Ditching the dummy (epic fail)

[Other possible titles for this blog included ‘Feeling like the worlds worst mother’, ‘Epic parenting fail’, ‘breaking the baby’ and ‘Has anyone seen my sanity?’]

So Dangermouse, she, like a gerzillion other babies, has a dummy. I have to be entirely honest, I’m not a fan of seeing peachy little cherub faces with a coloured chunk of plastic in. I don’t want to be judgmental about it, I don’t want to cause a tidal wave of debate, I’m just being wholeheartedly open on the matter.

However much I may not like seeing a baby with a dummy in its mouth, particularly my baby, I equally didn’t relish being sucked on 24-7, nor hearing a screaming baby all evening, after a full on day coping with two.

Tigs had a dummy for a little while, at night to settle her to sleep. But she became a thumb sucker at around 8 weeks old, and once she found her new comfort, she never looked twice at the dummy again. It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly really, as she stopped sucking her thumb on her own at 20 months.

The day I decided Baby-G was having a dummy, was the day I nipped to Bluewater to grab some essential shopping (no shopping is non essential with a tiny baby), and visited 5 different feeding rooms in one hour, then went home empty handed in tears. She just would not settle unless on the boob. It was breaking me. The dummy was quite life changing, and our evenings went from 4 hours of screaming / feeding / vomiting cycles to a peaceful haven. We didn’t look back.

Fast forward 12 months…

This time last week, we had a particularly bad night doing the ‘dummy run’ approximately 137 times in one night. It broke me, and in a stand of desperation, I convinced Mr G that this was the time to go cold turkey on the damn thing. She’s been waking often at night and seemed to be getting slowly worse and worse – I was convinced this sleep prop was doing more harm than good, and we assured ourselves things couldn’t possibly get any worse. It was worth a shot.

So, night 1, we tucked dangermouse up in bed after her milk, gave her her favourite snuggle bunny, said goodnight and left the room. She normally loves going to bed, but as expected she kicked up a fuss. We explained to her sister she was learning to go to sleep without her ‘numnums’ so she might cry a bit tonight, but to (please) stay in bed if she wakes you up (she did by the way, Angel!).

Unbelievably, she cried for 20 minutes then fell asleep, until 1 a.m. We popped back in the room, gave her the raggy bunny back and she went straight back off, until 4.30 a.m. It’s probably key to the story to explain this was clocks going back night. Not our brightest idea…Potentially she may have gone back off with her dummy, but we took the night as a roaring success and decided we would take the early start as a win. Best night sleep we had had in ages (seriously, things had been bad!).

Continuing the cold turkey through the day wasn’t too bad…naptime she cried for 5 minutes, and we smugly thought we had cracked it. Should have done this months ago I thought to myself.

Night two didn’t go quite so well. She didn’t settle well going to bed, and we were frantically googling how to deal with the situation. Controlled crying? Three day nanny styling it out? Go in and give her a god damn cuddle? We were a bit all over the place and in all honesty, did a bit of everything.

The night was pretty horrendous. She woke throughout the night, each time getting more worked up, and at one point screamed her head off for nearly an hour. Remembering the previous night we felt we had to persevere, and she eventually crashed out, before waking up, very miserable again at 4.30. “It’s really 5.30” we reassured ourselves.

As Mr G was at work, I struggled to get our usually amazing napper to snooze for more than 10 minutes during the day. She was clingy, teary, and not herself. We got through another bad, bad night and in all honesty I was seriously starting to question if we had done the right thing. I felt that dread of the night ahead creeping in as dusk settled, knowing it wasn’t going to be a good one. And – guess what? It really wasn’t. We were all exhausted and patience with each other was wearing thin. Mr G had a full on week at work, and was struggling to concentrate so I urged him to kip on the sofa, wearing the trusty old ear defenders which we bought as a joke fathers day present, as a result of Tigs ongoing night cough. We attempted a controlled crying approach, but couldn’t resist going in to try and calm her down – which set off a fresh set of screams and inability to settle.

The girls and I limped through a third day, but I started to wonder if little one was teething – she really was struggling massively. I tried her with some Calpol, and we persevered. She also had a slight temperature and was just not herself.

When Mr G got home that night, we had the talk. We admitted defeat, and agreed that she wasn’t dealing with this – we all needed some rest – with her at the top of the list. She’d been suffering with a cold, as so many kids do this time of year, but as the days had gone on it seemed to have got worse. Was that husky cry a sore throat? Or a result of all the screaming? Feeling partly relieved and partly disappointed, we popped that little bit of plastic in her mouth, and our world seemed to regain some calm normality once more.

