When Olly was a very little baby, he slept with a dummy. It was completely my decision to give him a dummy as he was sucking his thumb as a newborn but a dummy gave him comfort and he’d happily suck on a dummy whilst napping and if he got upset.
As Olly got older, the attachment to the dummy grew so we made a conscious effort to take it off him during the day and only give it him back when he was napping or going to bed. We knew that giving up the dummy would be a hard thing for him to do as he relied upon it for comfort but we were keen for him to do it before his third birthday.
Loyal readers will know how troubled we have been with Olly’s sleep over the last two and a half years. He slept literally like a baby as a newborn, falling into a pattern of sleeping through the night giving me and hubby nights full of sleep (six plus hours sleep is a full night, right?) and blissful ignorance that it was all about to crash down. As I returned to work following maternity leave, Olly had horrendous separation anxiety and our troubled sleepless nights began. The dummy remained a constant to him and I didn’t want to take it away. We were already having a rubbish time and I didn’t want the withdrawal of the dummy to add to our list of problems.
As Olly’s teeth began to come through I was worried about all those things you read in the baby magazines about speech delay and his teeth growing at funny angles due to overuse of the dummy. We made efforts to remove the dummy from him during the day and only returning it to him for sleep. I didn’t want him to become one of those children who constantly had a dummy in their mouths whilst they were talking. I personally think it leads to bad habits and I didn’t want that for him.
I have lost count the number of dummies I have bought over the last three years. Olly wasn’t fussy about any particular do do (his nickname for his dummies) and as his teeth grew, he would chew the dummy until it became a worry. Every night before bed I would carefully inspect the dummy making sure it didn’t have any bite holes in ensuring he wasn’t going to choke on it through the night.
Last Summer, unfortunately for us, Olly’s troubled sleep patterns returned and he had started waking during the night looking for his dummy. We had taken the sides of his cot off and he regularly lost his dummy down the side of the bed knocking it off the mattress and losing it during the night. He would then wake us up in tears and none of us had a great nights sleep.
As Olly’s third birthday approached, we told Olly that he had to give up the dummy. He wasn’t very pleased by the idea but I had removed all traces of the other dummy’s that he had and left him with one identifiable dummy. We told him that the dummy fairies would come along and take his dummy and leave him a fantastic reward for being such a big boy but he didn’t want anything, he just wanted his dummy.
We kept reminding him at bedtime that the dummy fairies were coming but two weeks before his birthday, I checked the dummy and it had a hole in it. I pulled at the teat and with a little bit of force, the hole got much larger. Olly was watching me so he saw the hole in the dummy teat and I told him how dangerous it was. He was so upset. I asked Olly to put the dummy in the bin so it was his actions that signified the end of the dummy and that’s how Olly said goodbye to the dummy!
I’ve been so proud of how he’s taken to giving up his dummy. It’s all been part of his development and he’s done so well. It wasn’t easy but he did it!