No dummy. I want Mummy.

This baby is just out to break the rules. Most babies are born within a week of their due date. So of course she doesn’t show up until thirteen days after and only having taken next to forever. Tongue-ties grow back only in an estimated one in ten babies. So, obviously that had to happen to her.

But, man, I thought all babies took dummies? Comforters, pacifiers, soothers – let’s not get hung up on what we call them – my baby won’t have one.

It goes like this. I pop what’s supposed to be the magic peacemaker in her mouth, tickling her top lip so she opens first to accept it. She gives a couple of sucks then twists her face (“scwinge up” as we say in Trinidad) as if it’s the most offensive thing anyone’s ever given anyone.

It’s the face I’d make if you told me you were putting chocolate in my mouth and it turned out to be licorice. Though why I’d close my eyes and let you put anything in my mouth is beyond me.

I thought long and hard about this dummy business. I was never really sure how I felt about dummies. You might remember my ambivalence when I considered it so I could pump to try to rescue my milk supply.

The thought of giving my baby a cold object as a substitute for me felt strange. But after hanging over her car seat on an intercity journey not once but twice dangling my boob into her mouth (adventures of the well-endowed, eh?) it became apparent that a dummy was in order.

And that is because my baby has broken the other golden baby rule: she does not fall asleep in cars. Not only does she not fall asleep but she wails. She does not tire of wailing. She did it for half hour once until I couldn’t take it anymore and that’s when the boob went in her mouth. How’s that for an unsustainable solution?

I often sit in the backseat with her if it’s going to be a long journey. Sometimes she accepts a finger but not usually. A couple of times my falling asleep with my face near hers has encouraged her to fall asleep too. But nothing consistently works.

She’ll outgrow this, right? Right? Tell me I’m right. When I say outgrow this, I mean soon. Not like when she’s a toddler.

So, for our trip to Cornwall a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d lovingly do the research and procure the best dummy I could possibly find so that if she had to have a cold, silly object, at least it would be the “best” one.

I settled on this beautiful natural rubber one from Hevea with moons and stars (pictured above). It’s so lovely, I want to suck it. I resisted buying one of those pretty wooden chains to go with it just in case she didn’t get on with it. And, of course, she didn’t.

If she’s tired she’ll hold on to it for a while but it soon falls out of her mouth and things are worse than before. The world is ending. Because she has to stay in a car seat and mummy, mummy, she wants boob.

When we got back to Bristol I tried a pretty little pink dummy from MAM that blogger Imperfect Pages posted to me, having got a sample at this year’s Cybermummy conference. No luck there either.

I’ll admit, it wouldn’t just be useful for the car. To get her to nap, I currently have the choice of taking her out in the pram, strapping her to me in the Moby wrap or the Storchenwiege, or lying with her and plugging her in.

I’m lazy and do the one that works fastest and requires the least effort more often than not, so there I lie with my boob in her mouth. At least it means I get some rest too but she often wakes up when I get up and it would be useful for her to nap without me so I could, um, clean the bath and stuff.

I suppose it just means we don’t have to try to wean her off a dummy later on. And it is a compliment of sorts that she prefers me. It probably also says something about her personality that she must have the human touch.

But, hey, if you know how to get a baby to take a dummy, I’m open to all kinds of suggestions.

[she/her] • writer • unschooler • team Soul Farm • Revillaging podcast • breastfeeding counsellor • Trinidadian in Cornwall

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  • Would be too easy if she would take to it, wouldn’t it? Amy is just like Talitha. I think 3 seconds are her record. She hates having a dummy in her mouth but she usually falls asleep on the boob. Probably not the best way to settle her but hey, you get desperate at some point 😉

      • No, I put her down. At first I really struggled putting her down without waking her up but i have mastered it now and she goes down nicely. I really just have to make sure that her neck and her legs are in one line and then we are fine 🙂 x

  • We never used a dummy..I just don’t like them. If we had, I’m sure she’d have hated it too. I’m her dummy and although sometimes it gets exhausting I’m happy with that. 🙂

    So, no..sorry, no advice here 🙂


    PS I’m also a backseat passenger with boob-dummy at the ready. ;p

  • No help from me either,sorry. I don’t like them so didn’t offer to my first baby. But I did offer to my son, hoping it would make things a bit easier as I had a toddler,too. Like you,I bought the best soother, Havea  but he just wouldn’t take it,then tried another one,didn’t do the trick either.

  • Have you tried holding it in her mouth for a bit? That’s what I sometimes do with Atticus when he’s really crying as it takes him a few moments to work out there’s something to suck on. I have one called a soothie made by Avent which has a sort of hole in the middle for you to stick your finger in which he likes, and often I’ll hold it in there for a bit until he’s happy to suck it himself. Good luck! xxxx

    • Yep, I’ve held it in and held it in until there just was no point to carrying on. That soothie sounds interesting. Will take a look. Who’d have thought 14 weeks in I’d be looking to bring a dummy in rather than phase it out! Atticus still really attached to his?

  • Sorry I can’t help – F never ever took a dummy. Screamed at the mere sight of the thing. She does, however, suck her thumb. This is something she started doing once we (accidentally) introduced her to a fluffy comfort blanket when she was around 4 months old. Ten months later and she will not sleep without her blanket or her thumb. Maybe Talitha will be a thumb sucker?

    • I keep sticking that thumb into that mouth. She seems to kind of half-heartedly suck it but not enough to go to sleep or stay calm. Maybe she’ll grow into it yet. I was a thumb-sucker and Laurence had a blanket he called “toff”. Perhaps we’ll pass the self-soothing traits on yet?

    • That could be why. Maybe it’s not that she won’t keep it in but that she can’t. She’s not always good at keeping bottles in either. Glad their tongue-ties weren’t as problematic. Who knew it was so common?

  • It’s not just the tongue tied thing though – I was terribly snooty about dummies with L and struggled through without. Then when S and A arrived I’d have done anything to shut them up and they were like Talitha – wouldn’t go near it.  Apparently, I now discover, you have to keep trying them with different brands until you find the one they like….  As it is, it’s not necessary with M as he discovered his thumb about six weeks ago and we’re away… the only problem – I won’t be able to take his thumb away from him in due course…

    • I was a thumb-sucker and remember making the conscious decision to give it up so take heart. And I think thumbs are probably better for little mouths that are still forming – though I haven’t any research to say why. Have one more brand that I’m going to try and then may just leave it be. Even the mummy dummy’s not working anymore as she seems to be getting rather annoyed with my breasts these days. What did you do with S and A in the end?