Ditching The Dummy


I wrote a few weeks back about the battle of the dummy (here) and Alex has since been looking to it more and more for comfort. So last week we decided to try and ditch the thing for good and I’ve documented the process. Hopefully so we can look back and go ‘wasn’t that tough but we’re glad we did it’ or maybe it’ll help out anyone in the same situation?

Day 1

We’ve been trying to limit the dummy usage in the day for a few days now but I’m concerned that we’re confusing her if we’re not letting her have it in the day but then happily giving it to her at night? We’ve both being doing a lot of reading up on methods and a lot of people advocate going cold turkey. Tonight is as good a night as any.

She’s getting overtired and screams for 45 minutes before she goes to bed. I’m sat on the landing outside her room not knowing what to do for the best. I’m about to give in (and am whatsapping my mommy friends for support!) when she finally drops off. I give it a while before I move, scared she’ll wake up, and then creep downstairs. That was probably the most stressful bedtime we’ve ever had with her.

It gets worse when she wakes at 12am and screams for a full hour. We try giving water, comfort etc but she’s in a full on rage and is pushing us both away. This is really horrible. Finally, finally she gives in and drops off until the morning.

Day 2

I’m having a day in the house today as I’ve got so much work to do. I get practically none of it done as she spends most of the ten hours we’re on our own for screaming. I don’t want to give up on the good work we’ve done so I stick in there but it’s tough. When you know you could just magically make them stop crying with one thing that’s right there in your bag but you can’t do it. She naps for 20 minutes twice, both times just after having a bottle, but you can clearly see she’s still tired but from the broken sleep last night.

She spends most of the evening being absolutely ratty – not the cheery child we’re used to – until we go out for a drive later on and she finally falls asleep in her car seat. As we pull up we debate just leaving her sleeping the whole night in the car! I’m nervous we’re going to have a repeat of yesterday but she barely wakes as we change her for bed. Daddy pops her into her cot and we wait with baited breath to see how long before the screaming starts. It’s 8.10am before we hear anything from her room. I’m shocked!

Day 3

She’s cheery for about an hour in the morning while we all get washed and dressed for the day and she has her breakfast. Then the whining starts. I’ve got lots to catch up on today and I’m feeling thoroughly exhausted so I’m hoping we can have an okay day.

She sleeps for a bit (20 minutes which is her normal nap length) around midday and is generally okay, with a bit of whinging in between. I wish she’d let me cuddle her when she’s upset but she’s not a fan of that at all!

Towards the evening is generally when she’s the least happy, cause she’s getting really tired but isn’t ready to go to bed yet. She’s definitely nowhere near as unhappy as she was yesterday though and after about two minutes of grumbling (not full on screaming) she falls asleep shortly after 9pm.

Day 4

She makes it through to 6.50am without any interruptions at all (we’re used to sometimes having to get up and replace her dummy if she loses it overnight so we’re pleased to have no wake ups at all) but then she’s up and refusing to settle even though we’ve put her in the big bed between us. Just before 7 would be a massive lie-in for most parents but it’s unusual for us as she’s normally asleep gone 8am. We get up and she’s fairly cheerful until about half 9 when she begins whinging again. I’m wrapping her birthday presents so pop her in her cot to nap instead of her being downstairs where she normally naps. After about 20 minutes she gives in and actually sleeps for quite a while! I enjoy the silence!

Later in the day she drops off to sleep again in the car, I’m very impressed. And it’s an ever better result when she goes straight to sleep in the evening having been tired out by swimming, dinner, jigsaws and books. I think we’re almost there with cracking it, apart from the occasional howling at nap time – but we had that with the dummy anyway! She’s just got that baby logic of being so tired yet not wanting to fall asleep and miss anything.

Harriet and Alexandra x


The Dreaded Dummy

Proof Alex could sleep without a dummy at one point - this is her arriving home from hospital.

Proof Alex could sleep without a dummy at one point – this is her arriving home from hospital.

There’s one thing that seems to cause a massive controversy in the parenting world and that’s giving your child a dummy. For some reason this tiny thing attracts a lot of criticism from others even though there really are a million worse things you could do for your child.

We didn’t really have a view either way while I was pregnant about whether we would give Alexandra a dummy, I don’t even remember buying the ones she used at first so whether they were bought by someone else I don’t know. For the first few weeks she didn’t have one at all but then while I was back in hospital she started having one. Fast forward a few months and by the time she was sleeping in her own room she’d drop off in the evening without one but want it back in if she woke during the night or early morning. Then she started having it to go to sleep with.

Now we’ve probably used it a little more because she’s teething and it’s soothed her a bit in between the pain relief we can give her. I really want to get rid of it and know that we just need to go cold turkey and suffer the horrendous few days we’d have before she’d hopefully stop wanting it. But it never seems to be the right time – we did try once and she was awful, howling hysterically through the night like she’d just heard the entire world’s supply of Aptamil had vanished. So in went the dummy (after a few hours of persisting) and all was right with the world again.

I know they link dummies with speech delays and thankfully this doesn’t seem to have happened yet, she’s babbling away at a similar level to most of her little friends. She doesn’t have her dummy in constantly in the day so that could be the reason why. A second reason I don’t like it is I just think it looks awful on an older child. It seems a little selfish to me to have carried on giving her the dummy mostly for my own sanity so we’re not up the whole night trying to comfort a screaming baby – but then I think about the fact it’s obviously comforting her and it’s really a two-way street.

We will try at one point to get rid of the dreaded dummy but it always seems like the wrong time – either her teeth are bothering her or she’s got a cold, or one of us is feeling under the weather and therefore really can’t do without any sleep. One day though we will conquer it! (Hopefully before her 18th birthday!)

Harriet and Alexandra x