It’s a word I’d always hated, until it became the ‘norm,’ but when we moved up to Manchester from Surrey in 2015 I noticed people asking Lily if she wanted her ‘dody’. What the actual F is a ‘dody’ I hear you ask? Well it’s what you might call a dummy, a soother or a pacifier but up here it’s a ‘dodo’ or a ‘dody’. Don’t ask me why, it just is!
I didn’t want to give Lily a dummy but we were given a couple of packets as gifts before she was born and somehow, in my baby-dazed first week of motherhood, she ended up being offered a dummy by one of our family members who were around to help out after I’d given birth. I knew it was supposed to help with SIDS, for some unknown reason, but I was worried about it affecting our breastfeeding journey and I was pleased when she didn’t take to them.
I can’t remember how it happened but Lily eventually took a dummy at naps and bedtimes only. It stayed like that until we relocated and I noticed that she was finding them and putting them in during the day and that our friends and family weren’t discouraging her daytime use like I usually would. We persisted but by the time she was 18 months to 2 years old, she wanted a dummy more often that not and she’d also started twisting her hair as a comfort as well. We stuck to only letting her have a soother when she was settling down to sleep or if she was overtired and needed help to calm down.
After her 2nd birthday in February, we started to talk about the ‘dody fairy’ and Lily decided she wanted to swap her dummies for, her words, ‘a pink unicorn and a purple unicorn’. I ended up buying a pack of brightly coloured unicorns from Tesco in their own little box with lots of accessories but I wanted to wait until she was ready so it sat on top of our kitchen cupboards for a few months. Every time she brought up the dody fairy and her unicorns, I tried to gauge whether or not she was ready to take the plunge but it never seemed quite right and it wasn’t something we wanted to push.
At the beginning of August I got a letter through the post from the Health Visitor saying that she planned to visit the day before Lily turned 2.5 years old for her review. I told Lily she was coming and we filled in the developmental assessments forms together. She kept asking if the ‘dody fairy’ was coming and I kept correcting her that it was the Health Visitor who we were expecting instead. The date rolled around and we had our visit which was really lovely. Our HV played games with Lily, asked her questions and was friendly and reassuring with answers to some of our questions. When she first arrived, Lily asked her if she was the dody fairy and she laughed before asking if that was something we were working on. When she left, Lily asked if she could have her unicorns and I agreed, saying that the dody fairy had asked me to gather all of her dummies ready for her to come and pick up later on. Lily didn’t argue at all and asked for a bowl to put all of her dodys in. At that moment, I knew she was ready.
As a renowned bad sleeper, Lily was exhausted by the time the Health Visitor left and went for a decent 2-hour nap afterwards — without her dody — on the premise that she would be able to have her unicorns as a fair exchange when she woke up. Whilst she was asleep, I set them up for her on the table and she came downstairs that afternoon excited to start playing with them.
She went to sleep that night without a hitch and she’s now been ‘dody-free’ for 3 weeks with only 2-3 mentions of her dummy which have just required a quick reminder of the dody fairy’s visit and the dodys-for-unicorns exchange for her to nod and move on to something else instead.
I didn’t know how we were going to get rid of the dodys beforehand. I thought going cold-turkey was the answer but I couldn’t bear the thought of her being upset without them and I’m so glad that we waited for her to naturally decide she was ready.
When did your little one give up their dummy? How did you go about it?