How and Why We Ditched the Overnight Dummy

Matilda sleeping in parents' bed

(Don't worry, Baby Sleep Police, this is not how Matilda sleeps at night and she only naps here when I'm right beside her)

(Jeez, I'm defending my parenting techniques to hypothetical people now)

(Not that I care what they think but my comments section has always been a happy, supportive place)

(I'm getting a little too keen on this thinking "aloud" in blog posts thing, aren't I?)

(Why does Chrome think "blog" is a spelling mistake?! You'd think The Internet would know this stuff)

(Stop getting sidetracked, Sarah. Get to the point)


A couple of weeks ago we ditched Matilda's overnight dummy.

We hadn't planned to do it right then. We had planned to talk about it and google it and agonise about it for... oh... potentially months first and then to ditch the dummy.

But we knew we wanted to.

The dummy had been a great help when she was tiny and struggling with wind but it was rapidly becoming the bane of our lives. Matilda had figured out that popping her dummy out repeatedly would keep her awake and prolong her bedtime; it was a battle Steve and I were both tired of having. I was also exhausted from getting up multiple times a night to pop it back in and I didn't like the urgency with which she needed it - surely she should be capable of staying asleep without it by now?

So ditching it had been mentioned.

I had looked into it enough to know that we had three options: go cold turkey; gradually chop bits off the dummy until she became too frustrated to use it; wait until she was three years old and could understand concepts like "the dummy fairy" and "children less fortunate than you whose parents can't even afford a dummy" and "no".

That last one wasn't an option. I couldn't do two and a half more years of overnight dummy runs.

Still, we were procrastinating.

Until the night she spent two hours popping her dummy out to keep herself awake. TWO FLIPPING HOURS, PEOPLE. ENOUGH.

I took that dummy away and I bounced her and she howled in my arms about what a horrible person I was and how she would never forgive me and twenty (awful) minutes later she fell asleep.

"Is this it?" I asked Steve, after creeping back through to the living room. "Do we do this now?"

We weren't sure.

But that night went so well. She woke up forty minutes later, as usual, but went back to sleep dummyfree within a few minutes.

She woke up at 11pm, as usual, but went back to sleep dummyfree the moment I touched her hand.

She slept until 5:30am, had a feed, and nodded off happily until 8am.

Six and a half hours without needing any attention whatsoever? Absolutely unheard of.

There was no going back on that.

The next night, she cried on and off in my arms for fifteen minutes, but only had two brief wake ups all night.

The third night, she was asleep within five minutes.

Unfortunately, that was the night she came down with the cold and her overnight sleep fell apart for about a week. Still, we were relieved that we had ditched the dummy before her cold hit - she was struggling to breathe as it was, without adding a big, bulky dummy into the mix!

Now that she's better, she seems to have forgotten she ever had a dummy at bedtime. We're still working on getting her to settle independently but she isn't crying for a sleep prop and that's enormous progress. She's also (currently) only waking once or twice overnight despite having cut her first tooth last weekend and that is wonderful!

We haven't ditched the dummy completely, though - she's still using it for naps because she doesn't have a pre-nap routine; I basically spot that she's tired, pick her up and expect her to switch off and go to sleep immediately. She can't do that without a bit of help. But we're okay with that - naps are something she'll grow out of!

In the meantime, I'm enjoying feeling more or less refreshed.

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