What is it about Dummies? Why are they so divisive?
I am genuinely puzzled.
In many playgroup and gatherings Digger is the only kid with a dummy. I get these sideway glances from other mums... Especially if Digger drops the dummy, and then quickly – before I can get to it – picks it up and sticks it in his mouth again.
It’s like smoking. Yuk.
I know parent that are hell bent on breaking the dummy habit, or those who only in whispering tones can admit that their kids also use them – sometimes.
Yes, they are made of plastic. And Dad hate that Digger is wearing a piece of plastic in many, if not most, of the thousands of images we have taken of him.
Yes, there are germs involved. There are with all children. A lot.
And yes, admittedly, over time I have become a little less obsessed with sterile pacifiers, although they all get the regular spin in the dishwasher with the bottles on a hygienic setting.
And yes, it schhluurss Digger’s speech – if he speaks with it in his mouth.
And yes, he definitely drools more with it.
But I think dummies are good news. On the whole. It is a short stint in life. I don’t know any 5 year olds who use them. Except occasionally at night? To help them fall asleep and wards off monsters. I do know one person in his twenties who still suck his thumb. Charismatic, charming, high achiever. But that is very unusual, right?
Realms and realms have been written on pacifiers and dummies. Pros and cons. I can’t find much scientific evidence for them being as bad as their reputation, and if so only in extremis. I get the sense it is something else, people have against them. Some personal.
Personally, I was very happy that Digger came with this particular habit. He settles easily. He can be calmed down quite easily and very quickly from most episodes with tears with a dummy and his bunny.
Digger used it A LOT in the beginning of the placement – it would bob in and out of his little mouth, like Maggie and her oversized pacifier in the Simpsons. Characteristic, funny and cute.
First time I acknowledged I had finally arrived at parenthood, was when I tried to start the car with a dummy. Now they are everywhere. In my bag, my pockets, on tables, chairs, bed, car, bath…
Many adoptive children were never breastfeed. My son wasn’t. He went from hospital straight to his fostermum, Rosa. He never lived with his birth mother. So his was bottlefed. He quickly grew to a chubby baby in the arms of Rosa and remains a healthy child.
Babies are born with an ability to suck – it is, and was, how they are going to survive. Breastfeeding does bring about the ultimate physical closeness, and many studies have shown that breast fed babies spend longer feeding than bottle fed children. Well, I can never breastfed Digger. I wish I could have. Is Digger's dummy an allowance from me because I haven’t? Do I think that breastfeeding and dummy sucking goes on the same account of ‘sucking in childhood'? No, of course not. But I don’t mind it one bit, when we snuggle and cuddle too.
Sucking is calming. Clearly. Period. Digger sometimes seems to disappear into this dummy world of calm. This is his place of safety.
For these uprooted children dummies should be a good thing, no?
Dan Hughes endorses them, I was very relieved to learn.
Where I come from, there is a dummy tree in the park. There, children come with their parents when they are ready to give up. It’s a big day. Many children remember it well. The family celebrate this coming of age and there is often a significant present – chosen by the child.
I approve of Digger’s use. I don’t really encourage it, beyond grabbling for one, if he cries that cry that can be comforted by double whammy of dummy and bunny. And making sure there is an extra by his cot at night. He doesn’t really wake up a night asking for it. Now he often finds it himself again, and is learning how to fall back to sleep again. I know, because I can hear him when he rootles for it and when he finds it.
So when the time comes, I will help him stop this habit. In fact now that Digger’s language is coming on apace, he often likes to take it out to make himself heard. He too can hear how much better everything he says sounds without it. He is already using it less than he did when he first came to us. But it will be a while yet before he is ready to give it up, I think.
But I am confident he will give up his dummies. When the time comes. For now there are FAR worse things he could be doing.
Ahaparenting has posted this handy link on dropping the dummy. And Handinhandparenting has this nice little article.
I'd love to hear your view on the matter.