The Dreaded Dummy

You can hear the silence in the air, after all of the shaking and the crying and repetitive blah from the TV. You can finally hear the silence in the air. You can feel the loving embrace from your partner, and you let yourself relax in his arms. Your eyes droop and together, you succumb to the exhaustion that you feel. That you have felt all day. That you feel everyday. And then you hear it. The sound that sends shivers down your spine, that makes your blood run cold. It’s the smallest sound but has the biggest impact, and all you can do is wait. Wait for the inevitable screams of despair. You all know what sound I mean. The sound you instinctively know to dread. It’s the dummy falling from her mouth, crashing against her mattress…

Now I know there's so many people out there that don't agree with dummies. Each to their own is all I can say. When I imagine a baby, I imagine a big pacifier sticking out their mouth bouncing up and down as they suck ferociously on it. And the way I see it, they will end up sucking something when they're hungry or upset as it's a natural reaction for babies. I'd rather it be a dummy than a thumb because you can take the dummy away eventually, you can't take away their thumbs (or at least I can imagine it'd be incredibly frowned upon to do so).

Let me take you back. When Aria was learning to suck, which sounds hilarious that a baby had to learn to suck and didn't come out already having that skill, she had a special dummy designed to fit around her CPAP mask. I remember seeing that dummy slowly slide out her mouth and her quickly suck it back in for the first time and being overjoyed that she could finally do it! From that moment on, I wanted her to have that dummy, to comfort her when I wasn't around, and to suck on while I was feeding her through her nasogastric tube so she would associate sucking with getting full - two birds with one... dummy.

Aria never really took to the dummy idea and in hospital she was never really unsettled to need one. When she came home however, different story. She is, as you've heard, a nightmare to get to sleep and is sometimes inconsolable. Everyone told me to get the dummy that matched her bottle teat. Easier said than done. Aria went from liking special hospital NUK teats to Tommee Tippee to NUK medium flow to Boots own to Dr Browns Premmie's to Home Bargain's own to ASDA's own back to special hospital NUK then to medium flow NUK then to Nurture bottles then back to hospital NUK and so on... so buying a dummy to match the teat she liked was not quite that simple.

I tried her with tommee tippee dummies and NUK ones and ASDA ones and eventually one day I asked Connor's dad to pick me up a cheap one from the shop by their house because he was going anyway. And that was it! That bright yellow 40p dummy was the one. Problem being we only had one. I tried to get some that matched the size and shape and she wasn't having any of it so that one was it.

Now back to my original point. The dummy dropping. If there was an award for the worst baby at keeping their dummy in their mouth, Aria would win hands down. No contest. She's rubbish. I'm tempted to tape it in just so I can sleep for longer than 5 minute bursts. I find myself desperately scrolling through mum forums for advice or tips on how to stop the drop. I'd heard about the 'WubbaNub' but as they advise babies don't sleep with toys in case of suffocation I thought against it. I'd heard about the 'sprinkle' technique where you scatter numerous dummies around the baby so they can always find one to put back in, obviously that only works if they can put their dummy back in - which Aria can't. I'd heard MAM dummies were better so I tried them and they actually did work! She could definitely keep these in better. nearly a good 10 minutes before a drop was heard. But 10 minutes still isn't great when I just wanted to sleep. So it was back to the 4am forum search.

'Leave them to self soothe' brilliant if your child will do that. Aria will scream for hours on end which is not soothing for her nor me. Eventually I found the answer I wanted. A way to teach her to keep it in herself. When she's awake and sucking on her dummy, I must try to take it out gently, this will cause her to realize the dummy is 'falling' and make her suck it back in by instinct (hopefully). I'm to do this technique throughout the day for several days in order to embed this instinct with her. The mum in this forum said something which is so flipping obvious but never crossed my mind. 'They will never learn to put it back in themselves if you always do it for them'. I mean seriously duh! How did I never think of that? Obviously I needed to train her to do it herself not find a way to keep it in her mouth!

Hopefully this technique will work and if not? I'm getting the tape out.



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