Now that the twins are nearly 18 months old, we decided it was time we started weaning them off their dummies. Like any parent, the pacifiers have been used to quiet the twins down, comfort them and let them know it’s time for bed.
This approach really helped us with getting the twins into a sleeping routine. Over the last year, a majority of trips into their room at night was due to them waking and not being able to find a dummy. Every time this happened and a dummy was replaced in their mouth, they would go straight back down to sleep.
In the last week or two, we’ve experimented with removing the dummies at nap time. This has worked with varying success. Our son was more capable to nap without them, but our daughter would not abide a nap without her precious Piece of comfort.
However, when a cold reared it’s ugly head, resulting in the twins both not able to breathe through their noses properly, we saw an opportunity. We had discussed the American Paediatric Dentists approach to weaning off pacifiers, but thought that as the twins wouldn’t be really using the dummies during the night while they were sick, an attempt to get them to go cold turkey became our approach.
Last night was the first night. Their bedroom was searched for all dummy contraband and removed earlier in the day, so that no visual temptation would confuse them. We went through our normal night-time routine of bath, milk, reading and toothbrushes until the moment of truth came. Each twin got a cuddle and put into their beds. A brief, fleeting moment occurred when they were both in bed, without dummies, when they were trying to figure out what was happening. All was peaceful and serene in those moments. As the moment dissipated, serenity was replaced with all out frustration of screaming and crying by both twins.
As any parent knows, the hardest thing is to hear your child crying, knowing that it is because of something you’ve done. Removing the security they, and we, have relied on for so much of their life was tough. Hearing how unhappy it made them only drove the dagger deeper. After about 15 minutes, both began to accept that neither the dummies or mummy and daddy were going to be coming back into the room that night and a few minutes later, they fell asleep.
The night had the odd grumble here and there, but really, it was no different than any other night of sleep for an eighteen month old. At about 6am this morning, our daughter woke up and once again began the same cry as the night before, knowing she didn’t have a dummy to soothe her and calm her down for another hour or so until their usual waking time of 7am.
Even after one night, it has not been easy, but we know it is better for them not to have dummies or need to rely on them. It will likely take another three or four nights of a similar experience, but we keep telling ourselves it will be worth it, that it won’t scar the kids for life, or make them resent us. It’s just another one of those things that has to be ticked off the list of raising twin toddlers.