I’ve always held a strong anti dummy / pacifier stance. I couldn’t stand seeing a baby with its mouth filled full of neon plastic. Lazy parenting was my assumption.
Several reports conclude that they can cause delayed speech as well as dental problems.
But alas, viewpoints can and do change. I suppose now I should include myself in that lazy parent group.
Our daughter Rose escaped the strong pull of the pacifier. She almost joined the ranks of addicts but as much as her mother begged / moaned, I held strong. The heaviest temptation was always around the 4am mark when the baby had been crying for a couple of hours and we both held clumps of hair in our hands, along with bloodshot eyes. But regardless of a few nights like this, we eventually came through unscathed until it ceased being an issue.
Theo was a completely different kettle of fish. Unlike Rose who like her namesake was full of gentle sweetness regarding settling down and sleeping. Poor Theo often had a hard time getting himself fully relaxed.
We tried everything, gentle singing, stories, dim lights, rocking him etc etc. In the end after a particularly difficult night it was decided that we’d try out a dummy / pacifier.
Of course Theo embraced it like a long lost brother. The immediate delight was a little scary!
We have rules though. He is only allowed to use it when we put him down to sleep. It’s kept in a little box beside the bed and tempting as it sometimes is, it’s never used for any other purpose. Now instead of crying for what seems like hours, we put him down with the dummy in his mouth. The result is instant quiet and calm. His face is blissful. I can’t help thinking that this is much better for him than all that time spent stressed out refusing to go down. Or perhaps i’m using this viewpoint to justify my dummy u-turn?
The time has now come for him to move on, give up the dummy and kick the habit. Do we make him go cold turkey or slowly wean him off (maybe give it to him only for the night sleep?). Apparently its much easier to wean them off a pacifier than it is their own thumb. This is great news because I use to have a real bad thumb sucking addiction when i was a young child (along with a rag I use to carry around which i named ‘Goo-Ga’) but that’s a completely different story.