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Dummies and other dependencies

I hate dummies. But I don’t judge other mums for using them. Well except for the mum of the 5 year old child walking to school this morning with one in his mouth. Her I judged 🙁

The latest thinking on dummies is that they are an aid in the prevention of cot death. It can however interfere with the development of the muscles necessary for eating and speech.

The choice is yours after weighing up the pros and cons in tandem with consideration of your personal circumstances. A bit of peace and quiet is VERY tempting but be prepared for the battle to get rid of it when the time comes. I’d argue that dummies are easier to give up than thumb sucking: you can’t get rid of a thumb!!!

Matthew sucked his thumb rather than a dummy and had an obsessive dependency on his comforter. Here is a picture of his loved version versus the bright lovely thing it once was:



(No promotion intended: he wanted the freebie from a baby club, not one of the ones we bought, typical!)

I started off with good intentions, it was only to be used at night to help him sleep. When I became pregnant with Anya I got desperate and allowed him to have it whenever he wanted it, including taking it to preschool. THIS WAS NOT GOOD! It led to tantrums when he couldn’t have it or if we forgot it. There would be a meltdown if another child went near it. The comforter became more and more bedraggled so it was in danger of disintegrating completely. Here is he aged 2 1/2:

We then created the rule that it was not allowed outside the bedroom. This led to Matthew spending a lot of time in his room and we hardly saw him 🙁 Matthew’s thumb sucking had also become almost constant and I was desperate to stop this so that he wouldn’t be mocked at school for being a baby.

It was a very hard time but looking back I’m so glad we all coped.

My parents had frequently bribed me with cash incentives to stop sucking my thumb when I was a child but it never worked until i made the decision for myself aged 13 (!) Matthew was nowhere near as bad and I am very proud of him for stopping with so little fuss.

Anya and Zach don’t suck their thumbs and have never used a comforter despite my efforts in the early days to try to reduce their attachment to me. Both of them fall asleep on their own and Anya is quite resilient as she awaits starting school in September in a way that Matthew never was. Zach is a very happy baby and I am pleased with the decisions I have made.

I have learned that children need clear boundaries and rules but I found out the hard way. Good luck to any new mums facing the dilemma of dummies, comforters, music boxes and anything else which offers brief moments of sanity in the extraordinary world of parenting!


  1. We only have ever used a dummie at night and long journeys in the car. She still has it at night. We need to get rid of it now! It’s not going to be fun I don’t think! Thumb sucking is a hard one to stop, your thumbs always there!

  2. Nige

    Our twins still have dummies at night time hopefully they will get rid one day super post Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

  3. My girls will be five next month and still have a dummy to go to bed. Yes, I want rid of it, ,but they’ll do it when they’re ready. I can’t imagine them still sucking on it at 16! Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

  4. Funnily enough I couldn’t get any of my kids to take to a dummy and trust me I tried with triplets! I did have one who clung to a soft lamb toy till the nasty boys in the park laughed at him, he was only 7 but looked older. #marvmondays

  5. Poppy has a dummy whereas my eldest was a thumb sucker. I worried it would be hard to wean her off her thumb- dummies can be binned but not thumbs! Luckily she stopped really easily as it went hand in hand with her cuddly rabbit which she gave up at the same time. Poppy only has her dummy when she’s going to bed or tired and unsettled. If she’s playing nicely then we take it away. I can’t stand seeing kids constantly plugged!! Thanks for joining #marvmondays xx

  6. You make some good points here. My daughter needed a dummy to settle at a young age otherwise she wouldn’t calm down. The difference it made almost immediately was shocking – and it wasn’t that she was being silenced. I think having something to suck soothed her and she’d then just get lost looking at the world around her. When she reached about 7 months I stopped giving it to her unless she was napping or sleeping. I was worried about her not learning to speak and felt the was the best compromise. I was always worried about weaning her off it and every time I planned to, it never felt right. Then at 19 months she kept chewing the plastic and making holes. It became a hazard so she had to go cold turkey. She moved on quickly. She’s very dependent on her lamby toy for sleeping though (we actually have 4!) and now she chews them more. They need washing very regularly! Ultimately I think kids will become dependent on something so it’s trying to encourage the most manageable and least harmful attachment!! #MarvMondays

  7. Zoe

    We had a dummy for our eldest, and last Christmas he gave all his dummies to Father Christmas. It worked for us (he was 2.5 at the time) we sporadically use a dummy for our youngest (soon to turn 1) mostly for car journeys or if I’m out of the house. Our daughter definitely isn’t as dependent as her brother was on dummies thank goodness. I remember the stress of forgetting one. It’s awful!

    Neither child has a “conforter” so to speak. But they do both have teddies (one teddy each) that are always with them when they sleep (but only when the sleep) I think the balance between sanity and not offering a dummy/comforter is a very fine line!

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