Parenting

disgust over dummies panic at pacifiers dummies and pacifiers

 

Dummies and Pacifiers

To my American friends. I use the English word ‘Dummy’ but am talking about Pacifiers!
What on earth is going on? Harper Beckham is spotted with a dummy again, at 4yrs old and the whole world has an opinion. Well, as most of the world has waded in, it would only be natural for me to join the fun.
I was one of those. Dummy snobs. Middle class children didn’t have dummies and if they did, they certainly didn’t have them in public. That was me, the nanny and maternity nanny, adopting the snobbery of some of my employers.
MY child wasn’t going to have a dummy. MY child would be taught to self soothe. MY child wouldn’t need one.
Then I had MY child. My gorgeous little boy that cluster fed for up to 7hrs on an evening. My gorgeous little baby that was not happy to be put down, that cried when laid down and always needed to suck.
I had a dummy in the house as it came with the microwave steamer as part of a set. One night, after hours of breastfeeding, of pain and wincing and curling of toes and tears from us both, at 2am I boiled that little sucker. I put it in his mouth He spat it out. I put it back in. Repeatedly. He spat it out. Repeatedly. The next day, I bought a different brand. He loved it. Although he could still not be laid flat, he would let me put him down. He gave my sore body a rest.

disgust over dummies panic at pacifiers dummies and pacifiers
My little baby is now 3.5yrs old and he still uses a dummy. Do I care? No I do not. The rule is no dummies outside of the house and only when resting or in bed. No walking around with a dummy in his mouth and absolutely no talking with it in his mouth. I know how bad they can be for speech – not allowing the lips to close and the tongue to move into the correct position to form certain letters.
So why haven’t we had a ‘give the dummies to babies that need them’ ceremony or thrown them away in return for a big boy gift, or as some would, just taken them away and told him that’s that?
Well, it turns out that my baby was born with a condition that means he has severe silent reflux which is agony. That’s why he wouldn’t lie flat – the acid came up and burnt his tiny throat. That’s why he wanted to feed and suck constantly – to have a flow of milk or saliva to try and soothe the pain. I knew he had it the day he was born (only because I’ve looked after a few babies with silent reflux) but it took about 3 or 4 weeks to get him diagnosed and then a little longer to get the correct treatment.

 

Even then, guess what? My poor little boy has quite a few Ear Nose and Throat issues. By the age of 2yrs old, he had completed more than 22 courses of antibiotics for almost constant ear infections and tonsillitis. He needed to suck to help him with that pain. His throat or his ears were always hurting. A week after his second birthday, he had gromits put into each ear, his tonsils and adenoids taken out and his voice box cut to widen it. He needed his dummy to help him get through the incredible pain of the operation and the emotional upheaval.

disgust over dummies panic over pacifiers dummies and pacifiers
Why did they cut his voice box? That would be to try and do something about the chronic croup that he suffered and still suffers from often. He spent the first couple of years sleeping in my arms to either stop acid reflux, to try and improve the terrifying croup that he has needed steroids for or to deal with the constant cough that he had due to all of his ENT issues. He takes medicine daily for that and a prescribed nasal spray every morning. On top of the reflux meds that he still takes twice daily.

disgust over dummies panic at pacifiers dummies and pacifiers The above photo? Oh, that was when he got Measles. Despite the MMR. Nice.

So. He’s now a ‘big’ boy. Occasionally, when his croup or cough are so bad that he can hardly breathe, let alone speak without ending up in a massive coughing spasm that lasts 3 or 4 minutes at a time and can see him vomit, he does go out with a dummy. Without it, I find myself panicking enough to want to take him to be checked over. Goodness knows how he feels. It’s a rare occasion but I imagine that people will look at him and judge both of us. They probably think that I’m lazy and that my son is a babyish brat that won’t let it go.

disgust over dummies panc at pacifiers dummies and pacifiers

This was an awful rash that saw him admitted to hospital for tests due to his symptoms and because no one could diagnose him.

