreasonably upset, but the way i look at it, we each have to figure out what works best for us, whatever gets us the most sleep and the most peace (within reason-I am talking more about infants than toddlers now), and let others do the same thing. so-there's MY two cents!

Jennifer said...

I don't prefer them and think for a lot of moms of infants, pacis can cause problems with establishing a breastfeeding relationship (nipple confusion being the biggest problem).

Generally speaking, when moms don't use a pacifier and allow their baby to suckle at the breast as much as needed, supply issues don't happen.

ShEiLa said...

If in fact the 'dummy' makes your life easier... then by all means.

They are easier to part with than a thumb... for sure. My son Stewart was the thumbsucker of our family.

My oldest, Celestial had not given up the bottle when our second was due to be born. I just couldn't get her to get rid of it. So I had an idea... if the bottle was broken... how do you break a bottle. I cut the top off the nipple and when she laid down for her nap... the milk ran down her neck. I said oh, it's broken. I'll get another nipple. With tears running down her face she watched... all of the nipples were broken. That was the end of that.


Mike and Katie said...


I've heard of doing that with the pacifier, too. Cutting a little off the end every few days. Eventually, it's no longer satisfying.

I'd love to hear the debate, but I have a sleeping baby right here, too. For us the question is to cry of not to cry. All of our kids as newborns have had a time in the evening where they act like they want more sucking/food but if we give them more, either nursing or bottle feeding they vomit.

They have all hated the paci and we would have to hold it in their mouths, but it never calms them enough to go to sleep. I have allowed our adopted children to nurse during this time, too, knowing they weren't getting much extra milk. They just suck and suck and suck until it's been about 2 hours since the last feeding and we can feed them again without vomiting.

On the other hand, if we swaddle them up and let them cry for 10-15 minutes or so, they fall asleep for 2 hours or more hours.

I think you should use whatever works duing that first year so that both mom and baby get quality sleep. Then deal with the prop or habit around one year. My older daughter was a thumbsucker and we sewed socks on her PJ's shortly after a year maybe closer to eighteen months. It only took about a month of wearing the socked PJ's and only a few nights of extra fussing.


Unknown said...

My premie had a hard time getting the sucking motion down with breast feeding, so the dummy actually helped. I would let him suck on that for a second, then transfer him to my breast and it helped. Soothie dummies didn't seem to create any kind of nipple confusion for him--they helped a lot. He loved the dummy for the first four or five months, but now he only uses it right as he falls asleep. I am definitely in the camp of "whatever works best for you"--every child is different, and we are just trying to do our best!