Prior to having Mabel we had both said we'd rather not use a dummy. I'm not entirely sure why, I think possibly because it brings to the mind images of a 3 year old with a dummy permanently in his or her mouth, not a good look.
I kind of feel it is frowned upon, it certainly wasn't mentioned at NCT as an option for soothing your baby. But Mabel is a real rooter and would happily sit on my boob all day long happy as larry, particularly when she has wind or is tired. So in a moment of desperation a couple of weeks ago we turned to the dummy (and indeed a few weekends ago in Manchester, when without a dummy but with a pesky baby, I did find myself, whilst nipping to Co-op for a bottle of wine to go with our curry, purchasing a spare dummy. Oh yes I bought wine and a dummy at the same time, I surely cannot judge anyone following that).
And I have to say it has been a real god send and hugely helpful in settling her, particularly in the evenings. Yet for some reason I still felt slightly guilty about giving it to her. As if I might some how be confusing her and ruining her feeding habits or just simply doing something wrong in the eyes of the NCT middle class masses (one of the other NCT girls made me laugh by saying she'd brought a dummy to the NCT reunion but wasn't sure if she'd dare use it - I know what she means). However, this really shouldn't be the case. I realise now that when trying to manage a newborn you need every bit of help you can get. In face I have become a bit of a dummy pusher, encouraging others to take the plunge too. Using a dummy for a few months, if it brings calm, relaxed and more importantly sane parents, is surely worth while.
After that spiel, today I found myself in Dunelm Mill without a flaming dummy (not sure what that shop is exactly since it sells the most random things but yet I seem to come away with something every time, and if nothing else for blinds it is brilliant). I hadn't given myself lots of time following her last feed and knew I was on borrowed time. Apparently so did she and following a huge and unladylike piece of wind which woke her up she decided to make her presence known. I swiftly made my way to the cafe (completely unprepared) to buy a cup of tea and sit down so I could feed her. Pleased with myself for managing the situation I even picked up a paper from the rack on the way past to read during the feed. However when I sat down I realised I'd made a pretty big error. This morning I had found a dress in the wardrobe I had forgotten about through the depths of pregnancy. Ooh, I thought, I'd forgotten about this little number.
Well it turns out there was a good reason for that since said little number had a very high neck. So I was faced with a bit of a dilemma. By now a reddening Mabel was beginning to lose patience. It appeared that my only option would be to pull up the dress from the bottom, surely a step too far in a public coffee shop. Instead, by this point in a bit of a panic, I pulled my luckily large boob up to the neckline to poke a nipple out the top, yanked the neck of the dress down as far as possible and sat Mabel upright on my knee. I then literally had to lean over to get her on, my forehead getting far too near the table top for comfort. Read the paper? I ended up with my head practically in a cup of coffee instead! So much for being discreet, I looked like a complete weirdo.
Tell you what though, I was pretty glad to have my boobs to hand, would have been even worse if she was bottle fed and I didn't have one...that's what I told myself anyway whilst I made a sharp exit from the store and tried to massage out the pain in my neck on the way home!!!