I truly do not care what anyone thinks and I invite anyone to have a go at me for allowing my son to still have a dummy. I have considered and broached the subject of letting his dummy’s go but he has just started sleeping at his Daddy and girlfriends house. That is massive for a young child. Why on earth would I take the one thing that comforts and calms him and helps him get into the sleepy zone during a transition like that? My little boy has been through so much in his short life. A trip in an ambulance, four admissions and countless midnight trips for antibiotics. He’s seen me be taken away in an ambulance twice and has had to cope with me being admitted for up to a week on two occasions. I truly believe that his dummy helped him to cope with all that and keep his as calm as possible.

disgust over dummies panic at pacifiers dummies and pacifiers

Even the puppy is obsessed.

Then Harper Beckham. I saw on Instagram the David Beckham said something about how you do whatever you need to do when a child is unwell or has a fever which I imagine she had. However despite this, she is a 4yr old girl who gets shouted at wherever she goes. Every time she is in public she will have hordes of men with big black camera’s and flashes, walking in front of her, shouting her parents and sibling’s names, maybe even hers and chasing them. Whether it’s all she’s known or not, that has to be terrifying. I would do anything to help my child feel as safe as possible and help them deal with a situation like that and I applaud the Beckham’s for not giving a stuff about public opinion and putting their daughter first.
I or my son will decide when he gives up his dummy. If that’s soon or not, I frankly don’t care. I know children that have had dummies and have no issues with their teeth as teenagers and children that never had a dummy or sucked their fingers, need braces.
My son has many credible reasons why he still needs his dummy and why he is so attached to it. Maybe the children on the street that you see, do too. Maybe their family has just broken up or they’ve moved house, or they are in pain or suffer from anxiety. Unless a dummy or pacifier is used constantly to shut a child up or it is causing a speech delay, maybe we should just let people be. Maybe we could mind our own business and support each other as parents doing our best.
Love

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Mummascribbles

23 Comments

  1. Once I figured out that you were talking about a pacifier (we don’t call it a “dummy” in the US), I really liked your article.

    I appreciate your honesty and your situation.

    And, as a mom whose kids are now in college – I say you do what you and your family think is best for that precious little boy!! It sounds like he has been through a great deal of stuff! If he needs a dummy, who cares! Just take care of him and let those mean people mind their own business!

    (My daughter, who is 20, kept a blankie until she was 12!!)

    I will pray for him and for you today.
    Came over on Twinkly Tuesday.
    Blessings,
    Melanie

    • Hannah Atkinson

      What a wonderfully kind and thoughtful comment Melanie, thank you so much, I really appreciate your words x

  2. What a great blog post Hun. Lamb is 28 months and still has a dummy. He’s had it from day one for similar reasons. He had quite bad colic and hated being on his back. He fed every 2 hours and was really clingy. A dummy relaxed him so we could put him down to sleep and not hold him. I was also advised its a preventative of cot death as it stimulates them and keeps them breathing. Well, if there’s any reason to give a baby a dummy, there’s one! I really don’t care about anyone else and they shouldn’t care about me. It’s my child, my decisions. He’s coming to no harm so I will continue to let him have it until he grows out of it. I’ll encourage not having it but I won’t go cold turkey with him. As for the Harper, there could be a million reasons why she has a dummy, people are way too quick to judge! Alex x p.s your little man is a super hero 🙂 xxx

    • Hannah Atkinson

      Oh Alex, thank you so much for saying that little man is a super hero. That’s made me tear up! He is amazing and has been through so much. I’m sorry Lamb had Colic, it’s horrific. Yes, you’re right, i had completely forgotten that they think dummies can help prevent cot death! Another reason why I gave little man his. xxx

  3. I believe that parents do the best for they kids. And nobody should judge for whatever parents decide to do. We have no idea what’s behind the need for a 4 year old to use dummy. Ease any pain, plain comfort. It’s alright. It’s nobody’s business really. We should be less judgemental. That said, your post was great! Loved to read it. And I am sorry to hear your little one had to deal with so much….! And if the dummy helped him, good! It’s precisely for that reason that we have those around!
    #TwinklyTuesday

  4. This is a really great post. Our first two little ones didn’t have much interest in dummies (we call them soothers here) but our littlest one is hooked. She’ll be two in September and shows no signs of wanting to give it up. Your son is such a trooper. Whatever it takes to make him happy, I say go for it at this age.

    • Hannah Atkinson

      Thank you Rob, I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. Hooked is a good word as those that love them, really do love them and can’t get enough! If I let him, mine would have one all day!

