In the US these are known as pacifiers, a name becoming more common in the UK. However, whilst a logical name, a pacifier in the UK is also a nickname for a rubber cosh, so conjures up the wrong images for me.
To use or not to use, that is the big dilemma. We all have an image of the dummy dependent 5 year old heading off to school in our heads and do not want to go there. On the other hand, when faced with a screaming Small at 2:00am, that possibility is 5 years away. In the very early days when time is extremely elastic and each day lasts a week, you might as well be talking about another lifetime.
There is no denying that a dummy can provide instant relief to Small and, by consequence, the parents. In summer, with all the windows open, it might just provide relief to the whole street. That is, until it falls out.
There is no right or wrong answer to the dilemma. Everyone has to solve it for themselves. Dummies were not used in our house because it was thought they would become like the morning coffee I had already begun to rely upon: dependency generating. Small and I would become dummy addicts. Small would grow so accustomed to sucking on his dummy that if I tried to take it away I would just end up releasing all the cries I had been plugging in for weeks in one almighty torrent. And because the dummy would provide such instant comfort, it would instinctively become the go to method to stop Small crying, probably stopping me going through the checklist of what might actually be wrong with Small (see Crying).
So, we did not use dummies. But we still ended up with Smalls suffering from a dopen dependency (see Dopen), which was really exactly the same thing. The advantage of a dopen, though, was that seeing a Small cuddling a soft toy/blanket brings a gleam of merriment to most peoples’ eyes whereas seeing one with a dummy stuck in its mouth hardens those same eyes with the glint of judgment.
Not so much a parenting guide full of advice, more the reality of parenting kids and being a house husband and father, written by a stay at home dad to three children.
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