The Dummy Dilemma

This week has seen Little H come out through the other side of Leap 2, and it’s fair to say she is a different baby.

Nap time is now very much a thing. No nap time = grumpy baby! But how do you build nap time into life? One way is to put life on hold and have everything centre around nap time. Another is the opposite and just crack on, running the risk that you’ll end up with a grumpy baby. It’s a tricky balance.

Sunday afternoon was a classic example. Little H did her very best to ruin an otherwise perfectly lovely walk around Elvaston Castle – our local country park. Last week wasn’t much fun for Fern for various reasons and Little H was in desperate need of a nap. So between we thought that an afternoon stroll would tick both boxes. Little H had other ideas, and screamed pretty much the whole way round. As far as we could tell… all she wanted was comfort. Every time we picked her up she would settle, every time you put her back in the pushchair, she was telling us the world was ending! Not even a visit from one of the horses was enough to distract her. Little H would not fall asleep.

So we ran through the usual checklist; Food, Nappy, Wind. None of these were the cause. She just wanted comforting, and so this leads to the debate – and we have been debating seriously all weekend – do we give her a dummy?!

Now, we are neither for or against them. There are pros and cons and we’ve read all the arguments and frankly – we are none the wiser. You have to do what is right for your baby. But how do you work out what that is?

One of my concerns is that by just giving her a dummy, we’ll mask the fact that she is telling us something is wrong. However, when all she wants is comfort, a dummy can provide that. I was given a dummy as a child and I turned out OK (despite what Mrs Heatho would have you think!)… and a dummy is preferable to thumb-sucking in our book.

I think where we’ve landed is that there are times where a dummy will be useful. Our upcoming trip to Cornwall for example. 5+ hours in the car will inevitably see Little H screaming away over something inconveniently far from a suitable place to pull over and stop. There is only so much you can listen to your child scream – it has to be the most intolerable thing I’ve ever heard. So maybe to get us to the next junction, or next service station..?

I’ve always said to Mrs Heatho that if she just can’t take any more and I come home to Little H with a dummy in her mouth, I’m not going to criticise her. She needs to do what makes parenting bearable. However, I think we’re both keen that the dummy doesn’t become the way to quieten our child. If Little H is upset, something is wrong, and we should try to solve that for her.

Time will tell whether “sparing” use becomes daily. It will also tell whether or not taking the dummy off Little H is easy or hard. The only guarantee is that it will be easier to take off her than her thumb… we would be in trouble for that!

Little H has developed quite a lot through this leap… she is now grabbing hold of a rattle when I change her nappy to develop her motor skills. Object permanence isn’t a thing for her yet, so she has no idea it’s there unless she is holding it… but she has such a strong little grip! She also very much enjoys her play at and her black and white book by Tana Hoban – which seems to keep her entertained for decent periods of time while Fern supervises (supervised by an adult of course!)! We just have to be careful she doesn’t get tired enough to be a grumpy-pants! 😂

Little H is becoming more and more a real person by the day. What I mean by that is that she is interacting more, smiling more… she is even having conversations! Unintelligible ones but conversations nonetheless. I’ve mentioned before I’m a very self-conscious individual, so having a meaningless conversation with a person that doesn’t actually talk back I am finding hard. It doesn’t come naturally to me… even with my own daughter… but every time she sees me come home from work her eyes follow me around the room, and every time we do have a chat she smiles and wiggles and interacts… so I must be doing something right!


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