Monday 15 November 2010

I'm no dummy

When I was pregnant, my husband and I would chat about things that we would and wouldn't do when we had a baby. We both agreed, that ideally we wouldn't use a dummy. I hadn't had one as a baby. On the other hand, Corey had had the awful memory of his dodi being taken away. He had had a number of awful orthopaedic procedures, and back in the "olden days" dummies weren't permitted in hospital. His admissions would last for weeks, and he would have to go through the trauma of handing his dummy  back again and again.

Once Joseph was born, I knew that he would need a dummy. In the care of neonates a dummy is important, to help develop the sucking action they should be practicing in the womb, and they also help maintain air flow when CPAP is being used. (I won't go into it here, its probably worth a post of its own)

So at three days old one of the nurses asked me if they could introduce a dummy, my husband was horrified, and a quick run down of why it was important was given by the nurse. Delicately, the nurse took the smallest dummy imaginable and introduced it to my baby.

Can you believe a 1lb 7oz baby (and by then he was even smaller having lost weight) could be opinionated and stroppy. Well, the child must have been listening in utero as he absolutely and steadfastly refused it. We tried many times, and all agreed that it just wasn't worth the stress to the baby, the mother or the staff!

A couple of weeks after discharge, Joseph developed a hernia, in his groin, known as an inguinal hernia. One awful night his scrotum on his left side had swelled up, he couldn't poo, and he was in agony, so we went to our local accident and emergency department at the hospital. Once there, a doctor came to examine him. She took one look at me and said "where is this child's dummy?", and I explained he didn't have one.

Well, I have not had such a dressing down since I smeared paper glue over my desk in year 7. She went mad "do you not realise how important dummies are in the care of neonates? He is distress, he needs a dummy." I explained that really, it was Joseph who needed the explanation not me, as he always had rejected them. "Rubbish" she said, basically saying my prejudices had got in the way.

Being traumatised by this time, I went home crying that I was harming my child by not giving him a dummy. The next day I went to the pharmacist and I bought cherry dummies, I bought flat dummies, I bought tiny dummies, and over the coming nights I tried to introduce one. Every time, Joseph took it, did three sucks, then launched it!!!! Its quite amazing how a still small baby can launch an object a very long way.

I thought a dummy was meant to be a comfort, but this was becoming a battleground! In the end, I just gave up.

Funnily enough, when Joseph was just over 6 months old he went back into hospital for his hernia surgery, and I took some dummies "just in case", and used them!! He sucked away quite happily when he was in pain and discomfort, and just as quickly gave up the habit.

Joseph now uses a blanket as his dummy, he spends ages looking for "the right corner" and sucks it to an inch of its life. Despite frequent washes, it always manages to look tatty and disgusting.

But he's happy!


  1. oh joesph - you are a little smartie!

    My husband was very anti dodies for the twins and we went for the image of super parents by coping without them. But beautiful baby had one for 6 weeks when she was born until someone took a photo of her with it in and so i binned it!(ha) but we have a secret everytime we fly we buy one at the airport, on the plane - dummy in baby sleeps, dummy out baby wake up - fabulous - makes flying a breeze - but dont tell anyone I am trying to achieve supermum stardom!

    if only the four year olds were so easy

  2. The offspring know what they want and they have their own way of letting us know - as you found out! Master A didnt have one but Missy A does. I didnt give it to her until she was 6 weeks old and I only wished I hadnt wanted to be supermum by giving it to her sooner! She has it in her cot only and we are all comforatble with that arrangement. Like many others, I beat myself up over doing it but now I realised that it probably saved my sanity!