Breaking the (Dummy) Habit

Pre children, I swore dummies (paci/pacifier to some of you!) were horrible plastic things designed for lazy parents and destined to cause a lifetime of dental and speech problems. (Oh to be the naive judgey pre babies me once again! Ha. I’d slap myself!) 
Then I had children, and everything changed! (Because that never happens!) 

We didn’t consistently introduce a dummy with our eldest until a few months old. Don’t get me wrong we tried and tried as early as 5 or 6 weeks as exhausted new parents that just didn’t understand what cluster feeding was, but he just wouldn’t take one !

We tried again when he was around 4 months old mainly to save our sanity during long haul car journeys to visit family. From that point it snowballed. Soon enough he had them in the car, when I needed 5 minutes to finish something, when I went out, when he was in the sling, etc etc, and now at 2.5 years of age he still has one. 
Or at least he did until Christmas Eve. 

I’ve been berating myself for months over S’s use of dummies. Telling myself I should have followed a friend’s example and just removed them when he turned one. Desperately reading about how to gently wean him from dummies to ensure he’s not trotting off to uni with them (insert eye roll!) reading about the dummy fairy, or the bedtime only dummy and debating whether he should have “donated” them all to his sister when she was born as he is the big boy now (and then immediately feeling guilty for making my still oh so little person be a “big boy” ) turns out his sleep routine went to hell when his sister was born and I adopted the anything for an easy life mantra whilst we all adapted to the new arrival. 
Finally, whilst putting up the Christmas tree, I decided there and then that he would be gifting his dummies to Father Christmas in a sort of exchange for all the gifts he would receive. We spent a week or so in the run up to Christmas collecting all the dummies that had been squirrelled away in toy boxes, change bags, handbags, coats and in his room ready to leave out on Christmas Eve, and reminding him that soon he wouldn’t have a dummy. We did our best to stop him having them in the day asking him to put them down, or telling him he didn’t need it. 
On Christmas Eve, we all gathered round and opened our box with the plate for Père Noël, special pj’s, a mini Thomas train set (that just happened to have as many carriages as we had dummies!) reindeer food, and “histoires de Noël” book and made a big show about placing the dummies on the plate along with a few biscuits for Santa and carrots for Dasher, Prancer and Rudolph. 

That night he went to bed without any dramas, and I breathed a premature sigh of relief. 

Christmas Day there were no dummy related meltdowns, not even at bedtime. He did spend a few minutes with his sister’s dummy, but gave it back to her when asked to do so. Boxing day was very much the same and again he went to bed and slept through without even asking for his dummy. 
Today. Well. Today was different. Today the bins were collected. S has always loved watching the bin Men, and excitedly shouts hello from his bedroom window as soon as he hears the rumble of the lorry. As per usual, he stood at his window and excitedly waved at the guys as they collected the bins, but as soon as he had their attention, he fell apart. My poor little man stood at the window and sobbed whilst repeating

 “hello Binmen, I have my dummies back please, please bin men. My dummies, I miss them. I want my dummies. Hello. Please. Please” 

My heart broke a little. I gently explained to him that the Bin Men didn’t have his dummies, and that they had gone with Father Christmas , but it took a good 10-15 minutes (and a chocolate related distraction) for him to calm down and stop asking for them. I felt all the mama guilt watching him sob, his beautiful brown eyes now red from crying. 

Tea (decaf!), cake and a chocolate biscuit to calm him down!

To make the transition “easier” his sister only has dummies at bedtime, and until this morning I thought we were doing ok with the cold turkey no dummies approach. Hopefully it will get better. We will see how he reacts to the Bin Men next week. For now though we can say we are finally dummy free. I just hope he forgives us! 
Do your children still have a pacifier/dummy? How do you intend to stop them? Have you used the same method as us? Did it work for you? Please share your experiences (good or bad!) below. 

2 thoughts on “Breaking the (Dummy) Habit

Add yours

  1. Wow! Well done! Sounds like it’s gone quite smoothly! I hope we have the same experience, such a good idea to exchange them for Santa presents (wish I had thought of that!) Did he sleep normally without them? Lily is so dependant on them to fall asleep I do worry she won’t sleep well without them, I need to bite the bullet but have been using Christmas as an excuse to delay it a bit! Xx

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  2. I was the same as you pre-kids. No dummies for my precious, perfect bundles of joy! Yeah right! That lasted five minutes. I remember rushing to 24 hr Tesco in the middle of the night to buy emergency supplies when we ran out of them and had searched in vain and desperation down the back of every sofa! J was particularly attached to his. I seem to remember at a similar age to S, going through some ceremony of placing his last dummy in a box then in a drawer. formerly saying goodbye to it because J was a big boy now. He did cry (a sad, silent, weep type of affair) but somehow accepted that it was time to move on. We had a few days of having to stand firm but then it was ok. By the way, my Dad has always maintained that use of dummies is preferable to thumb sucking. A thumb is always there and therefore its use as a pacifier is a much harder habit to break. He should know. He was a dentist!

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