I don't remember how long it's been since Emma stopped using a dummy*; three weeks, a month or maybe more. I didn't notice when the last time was, it slipped by when we weren't paying attention.
* otherwise known as a pacifier or soother.
So let's make it official now. Tonight Emma woke up crying shortly after going to bed and when I picked her up to comfort her she was still inconsolable, more asleep than awake, so I thought maybe the dummy would help soothe her. I put it up to her mouth, but no, she turned her face away and wasn't having any of it. Dummy cast aside, I just kept cuddling and rocking her until she calmed down and fell asleep again.
The last few times I tried to give her the dummy she also rejected it, so I think that's pretty decisive: we don't need it anymore. As simple as that! Her decision, not mine.
Well, I had stopped giving her the dummy during the daytime except sometimes for her afternoon nap, but she'd been using it at night to get to sleep and soothe her if she woke up. Then I guess I just stopped offering her the dummy, I don't remember exactly. Perhaps it was when we moved house, a change in routine, my mother-in-law not being here for a while... Perhaps we just forgot about it. She didn't seem to need it, anyway.
In fact, before she was born I never intended for her to have a dummy and I didn't buy any of her dummies - they were all given to her by relatives. I don't think I or my sisters ever used them when we were babies and people warned me against them, saying we would end up having to pay a fortune in dental treatment for Emma when she was older.
However, when she was a month old, I gave in to pressure - "It'll help her get to sleep, more easily, it'll make your life easier" (yes, it probably did), "It'll calm her during bathtime" (not really, it mostly got in the way and fell into the bath!), etc. One of Emma's great-aunts had bought her two dummies, so we started using them.
Was that a right or wrong decision? I don't think it matters that much, it's just not that big a deal. Emma used a dummy for just over a year, she became quite dependent on it for a while, then we started reducing her use of until she just wasn't interested in it anymore. Some babies use dummies for longer, others not at all. Hopefully, it hasn't adversely affected her teeth (she now has seven; four up and three down). I'm not aware of any other "side effects".
It was just a phase which, I think it's safe to say, is now over.
Do you have an opinion about dummies? What have your experiences been with them? I'd be interested to hear them!