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GENTLE PARENTING: The Benefits of a Dummy

by Sarah on October 22nd, 2010

I was never that keen on the idea of Lily using a dummy (pacifier). Mostly because my sister’s daughter sucked one until she was three and they really battled to get rid of it. Also, reading books about Attachment Parenting, dummies aren’t spoken of too highly. The whole concept of a baby sucking on a plastic object for comfort doesn’t sit too well with  most attachment parents, nor with the hippie in me.

BUT, Lily has recently taken a dummy and I’m really glad that she has. I’m planning on being strict with when she uses it (in bed and the car only!) so that she doesn’t depend on it permanently. I also don’t want to use it as a tool to numb her out – I’ve seen lots of parents jam the dummy in, instead of getting the the bottom of why their child is upset, and I don’t want to become like this.

Where it does help is in keeping her happy while I’m driving, long distances especially, and putting her to sleep. Actually, I want her to be able to put herself to sleep, without leaving her to cry, and the dummy is proving really useful in that department. After feeding her in the evenings, I pop the dummy in and put her in her cot, and she seems to quite easily suck until she falls alseep. Some nights I need to pick her up again and rock her a little and then put her back in her cot, but I always make sure she’s awake so that she learns that she doesn’t need me.

It’s also really helping in the middle of the night. Generally she only needs one feed a night and so if she wakes up before the usual time I just pop the dummy in and she goes back to sleep. When she won’t take the dummy, I know that she’s hungry.

It also soothes her reflux, sucking back alkali saliva, and so overall, it’s been a total life saver. I’m glad that the hippie in me has gotten over the fact that Lily is sucking on plastic (you can get BPA-free dummies, of course) because overall I think it is working well for both her and I. I guess sometimes you have to put your dogmatic beliefs aside and do whatever it takes to make your baby  happier and more comfortable, and what makes your own life that much easier. In my case, a dummy has definitely achieved this!

From → Gentle Parenting

  • Gauri Ma

    Well done for doing what feels right *despite* your principles or previous ideas. I struggle with this all the time – mind versus heart, theory versus practice.

    We also used a dummy just in the car when she used to cry so much. I don’t use it anymore, but considering an encore for the plane when we go to Europe.