I will freely admit that in my naive pre-BattleKid era I was firmly against a child of mine having a dummy. No way, Jose! Ha. If I could go back I’d give my childless self a good shake and say “wait and see”. We ended up having a collection and when it came time to ditch the dummy, we were apprehensive to say the least.
We survived a little over a week after the birth of BattleKid before I sent my husband to the shops to procure said pacifiers in the hope I’d get some much needed rest. I was exclusively breastfeeding at that stage and was being used as a pacifier in between feeds. And I was exhausted. I know many of you will think “oh but you were only a week into Motherhood, so why give in so quickly”. Because I had to! Cluster feeds and little or no sleep in those first few weeks are worse than what I imagine hell is like, and coupled with an awful recovery from birth I wasn’t prepared to play the martyr. Show me a new mother who is prepared to do that and I’ll gladly shake their hands.
As it turns out it was our saving grace a week later when I ended up back in hospital for an episiotomy repair and BattleDad was left to fend for himself with a 13 day old new-born who had been fed by me exclusively up till then. They survived the 12 hours together and so began another 12 weeks of recovery for me before I felt somewhat normal. To be honest I don’t think you can ever feel fully normal again.
Life soon found its natural rhythm in the BattleHousehold. Again, naively I had thought “oh I’ll ditch the dummy when he’s one”. First birthday came and went. As did the second birthday.
Before we knew it we had a 2 years and 7 month old toddler who still relied on the dummy for naps and bedtime. We occasionally brought it with us on days out to calm him down if he got overtired and I must admit to being embarrassed my son still needed one at that age. I felt like everyone around me was staring and judging but no one ever passed comment. I think it was all in my head. I never judge a parent doing what works for them and their family but sometimes these thoughts creep into our heads. Either way it was time to ditch the dummy.
But how? How could we get rid of that life saver? How would he settle at night?
We decided that just going cold turkey with the dummy was the only way to do it. We had already been limiting his use of them and everything we read, and we read a lot around the subject, suggested cold turkey was the quickest way to do it. So we decided to take the plunge. Ditch the dummy time had come and we needed to face it head on.
Two days after an operation to extract some of my nasty wisdom teeth, BattleDad and I were in BattleKid’s room for some reason and he said “will we do it” and I agreed. I blame the strong painkillers I was on for my moment of madness. We left the landing window open until BattleKid arrived home and placed a toy motorbike on his bed. When we took him upstairs for bedtime we explained that some birds had gotten in the window and took his soo’s (soothers/dummies) for their babies who didn’t have any. His initial response was “oh dear me”.
We went through our bedtime routine and only then did he really cry for his dummy. We explained again that he was a big boy now and that the bird’s babies need them now as they had none and he had a motorbike for bed instead. He seemed to accept it and we said we would come back up five minutes later and check on him. We didn’t and he fell asleep no problem after a few little cries for his dummy. He woke once during the night, obviously looking for his dummy, but we repeated our words from earlier, ensured he had his bike close by and he settled back asleep.
The next day our Fairy came to live with us and he brought BattleKid a KTM bunny to go with the KTM bike the birds had gotten him in exchange for his dummies. We told him Kyiri (the fairy’s name) would watch over him at night and he insisted his bedroom door be left open so he could see the Fairy door. There were a lot less tears at bedtime on Day Two and none by Day Three.
Naps were as easy too and nursery just carried on where we had started at home. Within a few days there was no mention of the soo at naps or bedtime.
Don’t get me wrong, he occasionally asked for it when he was tired or ill, particularly at bedtime, but we gently reminded him he didn’t need them now as he was older and he soon accepted it. He did give out to birds quite often for a few weeks for taking his dummy.
Ever since the dummy left the house BattleKid has slept with a motorbike in bed every night. He will hold it until he falls asleep and we move it out of the way when we head to bed ourselves. The make and model of the bike changes every now and then but that initial KTM bike was a great substitute for the dummy and made our transition as smooth as it could be.
In some ways I am glad that we waited until we did so we could explain things to BattleKid in ways he understood and in others I wish I’d gotten rid of it sooner. Either way, by the time we travelled to New York last September the dummy had been well and truly ditched. I was particularly glad of this as there are no photographs from that holiday featuring a dummy!
I’d love to know if your children had pacifiers/soothers and if so, at what age did you ditch the dummy?
Thanks for reading,