Expecting a ‘peaceful’ night of soothing her with a dummy pop-in, we were surprised to find she was still standing, screaming in her cot – throwing the dummy back at us in a state of protest.

As I intervened the screams that night, cuddling my little one, something kicked me in the stomach with a thud. I believe it’s called mothers instinct. This wasn’t a cry of wanting a dummy, this was a cry of needing comfort. She seemed in pain, and settled as soon as she was in my arms. I vowed that whatever the morning brought I’d get her checked out at the doctors the next day.

It seems trusting in instinct was right – she had a chest infection and was prescribed antibiotics. Plus, we later spotted the white of her two front teeth cutting through. Probably why she was waking up so many times this time last week…

Yep, feeling pretty much like the worlds worst mother this week. I got it wrong. (Sorry, we got it wrong).

But, we tried to do the right thing, didn’t we?

Either way, we certainly paid for it. But poor little Dangermouse, she must have had a traumatic week. We also seem to have gone 180 degrees on our initial objective, as now she’s been so sad she has had that dummy in her mouth constantly, soothing her whilst she’s not well.

We will try again to ditch the dummy. But next time we’ll be 100% sure that she is 100% up to it.

We will sleep again, one day. Won’t we?


Have you managed to wean your childs dummy successfully? When and how did you do it? Please tell me! 




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17 thoughts on “Ditching the dummy (epic fail)

  1. The Speed Bump Reply

    We haven’t bothered trying yet, SB is 18 months. Whenever we’ve tried her without it, she sucks her thumb instead – and the way I see it, you can take a dummy away but you can’t take a thumb away! We’re just going to wait until she’s ready. Try not to feel too bad – you’re definitely not alone in the dummy club!

    1. MMT Reply

      Thank you! I mostly feel bad that we put her through a load of anguish for nothing! I’m sure we will get there one day lol. Thanks for coming by x

  2. Kayla Reply

    I got so many lectures from my in-laws about letting my daughter go until she was two-ish years old (possibly a little later?). She was super attached to it and I made many attempts to “cut back” on her time with it so that we could wean her off of it gently. I also tried the cold turkey method and that just made things worse. When she did get off of it, it was when there the tip of the pacifier had a cut in it and she realized that she was going to be trading a broken pacifier for a fun new toy. She asked for it maybe two nights in a row, but the tears weren’t there thankfully! Maybe someday that could be an attempt for you? It’s a tough process, and I understand the frustration! (Not to mention the lack of sleep.) Hope the little one starts to feel better as well! It doesn’t sound like it was the best week for you. #abitofeverything

  3. Ellie @ Hand Me Down Baby Reply

    Oh poor you and poor her!
    Our Little Miss A never took a dummy and she started and then stopped thumb-sucking of her own accord, so it’s not something we ever had to worry about. Master J seemed keen on one initially, and we used it because of his silent reflux, but he also seems to prefer his thumb these days.

    You can’t beat yourself up about it though – you live and learn with this parenting m’larky, and you do the best you can. Plus, the Beckhams still give Harper a dummy when she’s not feeling well, so you’re in good company 😀

  4. Vix at anothermuminlondon Reply

    Oh don’t feel too bad. You are just doing your very best and this time it didn’t work., But next time when she is well then you can try again and hopefully the result will be much better.
    I hope she is feeling better now she has antibiotics?
    Oh and btw – love Bluewater!! I’m only 20 mins away from that place!
    Vix x

  5. Robyn Reply

    Our little one year old still has a dummy for all his sleeps and I’m not too bothered about dissuading him. We’re still working towards sleeping through the night and then (if that ever happens) we’ll work on removing the dummy!

    We had a similar experience last week when a health advisor told me baby shouldn’t need any attention from us in the night anymore and we would be doing him a favour by intervening as little as possible. We didn’t really have a plan except to ‘intervene as little as possible’and it was a disaster. The poor guy was inconsolable and after about an hour of trying various strategies including staying away for small chunks of time, I relented and gave him a feed which he seemed to need because it was a big one.