  5. A huge high five to you for this post lovely! Your boy has had such a hard time bless him. I got rather emotional reading it all. I admire your for sharing your thought on the Harper dummy situation, I can’t believe they make news over that kind of thing it’s nobody’s business of she has a dummy. It angers me people should concentrate on their own lives, pets and children and leave other people to it. Good on you though your boy is fine with his dummy if that’s what makes his time easier and more comfortable xx

    • Hannah Atkinson

      Thank you Lorraine, that is really kind of you to say. Sorry to make you feel emotional. I think I’ve got hardened to it all but he still manages to scare me in the middle of the night with his breathing and cough when he’s poorly x

  6. Great post! I feel really sorry for the Beckhams at the moment and your comments regarding the paparazzi etc really made me think. I hope your little boys ENT problems improve.

    • Hannah Atkinson

      Thank you Morna. I think they are improving already! I hope I’ve not jinxed it now!

  7. It’s SO boring isn’t it? If it’s not breastfeeding, it’s co-sleeping — and now it’s dummies?!! Honestly — people are never happy unless they’re slamming someone else!! Live and let live I say. It has nothing to do with anyone else. Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday — hope to see you again next week! x

    Caro | http://www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk

  8. My little brother used a pacifier for years when he was little. He was a pretty sickly child so I think he needed the soothing from it. Once he was ready, he just spat it out and never looked back.

    • Hannah Atkinson

      I hope your brother’s health has improved as he has grown and I hope my son is the same and just decides one day – it’ll make my life easier!

  9. Personally, I hate dummies. I dislike seeing children with them, especially once they’re toddlers not babies, and especially when walking round outside.

    But, the first night back from hospital with N, he cried for ages at night and we couldn’t think of what to do to get him to sleep. I dug out the dummy that was in the hamper work had given me and tried it. Of course he refused it, and it turned out that he just wanted an extra blanket, so the next night it was fine. But if I’d had a breast fed baby who constantly sucked, then yes I’d have tried to get a dummy to soothe him/her.

    Instead, N found his thumb. This is more annoying than a dummy in some ways, because you can’t remove a thumb. He also had a comforter introduced in readiness for starting nursery at 11 months old. So for him he had his dummy equivalent. Thankfully the thumb sucking is virtually gone, but he still likes his (manky) taggy blanket comforter I made him, although he only has it in bed and when tired in front of the tv.

    If he’d had a dummy, I’d definitely have tried to wean him off it at around the same time as bottles, and transferred the comfort to something else. I don’t know if it would have worked, but for me there’s a cut off point. I’d rather my child had a different type of comforter like a teddy than a dummy once they’re older.

    But while I dislike it, those other children aren’t mine. It’s not my decision to make or my right to judge them. The parents and children make the choice on what’s best for them.

    (oh, and I never had a dummy, but I sucked fingers for quite a few years, and then changed to biting my nails which I still do. Horrendous habit and much harder to stop than removing a dummy when it’s no longer needed!)

    • Hannah Atkinson

      I totally see your view point. I used to suck my middle two fingers and it took me years to stop. I wanted little man to have some other type of comfort and tried everything from stuffed toys to taggies and even just plain old muslins. I stook them all down my top for a day to try and make them smell like me etc but he wasn’t having any of it! He’s still not that bothered and rarely has a teddy in bed. For him though, he needed the sucking so nothing would have worked

  10. U had a dummy until I was 5. I used it everywhere. My speech is fine, my teeth are fine, though I had braces but so do many. I don’t get the issue. If it shuts the kid up, what’s it matter if they have a dummy? Some parents are snobs and this baffles me. So what you’d rather a screaming child than a calm one? Well good for you. Here’s your certificate. But it won’t do any good if you have sleepless nights and hellish days because of it. That’s just my view and I’m sure I’m not alone. The modern world of parenting has really gone over P.C in terms of dos and don’t.

  11. I’ve been there, twice! Wish I could have done it without the criticism though!

  12. I don’t see why people feel the need to judge, my girls are 4 and 2 and they are completely addicted to their dummies, do I care? No (well even if I did I wouldn’t be able to wrestle the dummies from their mouths.) I think that judgment is a complete waste of time in our short lives and we should just mind our own business. Will my kids still have their dummies at 18? No (well I hope not at least.) It is your desition to let you child use a dummy, and no one can tell you otherwise.

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