When I carried my children I never intended for either of them to have a dummy. Mia never had one, she was a calm and content baby apart from a touch of colic at three months. Theo on the other hand has had a dummy since day 2, he is now three years and eight months old and yes, he still has a dummy.
You see, Theo was a very different baby to Mia. His undiagnosed allergies and painful eczema meant he screamed and screamed, morning noon and night, for months on end. He wasn’t a content baby, nor was he calm. I didn’t want my babies to have dummies stuck in their mouths, but the second I gave in and let him have one it was a welcome relief.
His dummy is his comfort, his safety net. His dummy is a constant. Throughout the hospital admissions, the painful eczema flares, the belly aches, his dummy has pacified him. His dummy has stopped the tears when nothing and no one else could.
So why would I take that away just because he’s ‘too old’ for it?
Of course I worry about his teeth, but his speech is unaffected. He usually only has it in the evenings and for bed these days but on bad days he will have it throughout the day. He takes it out to talk and hands it over without a fuss. I’m not ashamed that he still has a dummy, I don’t hide it.
Just like potty training, I am not going to push him into something he is not ready for. He potty trained himself when he was good and ready and I am sure he will do the same with his dummy. But sometimes, just sometimes, when I’ve heard ‘when are you going to get rid of it’ or ‘your too old for that’ over and over again I do wonder whether my relaxed approach to milestones makes me a sub standard parent.
The wonder doesn’t last long though – you see that teddy bear your child has carried around for years on end? To him, that’s his dummy. The blanket your child cuddle’s in her sleep… that’s his dummy. Would you push your child to give up a teddy or a comfort blanket in a hurry? No. He won’t still have it at school, it is not detrimental to his health or development, so why shouldn’t he have it if he still needs it? I’m that mum, and I don’t care.
As parent’s, we do what we need to do for our children to be calm and happy. Laura Costello from Mama, Eden And Me agrees saying ‘Do what you need is my opinion. Every child is different. My daughter never had a dummy, but that’s only because she wouldn’t!’
Lauren from Dilan & Me takes a similar stance to me. She says – ‘It’s no big deal. I had a dummy until I was 5 and I’m fine, no braces or anything. Dilan was 3 in November and still has his. It’s a comfort to him just like maybe a teddy or a blanket is to another child so I’m not about to take it away. We are baby led in every regard and I have faith than when he’s ready to move on from it, he will.’
Theo finally gave up his dummy in November 2017. As predicted, he did it when he was ready and the whole process was entirely led by him. We gave his dummies to the dummy fairy and in return he got a new cuddly toy and racing car.
Recently I talked about giving up dummies over on our YouTube channel – see the video below, I really hope it helps!