    Agree with you that mother knows best, but sometimes we let what we think we should be doing cloud our judgement and there’s no end to the guilt we feel about it. #abitofeverything

  6. newmummyblogcom Reply

    Oh what a couple of weeks! It sounds like the exact same thing we’ve done numerous times (not with a dummy though), about sleeping, trying this theory and that…. But really at this age they go through so many different things, it’s so hard to get it right. X #bestandworst

  7. This Mum's Life Reply

    Aaah, my 2 call it a numnums too!! Of course, you know how much I’m with you on all of this! We’ve managed to stop it in the day for Deep Thinker, but both still having it at night. I can feel your frustration through this post, and I hope you’re not beating yourself up about not realising immediately that the little one was ill, I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve uttered ‘he’ll be fine, it’s nothing,’ only to rock up at the Drs the next day and it’s been something requiring actual medical opinion…!! Perseverance and wine are the key. Parents of Dummy Addicts Unite!

  8. Unhinged Mummy (aka Janine Woods) Reply

    This post caught my eye on ‘bestandworst’ because my daughter is 22 months old and loves her dummy. I gave her one at six weeks old for the same reasons as you and although she wasn’t that pleased about it at first (preferred boo ) she now absolutely loves it. Hers is attached to a comforter and she finds it herself in the night. Have you heard of sleepy tots? They are on ebay for about £10 and they are little comforters that have velcro paws to attach a dummy. Could be the way to go for now. I plan on waiting until my daughter has a wider range of understanding and I will get her to put it in the bin herself (or give to the dummy fairy for the new babies) or in exchange with the Easter bunny for something else. You get the idea 🙂 it’s hard but try not to stress too much. I mean you very rarely see kids coming out of school with them. She will give it up when she’s ready 🙂

  9. natasham Reply

    That sounds tough. I weaned my son off his dummy when he was 3 yrs old. He only really used it to fall asleep. I wish I’d done it sooner, he started sleeping so much better. A friend of mine cut her sons dummy in half and gave it to him. It took a couple of nights but he was fine without it when he realised they’d all been cut. I hope it’s easier the next time. Here’s my story, maybe it’ll help xx #alittlebitabouteverything http://mamaduckquacks.com/2015/07/15/how-do-you-get-rid-of-a-pacifierdummy/

  10. Nige Reply

    We have stopped dummy’s in the day and it works I think it’s not easy though great post #bestandworst

  11. Sarah Howe (@RunJumpScrap) Reply

    aww bless you! You just don’t know sometimes and that mother’s instinct kicked in didn’t it? Don’t worry too much. This happened to a friend of mine and her daughter had ears infections in both ears! Awful 🙂 You just wish they could talk sometimes eh?Good luck with the dummy next time you try and thanks for sharing with #bestandworst xx

  12. The Anxious Dragon Reply

    Hi, we did a gradual removal of the dummy. First during the daytime when they were awake. It took a bit of effort, but the whole ‘your a big boy now, shall we go and do XY or Z’ thing worked well. Then we tried to cut out the daytime nap dummy, again working on the big boys dont have daytime dummies thing.
    We left the nightime one for quite a while, rhey were over 3 before they gave them up. Our trick then was to get them to give up their dummy for father christmas, on christmas eve as father christmas knew he was toonold for dummies now, and as a reward fsther christmas left him a special giving up the dummy present.
    They never asked for it again after that ceremonial giving it up. Thanks for linking up, Tracey #abitofeverything

  13. agentspitback Reply

    Oh, I feel for you. Can’t help you as I was the “dummy”! But I know what’s it like because the stress of weaning the kids off me was horrendous especially as I was the WAHM mum, so I had to both cuddle and say NO at the same time. Husband needed to sleep to work the next day.You’re doing best and that’s what matters.

    1. MMT Reply

      Thank you El… It’s not easy to guess what the right thing to do is! Even Google doesn’t have all the answers…. X MMT

  14. Fi Reply

    Oh god poor you this sounds awful! Lack of sleep is so torturous isn’t it? Try not to stress too much about the dummy, it’s not as though you’re plugging her mouth shut 24/7 and honestly I’ve never seen a grown woman with a dummy. They give them up when they’re ready. My son chewed a hole in his about 22 months old and threw it away himself so you never know how it will happen. Hope she’s feeling better soon x

  15. Natasha Kipling Reply

    My gosh did I need to read this! Just had to ‘cave’ after 10 days of going no dummy! Fighting all of his naps literally fights, slapping my face, pulling my hair, wriggling all over. After reflecting on the stress, his horrendous naps (sleeps okay at night waking at 5:30 rather than 7am mind) he had a cold, I have a cold a family funeral just made me cave and I thought if he is u seltzer this nap he is having it back. 20seconds later all peace has been restored. I will try again when he seems ready x

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