Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Denmark is a bit of an enigma to me. In the UK you are warned from late pregnancy against giving your baby a dummy if you intend to breastfeed it. Midwives warn of this mysterious 'nipple confusion' that sends shivers of fear up the spine of any dedicated breast feeder. We are told that dummies can grudgingly be introduced at the same time as solids - probably because they know that if you get through 4 or 5 months without one, you will not want to introduce one then. For that reason almost no breast feeders use dummies in the UK. If your baby has a piece of plastic sticking in its mouth you can bet with 95% certainty it is a bottle feeder. Shops reinforce this by selling dummies on the same shelf as bottles and formula milk, on a completely different aisle from breast pumps, breast pads or nipple cream. I think there is even a bit of breast feeder snobbery attached. A true breast feeder wouldn't be seen dead out and about with a baby using a dummy (though they might sneakily give them one in bed at night, under cover of darkness, with the curtains drawn). Denmark definitely has a higher proportion of breast feeders than here, in the early months at least, and yet I am yet to meet a Danish baby that isn't hidden behind one of these things. When we visited Olivia on Saturday she was sporting a dummy complete with Danish flag, so we had to have a photo. It is after all almost a symbol of Danish babyhood!

Personally I hate them with a passion - the photographer in me cringes at the beautiful smiles you are missing out on when you hide their little faces with these ugly things.


Trine said...

The "sundhedsplejerske" recommended a dummy for Ellen, when shw visited us six days after Ellen was born. She said it could help her digest the milk. So we tried to give her one. She spat it out. Sometimes she'll suck it once or twice before spitting it out. So we can still see her smile. :)

Actually Ellen has been on the bottle a couple of days. I had to go through surgery last week, and it's difficult to breast feed while you're on the table. She had my milk in the bottle, but she was very happy when I came home and pulled out the real thing!

Phyl said...

Funny - the health board here would fire a midwife for mentioning the word 'dummy' they are so paranoid!
We tried to give Anna a bottle of my milk back in Feb so we could get out for a couple of hours - she refused - my mother ended up having to squirt my milk into her mouth using a syringe and she looked at me when I came home as if I was evil incarnate!
Since then I have resigned myself to keeping my breasts within her reach till she learnd to use a cup!