Thursday, 29 August 2013

Decisions, Dummies, Doubts and Dilemmas

Every day we make a myriad of parenting decisions some easy and some that seem easy but, which can have consequences unknown at the time. Lets change her nappy now feed after, I'll pick up to sooth now I cant distract her in another way and let's try the dummy it might help her settle. This final decision is haunting me. 

Before L arrived I was a bit of a dummy snob. I had heard all the horror stories related to teeth and how you can never get rid of them. I had heard the benefits that some babies are very sucky and that they can help reduced SIDS. But I was pretty sure I didn't want to go there. I brought a pack in a rush to make sure I had absolutely everything a baby might need. I heard that J had been a dummy lover, I was a thumb sucker, my cousins son is a fist sucker. I still didn't really want to introduce dummies.

And then L arrived and she was a sucker as I should probably have predicted based on her parents preference for it. It very quickly became apparent that L would happily, and some times only, feed/suck herself to sleep. To save my nipples we introduced the dummy at less than two weeks. I was dogmatic about one of us being with her until she was dropping into a deep sleep so we could pull the dummy out to ensure she didn't need it in to stay asleep. Luckily this seemed to work. L would suck madly start dropping off and we could extract, or she could push out, and she would stay asleep. Hurray for saved nipples and some one else settling L to sleep. This pattern has continued for nearly 3 months. We use it only at sleep times when she is in her crib or carry cot.

But the apparent golden months when bad habits are formed and then hard to break are fast approaching and I can see what lies ahead. L is nearly sleeping through the night but on the occasions she wakes not hungry she won't self settle. She is too used to sucking herself to sleep. This means some nights I am awake just to put a dummy back in her mouth, tuck her back in and then leave her to it. Don't get me wrong I 'pause' and wait, I don't rush in, but I am awake. It makes night waking even more frustrating. I am needed for all of two minutes but am awake for at least half an hour.

This all makes me doubt my decision to give her a dummy in the first place but would I go back and stop myself? Maybe, although I am not sure how I would have survived some already pretty tough early weeks without it. If L wasn't waking in the night needing the dummy I am not sure I would have a problem with it this early.

I am trying to ween her off her the dummy and going to reach for it only when nothing else is helping her calm down. But we now have a choice between her crying herself to sleep with one of us there, her getting hysterical and needing a cuddle during which she falls asleep on us or her sucking herself to sleep by herself. I am filled with doubt about the best thing to do.

I am pretty sure this wont be the last time I doubt my parenting decisions. But doubting myself makes me feel like an inadequate, unprepared, ill informed mother. Doubting myself makes me cry and not know what I should be doing for the best. It makes solving this dilemma harder as I feel unable to make a choice for my daughter because I feel I have already made a bad decision so how will I know my next decision isn't also bad?

This Mummy job is tough and I am continually being reminded how tough. As much as it is tough however, it is rewarding. Her smiles and nearly proper laughs, her attempts at rolling over and her sheer size now have all been directly influenced by me and Daddy Morkus. We have taught her these things and for every night I need to reach for the wine and copious amounts of chocolate we have lush days of snuggles and smiles to make up for it. 

What will happen with this dummy dilemma? I really don't know but for today we have our bed, tea and chocolate biscuits. 


  1. E had a brief thumb sucking spell but grew out of it. L might grow out of her dummy, and if she doesn't there will be plenty of opportunities along the way to ditch it. I think as long as you choose *when* the dummy is appropriate and when it is not and stick to it, it'll be fine. My friend had one for her daughter but it was for only when she was asleep at home/in a bed. She got rid of it at about 11 months, no biggy. But at the moment if its helping you sleep, then I wouldn't try and rock the boat as in my opinion, you will be a better parent the more sleep you have. The friend in question's sister is a speech therapist, incidentally, and she says they cause no problems with speech and another friends sister is a dentist and she has no issue with dummies at all. Don't let others judge you.

  2. Thanks Mama H, it is good to hear those positive experiences especially from the professionals. I am feeling better about my decision after writing this post, the cathartic experience of sharing and talking. L uses a dummy to help get calm and some days the affect is instantaneous. I can't take away that comfort from her. Not yet. Thanks for stoping by and commenting.

  3. A really tricky one - think Mama H is right, keeping it for a few situations only means she gets lot of experience of soothing herself in other ways so should be pretty easy to wean off when you're ready. Found you at the Pin It Party and have pinned this on my parenting board - Alice @ Mums Make Lists x

  4. Thanks for stopping by Alice and thanks for the pin. Yes we are sticking with just using it in crib for nap and bed times. She is so quickly soothed by it and it is a step towards independence from us to go to sleep. Thanks again for linking up and following on G+. Xxx

  5. No easy answers. My daughter wouldn't take a dummy and still feeds in the night for comfort and I can't get her weaned. It's so hard! I wish you luck.

    1. Stephanie that sounds really hard, how old is your little one? I have relaxed a bit more about it now, fraught nights make for lots of stress about small things as I am sure you can relate to. And you are right there are no easy answers in this mummyhood lark. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Xxx

  6. I have to admit, I think you are being to harsh on yourself. As both my kids are older, I don't tend to comment on baby stuff, but I had to comment on your post, because I want to give you some reassurance that dummies are not the end of the world, or the source of all evil, or the worst decision you will ever make. Sure, the having to wake up and giving it back is a rough period, but she will learn to do it herself in a bit.
    Both my kids had dummies when they were babies and honestly both were fine, no teeth problems, no more dummies today, and no real problem ditching the dummies when the time came.
    If the dummy helps her, let her use it. She is just a baby and she needs to find her comfort, and if the dummy helps with that, it is fine. You don't have to fear the future so much, she will grow out of it, or she will at least grow up a bit and you could help her wean herself off the dummy when she has other means of working her feelings.
    Good luck!

    * Got here through #MBPW

    1. Thanks for the slap, you are right I am being tough on myself, I suppose I feel I have to be as I am my own boss now so have no one else to answer to. Thank you also for the reassurance, it is good to hear positive stories of dummy use. Thanks for stopping by and commenting xxx