Parenthood can create a lot of strong views and attitudes. Before we even conceived, I had a lot of ideas about how I would like to raise my child. I did not want to be naive, though. I settled into a philosophy of having ideals, but being prepared to change at a moment’s notice as we dealt with the many variables of Reality as they were dealt to us.
One of the views I always held was that dummies are totally unnecessary, and the lazy parent’s way of dealing with their child without having to put in any real effort. This was not entirely just a bitchy, judgmental view – some parents are like that. Of course, I’d hated them from infancy, quite literally! I accidentally copped a mouthful of sterilising fluid through a rubber teat as a baby and hated all rubber products – dummies included – thereafter (and to this day). I hated seeing toddlers and pre-schoolers still unweaned from them. I hated everything about them!
But the philosophy I’d cultivated was one of waiting and seeing. I have a little yellow dummy which came in the showbag at the Baby and Toddler show. I didn’t anticipate needing it, but it happened about a week ago (we’re at 12 days now).
I noticed during one of the night-time feeds that although Milly kept apparently asking to feed – making her fish faces (mouth pouted, opening and closing), rooting, and sucking violently at my finger or anything else she could get into her mouth – when I put her to the breast, she promptly stopped all activity and the milk just oozed out the side of her mouth. She wouldn’t settle, so I was left holding her, desperate for sleep, wondering why, if she was hungry, she didn’t just eat. Then I had an idea.
“Can you go get her dummy?”
Sean wasn’t keen. He shared my concern that if started on the dummy, she might end up dependent on it for comfort. Nonetheless, he did as bade, and brought back the little yellow dummy. I popped it into her mouth, and watched the magic unfold. Her arms and legs, which had been waving around in the air, relaxed and her eyes began to glaze over. Suck, suck, suck. All she wanted was to suck – no food needed.
Amelia doesn’t use her dummy very often, maybe once or twice a day, and usually it’s been sides while breastfeeding. She has a little break from feeding, sucks on the dummy while chilling out in her cot, then spits the dummy (literally!) and continues the feeding.
I never thought I would use a dummy for my child, but it has turned out to be very helpful for those times when all she wants to do is suck and not end up with a mouthful of milk.