Posts Tagged ‘dummies’

Dummies and decisions

I know a little girl who is currently waiting for the dummy fairy to take her dummies away.  You’ll be fine sweetheart, I know Mummy and Daddy will help you sleep. 

My sister lives in Spain, and there is a festival every year just before Christmas with street parades and different characters, and the little kids give their dummies to the dragons to take away. 

I know I had a dummy and apparently took it to kindy a few times in my bag, just in case.  I don’t remember giving it up. 

My girls don’t have dummies, I did try early on with both of them but when they wouldn’t take it I was quite relieved because I didn’t really want to use them.  And given the major meltdowns I’ve had (yes me, not them) over all the comfort sucking that sounds a bit weird – I mean if it’s a fairly big issue for me, and I admit it is, why not just use a dummy?

This isn’t really a post about dummies at all, it’s a ramble about the parenting decisions we make. 

My own dummy decisions are easy to trace, maybe not to understand, but I can see how I got here.  First off dummies were not even considered at the beginning because they can interfere with breastfeeding, and anyone who’s read my posts can probably work out I’m not about to let that happen 🙂

After a few weeks with feeding well established there was lots of screaming and comfort sucking and we tried dummies with both of them.  Both of them refused and we went on to other things, luckily because in both cases there were reasons for the screaming.  I don’t know how a dummy would have affected things at that point – would it have held up the eventual solutions?  Would it have solved the problem on its own?  Who knows? I was quite glad, because I really didn’t want to get into dummies – the idea of having to keep track of them, keep them clean, replace them and then eventually wean off them just didn’t appeal.

Once the initial early problems were solved dummies were forgotten, until a few months later and they’re still constantly sucking.  The little one went through a couple of months when she wouldn’t sleep, at all, any time, without a nipple.  I put a lot more effort into dummies then, but the little rubber teat just wasn’t acceptable and frankly neither was the crying.  So I caved, read lots of books and had a lot of early nights.  It wasn’t fun, but we seem to have got through it.

Sleep is gradually improving, with the emphasis on gradual, but now I haven’t slept well in over 18 months and my tolerance is wearing thin.  I do think occasionally of dummies now, but it seems like such an effort to go through when, if she takes after her sister, it will all be over in a few more months.  (She’d better take after her sister!)

So each time, my dummy decisions have been based on a sort of ‘better the devil you know.’ I started with a vaguely negative feeling towards dummies, I don’t like the look of them, they can be bad when you are trying to establish breastfeeding, they are linked to increased ear infections, you have to get rid of them at the end.  Of course they have good points, otherwise they wouldn’t be so popular, but I’ve never used them so I don’t know what they are.  In the end, I felt that if you have to get up to replace them anyway, might as well just keep feeding.

I wonder how many of our parenting decisions are based on this sort of inertia?  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Look before you leap.  (The problem with using proverbs as a decision making tool is there’s always one for the other side – He who hesitates is lost and a stitch in time saves nine.)  I know for myself the short term pain of getting them to accept the dummy just didn’t add up against the possible long term gains and problems.  Was it fear of making things worse?  Maybe I made the right decisions, we certainly got through with my eldest and ended up with a healthy, happy little girl who likes us (thanks, cAt) and sleeps well. 

Maybe, just maybe, there are lots of paths that will get us to the same ending, and maybe it isn’t of earth shattering importance which particular one we take.