From around 6 weeks old, our little sweetheart had taken great comfort in sucking soundly on his dear dummy (or dodo as we liked to call it). From the minute we put it in his little mouth, he really took to it. I know many babies (myself included, as my mom reminded me) completely refuse a dummy altogether. As I mentioned in my earlier posts; I found the first few weeks of Matthew’s life to be rather challenging. He was a clingy-need-my-mama-have-to-be-held-all-the-time kind of baby. (You get the picture)
I had read a lot about dummies and the pros and cons, as new mama; I scrounged through countless amounts of articles, blogs and forums as many of us do. Just hoping to do right by this new life we’ve brought into the world.
After our trip to South Africa in December, we had decided that it was high time Matt gave up his beloved ‘dodo’. We knew this was not going to be an easy feat, in fact I was prepared for the worst. At 18 months old, Matthew was only using his dummy for sleeping and occasionally if he was a bit grumpy. Even so, I realised how attached he was to it and braced myself for major meltdowns at nap and bedtimes in particular.
I know many people can be quite judgmental when they see babies or (even worse) toddlers with a dummy, and to be honest, before I had Matthew, I was probably one of them saying, ‘Oh, he’s far too big to be walking around with a dummy…’ We are so quick to judge others and their parenting choices, without actually knowing what their personal circumstances are. When Matt was only a few weeks old, it was our saving grace, and if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t hesitate to give him the dummy again. It honestly worked wonders for helping him fall asleep and calming him down just about instantly when he was upset. So there is absolutely zero judgment coming from my side! I think parents quickly realise, that sometimes you’ve got to do the things that maybe you didn’t agree with before you kids. (When we thought we knew it all!)
Having said that, I personally began feeling embarrassed giving Matt his dummy in public. Although he was only a year and a half, he was (and still is) by no means a small boy, and in my mind, he did look a bit too old to be sucking away at his dodo.
So we set the date… The 15th January 2018… The day we flew from Johannesburg back to London would be the last he saw of his little buddy. After researching different ways of giving up the dummy and chatting with my sister who had been through it recently with her son, I decided to go cold turkey on this mission and literally throw away every single dodo we owned. This is how it went…
Day 1: Woke up and all the dodos had vanished from sight. Matthew was perfectly fine during the morning as usual, but then came the dreaded nap time. Normally, Matt would be put into his cot and I stay sat next to him while he gently drifts off to sleep. That unfortunately wasn’t the case this day. I tried the usual technique, I even held his hand. After a few minutes of restlessness, he started calling for his ‘dodo’, the call turned into a cry, that progressed into a scream. My heart was breaking knowing exactly what he craved and me denying him his comfort. The comfort he’d known just about his whole little life. Eventually I picked him up and embraced him warmly. He fell asleep in my arms, tears streaming down his sweet face.
Bed time went pretty much the same, this time, he was sucking on his fingers, so desperate for his dummy. I sang to him and held him and he eventually fell asleep. It was exhausting and emotionally draining to see him so upset. I left his room with tears in my eyes, praying that he’d sleep through the night. Thank goodness he did! That was day one, done and dusted… How many more to go before his dummy addiction was no longer?
Day 2: I felt like giving in and going straight to the shop to buy more dummies after day one. I’m so glad we persisted. Nap time and bed time went pretty much the same as day one, with Matt still sucking on his fingers for some comfort, but it didn’t last as long as the first day. By the time he fell asleep, I saw a glimmer of light, a bit of hope that actually… he’s going to be ok without it.
Day 3: I think he’d started to forget about his dummy. He didn’t ask for it at nap time or bed time for that matter. There was still a bit of fussing to get asleep, but today he went down in his cot. A bit emotional, and some whinging, but no tears! Gosh, I think we’ve been through the worst.
Day 4: We are dummy free! And back to our usual bed time routines. Three difficult days, but it’s almost as if he’s forgotten he ever had one. So to anyone who’s going through the same situation, stick it out and don’t give in. You will get through this.
About 3 weeks after giving them up, Matthew’s friend came over to play at our house. He walked in the door with a dummy in his mouth (the exact same brand as the ones Matt used to have) I was secretly mortified… we hadn’t seen his friend for a while and his mum wasn’t aware that Matt no longer had one. I didn’t know what Matt would do, how would he react? He pointed at his friend’s mouth and said, ‘dodo’. And every time he found the dummy, he would gleefully run up to him and put it back in his mouth! Success! Phew! Now I know he’s done with them for good.