Thursday 20 October 2016

After 4 million minutes, it's finally time to say farewell to dummies

red dummy

No, you read that right.  It's taken over 4 million minutes, or over 3,000 days, indeed over eight years for us to be dummy free in our house.  In that time President Obama was elected (twice), we've had several economic crises, Twlilight, the Lib Dems in and the Lib Dems out, Twilight was replaced by many with The Hunger Games and we are on the verge of Brexit.  It's been a while and I cannot even imagine how many dummies we have bought over this time.  There were at least 20 in the house the day they got thrown out - that was last Saturday.

I remember the first dummy we used. It was a tiny clear one that had happened to come with the bottle and steriliser set I'd bought.  I was pretty sure I wanted to breastfeed but was keeping an open mind about this whole parenting malarkey. Couldn't hurt to have the bottle set there in case.  I hadn't even thought about having dummies.  Of course it turned out that after the third night of holding a pinkie in my son's mouth so he would settle, that I was rooting around in the box for that precious 0-6 month dummy.  Since then they've been the constant in the home.. over eight years.

In that time, we've been the family that can't go out without a dummy.  Heck we wouldn't go out without a spare one. We were the family scrabbling around with a phone torch on an aeroplane or in the cinema looking for the elusive escaped dummy.  In the USA on holidays we bought 'pacifiers' and I searched for 'soothers' during each weekly shop.

hanging dummy

We've gone through all brands, all sizes, all shapes.  Ones with holes, handles and even harnesses. I can tell you the regular offers because I hardly ever bought them in just a single pack of two. We must have gone through hundreds.  I definitely should have bought shares in them.  As the kids grew I tried to get ones that were a bit more discrete or quirky.    But my favourites also included the glow in the dark ones - a life saver in the middle of the night.  And ultimately it's this that's got them booted out the house.

All these years, dummies have been the soother in the home.  Two of my three children are on the autistic spectrum.  Both of them were very orally stimulated (nope, that's not rude).   People with autism can process their sensory systems differently.  They might cover their face from light because it hurts their eyes or find particular clothing as almost painful because of how it feels. Both my kids liked to chew and suck on things as a way of balancing how they felt and particularly coping with stress.  A bit like some people may bite their nails.

Dummies provided my kids with a security and this meant they were used a lot and far beyond their recommended years. And during that time we've been helping the kids cope with many parts of their autism.  This has included in David's case poor sleep and night waking. Up until the weekend, a dummy, or several were still part of night time routine.  He's also been on melatonin for the best part of a year but it's still not great.  We were finally referred to the sleep neurology department at Evelina's children hospital by Waterloo.

We met a very well educated and informed doctor who took notes and gave us some advice.  It's so nice to actually speak to someone who is at least an expert - even if it's not always the news you want. "It's quite possible that David just doesn't need as much sleep."  Urg.

However, whereas I was still sending David to bed with his sleep aid (that's a dummy and it was several infact), the specialist suggested that David scrabbling for his dummy when he wakes in the night might just be enough to prevent him falling back to sleep.

David has been able to cope without them in the day for most of the time for at least a year now.  And given that we also have a dental nurse as the kids Grandma, every one jumped on the idea of this being the time to get rid of them... for good.  Anthony was eight so obviously hadn't had a dummy for years, but that was none for Jane (who'd got away with having them because they were still in the house for her brother) and none for David.

I braced myself for the night from hell.

But it never came.  It wasn't much better, but it certainly wasn't much worse.  It made no difference to David and Jane just needed a bit more settling.  So really all good.

lost dummy

I'm a little in shock.  I know in the coming weeks we will find stashes of them around the home. And then I'll collect them and put them in ...the bin?  Seems a bit strange and foreign.  No more dummies on the shopping list.   No more dummies in the car, my handbag or lined up in a cup by the sink for washing.  No more fishing for the elusive dummies out from under the sofa, the kitchen table or the kids beds.  No more back-tracking down the road because 'we must have just dropped it'.

And one day soon I'll get Jane out of nappies and I'll never need to go near the baby isle again.  Then I guess I'll be able to write another post on the 5 million minutes we've had nappies in the home. Don't worry, I'll get round to it eventually... just give me a minute.

But for all the cost, the worry about how it will affect their teeth, and panic that sometimes ensued as I mentioned the phrase 'that's the last dummy' on a day out, the dummy has not just been a constant, but a constant soother.  And it's only now that it's job it over, we've finally been able to say farewell.

Did you use a soother? What gives your kids comfort?


  1. Wow, a whole new world awaits. Monkey never took to a dummy, but he is a constant nose picker, even now at school. It's not great #SSAA

  2. Haha nice post. Never heard it called a dummy before, so at first I thought I would be reading something completely different!

  3. This gives me hope! Tink is 4 and a half and we're really struggling with her use of the dummy lately. She's very orally fixated and it's definitely her preferred method of calming her anxieties and comforting herself. Well done - hope it lasts!

  4. Ahh yes, they were called "dee dees" in our house and Madam was 4 before got rid of them. Sir was far less bothered funnily enough. But it's whatever works for you and the kids to be honest. Well done to all on a relatively smooth transition!

