Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Are you a dummy dummy?

I thought long and hard about writing this post. Someone said something on Facebook the other day, which although I know is silly, really got under my skin. This is the direct quote as taken from Facebook.

"People kept telling me to give ma girl a dummie when she was born and am glad i didnt cos the wee one has went 6 months without. All she needs is loads of cuddles n kisses from mummy n daddy xx love our little munky to the moon n back."

Quickly followed by,

"kids dnt need them,a little tlc and they are sound haha dnt know if its cos i have a gd baby haha but nah ill never give her dummie havent even thought bout it haha xx"

This was also followed by comments stating that parents who use dummies are useless and neglectful and only use them to shut their kids up.

Firstly I'd like to say well done to my friend on not giving into pressure and giving her baby a dummy. I genuinely mean that. I'm really glad she could manage without. That said, there is no need to make any one else feel shitty for using one. She managed, in the space of a couple of sentences to make me feel like the shittiest parent in the world.

My main issue is how totally judgemental she is being. Not all parents have the same experience as her. I gave my daughter a dummy, and it was certainly not to shut her up. Before I gave her it I had been totally against the idea. So if you don't agree with the use of dummies either please take a moment to read my story below.

Our Dummy Story

Before H was born we had decided that she would NEVER be given a dummy. Not our precious girl, not EVER.

Fast forward to a few weeks after H was born. Our sleepy, contented peaceful baby was gone. Cue week after week, night after night of my poor little girl screaming from early evening until the early hours of the morning until falling into an exhausted sleep. Then waking every 45 minutes unhappily to start the process over again. H was in such distress, this was not normal baby crying. Her face was twisted in agony and bright red. There was practically nothing I could do. We tried everything. No amount of TLC, cuddles or singing helped. She was breastfed on demand, rocked, bounced.  We pushed her in the pram, we took her out on the car, propped her up, massaged her, bathed her. She mostly slept on my chest and even that didn't help. We tried so many things I can't even remember them all to list them here. We asked the doctor and HV repeatedly for help, nothing they suggested helped either. The final piece of advice we were given was this....

Some babies are just like that. You'll have to be patient. She'll probably grow out of it in about 5 months or so.

Yup, that was eventually what we were told.

My partner and I were just devastated for H, to see H so clearly in pain or distress was heartbreaking.

I can honestly say it was probably the worst thing I have ever had to deal with in my life. I would have sold my soul to the Devil if that would have taken away my baby's distress. People kept suggesting trying a dummy, but I was so against the idea that I wouldn't hear of it. I was barely coping. The fact that there was nothing I could do to help my baby made me feel like the worst parent in the world. I would cry continually whenever H wasn't in my arms ( I wouldn't do it in front of her in case she sensed my distress, although she probably still did). I wouldn't admit defeat. I wouldn't even let family members take H to give me a break as I felt I would be failing her. (Stupid I know).

Eventually after months, my partner and I sat down and agreed that a dummy was the only thing we hadn't tried.  We thought we may as well try one, as it probably wouldn't work anyway. We would finally try using a dummy but we agreed we would only use it when H was distressed.

So what do you think happened? She took to the dummy straight away. She was still distressed at times, but it seemed to have a much more calming effect. Her bouts of uncontrollable crying we're halved almost immediately.

Had I known that from the outset I would have not had the slightest hesitation to give her the dummy. Anything which would alleviate my darling child's suffering for even one single second has to be worth it. If I had the choice again, I wouldn't hesitate.

So where do I stand on dummies now?

If H had been a happy contented baby, I would still never have given her a dummy. If I had another child who was contended I wouldn't offer a dummy either.

However, if I had another poor little baby like H, I would definitely consider it as an option if nothing else seemed to work. If it would alleviate the distress of my child absolutely. Who would want to watch their child suffer if there was something they could do to prevent it?

I bet you are wondering if H still has her dummy at 10 months? Yes she does. We kept to our word though and only used it when she was in distress. She does not get a dummy during the day (and never did) at all (unless distressed due to illness). She doesn't miss it at all. She is a happy, smiling little girl who likes to be vocal so why would she need it? She does still get her dummy at nap time and bedtime, which she sucks until she falls asleep then spits out, so for about 5 mins really. We are hoping to phase that out very soon too though.

I would certainly never give a dummy to shut my child up, and I am utterly offended by the implication that I would.

Where do I stand now on the dummy habits of others?

How you choose to raise your child is your business. I may not agree with it, but I don't know your situation so I have no right to judge. If you want to give your baby a dummy so what? There are far worse things you could be doing to your child. If you and your family are healthy and happy, that is surely all that matters.

So what is your view? Is a dummy a sign of bad parenting? Was I wrong to give a dummy to my baby? I'd love to know what you think.


Sarah said...

In no way does giving your babies dummies make you a bad person! They are calming and comforting in times of distress and if they help get your children to sleep then even better.

I gave dummies to all of my children and they were a lifesaver - in particular with my twins when I couldn't feed or comfort them both at the same time.

I now only use them at night for my twins who are 2 but will be stopping that soon. My son (5) who also only used them at night, stopped using them at the age of 3 and he turned out ok!

Happy babies = happy parents!

Susanne@babyhuddle said...

This is my story. When my eldest was born, I hated the idea of dummies. The hospital told me not to use one as i was breastfeeding and so we didn't. She was a really contented baby and I was so proud of the fact that we didn't need a dummy, despite people telling us we did! Then my son came along.His birth was trauamtic (and the reason why I started bloggin) and he suffered from server reflux from birth. We were advised that a dummy would help to produce more saliva which neutralises the acid. I also read Dr Harvey karp's Baby Bliss book which maintains that sucking is a natural comforter for many babies. Without the dummy, my son would NEVER have slept.It saved our sanity and he gave it up at 4 months. My youngest- she does not have reflux but we still gave her a dummy as a newborn. We'd read advice that they can actually help to prevent SIDS and we also liked the fact that they provided comfort. She gave it up at 3 months and won't take one now, which is fine. To me, the golden rule is to keep an open mind. All babies are different and some will respond well to a dummy. Sometimes you nee to forget everything you think you know! Great post!


Marilynn said...

Thanks for the comment. I totally agree with Happy babies = happy parents. Can't believe how judgemental I was beforehand. Each baby is different as they say!

Marilynn said...

Thanks! I definitely have a much more open mind about parenting since I've become a parent. I try not to judge(although sometimes that is harder than I think). No two babies are the same, so I don't think the rules can be set in stone.

sarahlou 33 said...

Being a good parent means doing what you feel is right for your child, if your child needs a dummy give them one a distressed baby is not a happy baby and if a dummy helps then wheres the harm? Good luck hunny you love your daughter and want whats best for her, that makes you a great mummy :) xx

Marilynn said...

Thanks, I think that is the important thing. Just to love and care for them. I always try and remind myself that as long as I'm doing my best then that is what is important. ;)

Sonya Cisco said...

I wish people wouldn't judge other parents choices! Actually dummies are recommended to prevent cot deaths these days! My little sods wouldn't take one, but if they had, and it had meant we all got some peace and sleep I would have done it!

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