When we went to the pre-birth seminar at the hospital, the midwives who ran the session warned against starting babies on a dummy (pacifier) too early because it could cause confusion with breastfeeding. We were a little surprised that people would be so keen to give their baby a dummy before they were a couple of weeks old anyway, so it wasn’t really a big deal to us. We waited the recommended four weeks to introduce Bubble to dummies, and despite her doing very well with both breast and bottle feeding, she was not interested in a dummy at all. In fact, she dry retched whenever I tried to give her one. So I figured it was no big deal; if she didn’t want one then that was one less thing to worry about weaning her off of later, right? Oh SO wrong!
At about five weeks, Bubble started to fuss for the first time. Up until then she’d been a very calm, placid baby who only cried when she was hungry or very tired. But suddenly I had a baby who desperately wanted to suck on something, but still HATED dummies. I tried silicone, latex, cherry shaped, orthodontic… you name it, she hated it. All but one made her dry retch, and that one confused her so much she’d burst into fits of frustrated, angry tears. In the end she settled for using me as a dummy, and wanted to suck long after she’d finished eating. At the time I had an overabundance of milk, so this frustrated her even further; she wanted non-nutritive sucking, and kept getting more food. At this point we even had to give up bottle feeding with expressed milk because the bottle nipple seemed to be just the size and shape of what she wanted to suck on, only the milk came out of that even faster than the breast, causing her to choke, splutter and again cry with frustration.
The one dummy Bubble would accept without gagging was a Tommee Tippee orthodontic latex one, but she seemed at a loss as to exactly how to suck on it. She’d roll it about in her mouth, chew on it, very occasionally suck on it, and then she’d fall asleep seemingly against her will with her face red from frustrated crying.