  5. I bet you got more advice than you ever wanted about dummies/pacifiers over the years. I've heard of pacifier fairies visiting houses and taking them away (the dummies not the children!). Leaving a present in return. It seems its usually a wrench. I think you can happily count yourself lucky. Yeh to this new phase in your lovely family's life. #wotw

  6. My twins are a bit over two and we are going cold turkey tomorrow- I am seriously terrified.

  7. Wow, glad taking the big step was so successful... I bet you catch yourself automatically going to put a dummy in your trolley for a while! And good to hear a positive experience of getting rid of dummies to encourage others who want to take that step :-)

  8. Wow, glad taking the big step was so successful... I bet you catch yourself automatically going to put a dummy in your trolley for a while! And good to hear a positive experience of getting rid of dummies to encourage others who want to take that step :-) #KCACOLS

  9. Oh, you're entering a completely new phase - best of luck!
    We didn't have a dummy/pacifier, but we do have a blanket which is still used today - even when it's boiling hot,mid summer!
    Good luck! xx

  10. A momentous occasion, glad that it went well. My two both had dummies as babies and toddlers, just for nap and bedtimes. My girl was not overly attached to hers though I still remember bracing myself when we took it off her as she turned 2. My son did love his, so I was more nervous about taking his, but as he got a present in return from the dummy fairy, he was absolutely fine! Thanks for sharing with #WotW

  11. The big lad had a dummy but he gave it up easily to Sinterklaas one year and never asked for it again. It had gone. But he did go through a phase where he was chewing his jumper all the time so we got him a bite necklace. He had a few and used them for about a year. I would highly recommend them. Thank you for linking up to #EatSleepBlogRT

    1. Popping back from #SpectrumSunday after I'd read this post I was sorting out the big lads room and found one of his chew necklaces! Have you found any more dummies?

  12. Major step for you all, well done! Neither T or D took to dummies which I was relieved about at first but, looking back, they both needed some sort of chewy comforter. We're not out of the baby aisle yet as we use a lot of baby wipes here but that's okay by me.
    Thanks for linking up with #SSAmazingAchievements

  13. I remember saying I'd never use a dummy with my kids and my eldest had one from 3 weeks in haha. We had no problem getting rid at 6 months thankfully so it's never been an issue. This time round, my youngest won't take it and I'm practically trying everything haha. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

  14. My daughter has just got rid of her dummy, so we're now dummy free for the first time in 5 and a half years and it feels good! x #KCACOLS

  15. Well done for taking the step, its a big thing to consider.


    #eatsleepblogrt #kcacols

  16. Mine has been so dependent on his since a baby. I've finally got him to drop it during the day (God love the Dummy Fairy!) and now remains the night. I am conscious because he is 4 in December - I know this is quite old but having read some other comments on here I know I'm not alone. Besides, people can judge all they want, why should I care?! I've told him as soon as he turns 4 the dummy fairy won't be bringing it back - I may have to say she will swap it for a present of his choice instead!!! Time will tell. #ablogginggoodtime

  17. Ah I am both happy for you and relieved the same as I felt when we finally said bye to dummy and also its weirdly sad, like saying goodbye to something that soothed your littles and part of their babyhood. My son had a dummy from a young age as he used his fingers to soothe at first and kept choking..we said goodbye to them about two..he couldn't go out the door without a supply then one day he just took it out and never picked it up again. I found loads behind the the car etc. Huge step well done. Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS Hope we will see you next Sunday x

  18. Congratulations on reaching this milestone... I hope the no more nappies landmark isn't too long in coming your way... it's amazing how weird it feels leaving the house for the first time with your kids and just a normal sized handbag! #ablogginggoodtime

  19. Mine never took to dummies. I'm not sure if I couldn't be bothered sticking them back in the middle of the night. My daughter sucked her thumb and it didn't matter how many people tutted and told us it would wreck her teeth, short of chopping her thumb off there wasn't much I could do!

    It's really weird to not be in the 'baby' stage anymore. I'm still giggling at the idea of you finding random stashes everywhere. #SpectrumSunday

  20. Hi! I'm "odd" in that I hadn't heard of dummies before. (I don't know if I had one, and I don't have any kids of my own.) Reading this post was a neat learning experience, opening the door to something new to me and giving me a glimpse into what it's like to raise "one of us" (I'm Asperger's/autistic). Thank you for your insight. Very well-written piece :)

  21. I was really fortunate in that my little one decided at around 6 months she didnt want it anymore and stopped accepting it otherwise I'd probably be terrified of trying to stop her as shes rather stubborn!!
    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

  22. Getting rid of the dummy was a big step for all our kids. My older two on the spectrum (although i didn't know they were at the time) struggled with it and now I know why. It's probably best I didn't know about their autism back then - it may have been harder for me to have followed through that way!

  23. Great post. Little Man is giving his bedtime dummy to the Easter Bunny this Easter! He only has it at night and I don't like that but it's just one of those things. We've told him the Easter Bunny has said he can go to Build A Bear to get his very own made bear to replace the dummy for comfort. I just hope our plan goes well! Thank you for linking up to #TriumphantTales. Hope to see you again next week. X

  24. I'm currently trying to get my 2 year old off her dummy - slowly. She is fine without it in the day and she even hands it to me if we are going out anywhere. She says, "we don't need dummies outside do we mama" and hands it to me haha. She still asks for it if she is tired or upset for any reason and she has it at night. Honestly, I think she'll decide herself she doesn't want it any more.. soonish (I hope anyway)haha #TriumphantTales

  25. I'm currently trying to get my 2 year old off her dummy - slowly. She is fine without it in the day and she even hands it to me if we are going out anywhere. She says, "we don't need dummies outside do we mama" and hands it to me haha. She still asks for it if she is tired or upset for any reason and she has it at night. Honestly, I think she'll decide herself she doesn't want it any more.. soonish (I hope anyway)haha #TriumphantTales

  26. We used to give Ben a dummy to help with a night time routine but after a bout of sickness and giving him calpol through a medicine dummy he choked in the midst of hysterically crying and that put him off dummies straight away. He was only a few months old so i think that helped, but now he wont stop cuddling his teddies to sleep! Thank you for linking up to #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you again next week!


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