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You may find this shocking: my daughter Stella is three. No, not that part, wait for it… My daughter is three and still has a dummy.  When I say ‘a dummy’ we have nothing short of about 10 on constant rotation.  She can go for periods of the day without it – at nursery her dummy is off limits (although I always leave one in her pocket) – when she’s so deep in play she really doesn’t think about it.

But outside of nursery, she can often be seen with her dummy, so much so that when I had little dolls made of our family I made sure Stella’s doll had a dummy on her little pout. It just didn’t seem like her likeness without it. In case you missed the memo (I know I did), dummies are ugly and thumbs are cute. Who can forget the story in August 2015 when David Beckham dared to give his 4 year old daughter, Harper, a dummy to soothe her. He then had to release a statement that she had a fever to justify his actions, lest he be socially hung drawn and quartered.

I am a BIG advocate of a dummy (or a ‘namma’ as they are affectionately known in our household).
I was a thumb-sucker as a child and so steadfast was my habit that sores would appear on my thumb on occasion.  The only thing that got me to stop was the fitting of the braces and head gear I had to wear for three years as a result.

When I had Stella, I tried to introduce her to a dummy at a young age, thinking it would help her sleep, but she never seemed that interested (in either the dummy or the sleep, to be quite honest). However, it was on a flight to LA when Stella was 1 and I had brought a dummy with us as back up, that it then became a permanent part of our lives. The thought of a screaming baby the whole flight sent me into a panicked whirl of ‘what ifs’ so I took it ‘just in case’. We haven’t looked back.

The ‘just for bedtime’ soother very quickly became an every-waking-moment habit purely out of necessity. I remember being stood with a screaming child in a shop thinking that if I’d just had her dummy and if it wasn’t just a bedtime thing she would be calm, I would be calm and the woman giving me the side eye and scowl would be…well, 2 out of 3 isn’t bad…

I’ve had strong words with her nursery (who are anti-dummy) and friends (who are also anti-dummy), clearly stating that we are (very much) pro-dummy.  I went to see an orthodontist and spoke to her about it. From her (French) point of view, dummies can cause less harm teeth-wise than thumbs, especially if you invest in the right one.

Look for orthodontist approved or very thin/flat soothers – we like MAM.

So, currently it’s her comfort and she is three – in the realms of a lifetime she is still so small.  There will come a time either due to peer pressure or just disinterest that she won’t want a dummy anymore. I believe, from personal experience, that it will be easier to take the dummy away than try and convince her she doesn’t want her readily-available thumb.  And if that time never comes, I can think of a thousand and one other habits that are far worse.

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