How and Why We Ditched the Dummy Completely
Back in October, I wrote about how and why we weaned Matilda off her overnight dummy (pacifier). At the time, we had had no luck weaning her off the dummy at naptimes but had decided that this wasn't a battle we needed to have; she would grow out of her naps eventually so it didn't seem like a particularly big deal to let her have a dummy during them.
But she was napping on our bed and that was a big deal.
Ever since Matilda got the hang of crawling - at just over seven months - leaving her alone on the bed had become too risky. She didn't do gradual wake ups any more; she did springing to full attention and immediately launching herself at the nearest interesting thing. It didn't matter if the nearest interesting thing was not on the bed - she has no concept of danger.
With Christmas approaching, it was becoming a bigger risk. Our postman usually arrives during Matilda's morning nap and I couldn't risk running downstairs for parcels while she was crashed out on the bed.
I needed to be able to leave her unsupervised which meant she needed to start napping in her cot. And that meant she had to give up the dummy - we didn't want to confuse matters by giving her a dummy in her cot at naptimes but not at bedtime.
There came a few days in early December when Matilda and I had no plans. I decided it was time to tackle the daytime dummy.
Once again, I took the cold turkey approach. The dummy needed to be gone as soon as possible - there was no time for gradually weaning her off it.
Having been through this once already, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect: three gruesome days of howling and jiggling at naptimes followed by total acceptance of the situation on day four.
And that's exactly how it went.
On the first day, we had thirty minutes of howling (her) and jiggling (me, of her) before her morning nap and twenty minutes before her afternoon one. Bedtime went as it usually did (which, at that point, meant five minutes of her standing up, looking proud of herself, followed by five to ten minutes of her squirming around and muttering "mab mab mab mab mab").
On the second day, we had twenty weepy minutes before her morning nap and a few sniffly minutes before her afternoon one.
On the third day, we had ten minutes of grumbling before her morning nap and then she fell asleep in her buggy in the afternoon.
And then, on day four, she seemed to have forgotten she ever needed a dummy. She would get to sleep at naptimes as quickly (or slowly, depending on my mood at the time) and as easily as at bedtime. Success!
As with most things we procrastinated about (ditching the bedtime dummy and moving her into her own room being the two big ones), as soon as it was done, I wished we'd got round to it earlier. Without the dummy, her naps were longer and more settled and, frankly, it's nice to have one less thing to sterilise/pick cat hairs off of.
So, we were feeling pretty good about the whole thing. Until the eight month sleep regression hit. But more on that another day.
See also: That time Matilda's dummy made me feel all warm and mushy, some of the parenting decisions people get all het up about and five things people don't tell you about life with a newborn.
Hi! I'm a 30-something stay-at-home feminist mother-of-one. I live in Aberdeen, Scotland with my toddler, boyfriend and two black cats.