Since becoming a Mum, every little decision you make seems to be criticised. It seems that everyone has an opinion and whatever you do, someone will disagree with you! One of the biggest 'sticking points' that we came across was the 'dummy.'
For us, we didn't give our daughter a dummy for quite a few weeks. I can't remember the exact time but we tried to follow the advice from the health visitor and comfort her in different ways. However, when we couldn't comfort her anymore, no matter what we did it would seem, we decided to give it a go. In all honesty, she didn't take to it straight away but she finally got the hang of it and it helped us to get through some very difficult days and nights where she was extremely restless.
We did have some people comment that she shouldn't have one and they weren't afraid to openly share their opinions. As a new Mum, this made me feel terribly guilty that I was doing something really damaging, that perhaps we shouldn't have used it and that I was failing not being able to comfort her in any other way. I went through weeks, months of doubting she should have it but then finally realised that it was our choice, it was what worked for her not anyone else's child. This is true of so many things as a Mum. We are made to feel like our decisions are wrong and are made to feel guilty, not often realising that each child is different and that people all parent differently. This seems such an easy thing to say now. At the time, I was a new Mum, a Mum who was doubting everything she was doing having not done it before, constantly looking for advice and some support, but often facing strong opinion which both hit my confidence and made me analyse every single decision I made.
So, we had decided to give our daughter a dummy. That was it, the decision was made. Then came the 'when are you going to take the dummy away?' question. As she grew into a toddler, and still used her dummy for comfort, this was the next challenge we faced. I knew we needed to start the process when she was about 2. Not because of what anyone had said or what the textbooks said but because she didn't need it anymore. She could self-sooth and could use other things to comfort her at night. However, that was easier said than done. Not only did I have a demanding toddler who knew her own mind to contend with, I also had my own emotions to try and deal with at the same time.
For me, the dummy still signified that she was a baby, silly as it sounds. That she still needed some comfort that she had when she was my little bundle. For some reason I found it really hard. I found it hard to let that part of her go, but also to watch her cry and upset her by taking her dummy away. I'm a soft touch I know! I can't help it. So I really needed my hubby's help in this. I turned to him at the end of Summer and we finally were able to take away the dummy!
How did we do it? It was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. Over the recent months she had been chewing her dummies and popping them, so we started to tell her that the one she had at that time was the last one, we didn't have anymore to give her and that she would have to be a 'big girl' when she popped that one. She seemed to be ok with this. I was quite surprised! Then the day came when it finally popped, and I'm so glad it was at the weekend! I have to admit letting hubby take over. We did have tears and it did take her a bit longer to get to sleep over the next few days but in all honesty that seemed to work for us. Going 'cold turkey' as it were! She soon adapted to not having it and so did I. I did shed a few tears if I'm completely honest, sounds so silly now.
Am I glad that we used a dummy? Yes I am. For us, it worked. For others, it doesn't. And that is absolutely fine. We need to remember that we are the parents, that we can seek advice but that perhaps it shouldn't be forced upon us, that we are all different and so are our children. Has it done her any harm? Nope. Did it do us any harm? Apart from my feelings of guilt, that are probably going to always be there now I'm a Mum, nope.
Do what is right for you and your child. It's hard to ignore those that are around you, especially if they are forcing their opinions on you, but try to stay strong. It's so hard being a parent, sometimes we need to remember to give ourselves a break. Easier said than done I know. I hope this has helped anyone feeling the same way about using a dummy, or trying to get rid of a dummy.
Thanks for popping by!