Updated: Sep 22, 2021
I think the majority of new parents are adamant that their baby will not use a dummy but then the crying begins and before you know it, your baby and dummy are best buddies!
There is a lot of differing advice out there but I thought I would share my own tips, largely based on experience, for how to make the process of saying goodbye to the dummy easier.
Keep it out of reach
If you have dummies lying about all over the house, your child will likely keep using them, so the more time they don't have the dummy the easier it will be to say goodbye. Try keeping them for sleep time only.
Choose the right time
As with most things, the sooner you do it the easier it will be. Toddlers are extremely strong - willed creatures and so waiting until they are over a year old could be a lot harder.
My advice would be to remove the dummy before 6 months or wait until between 18 months and 2 years when you will be able to make use of the Dummy Fairy, the Easter Bunny or the Big FC, to take them away and leave a present in return. By this age, you will be able to use a certain amount of reasoning too.
It is however, not fair to try and wean them off their dummy when they are poorly, teething or a big life change like moving house or starting at day care is happening.
Finding a suitable replacement
If your baby has a dummy as a way of settling to sleep, then taking it away will mean teaching them to self -settle. There are several ways to do this but using muzzies or a different comforter are good replacements. A good idea would be to introduce these before removing the dummy.
If you are trying to lose the dummy with a toddler, you can talk to them about it and get them to chose their own replacement.
Go cold turkey or use a gradual approach?
I think it depends on what age you are taking the dummy away and how much your little one is using it.
If you are taking it away from baby before they are 6 months, then you will most likely find that they will adapt in just a few days, especially if you have introduced some new sleep associations beforehand.
If you are taking it away from a toddler, cold turkey may be too traumatic if they are used to having it most of the time. Try weaning them down to only having it for nap and bedtime and then introduce something else to replace it before taking it away completely.
If your toddler only has their dummy for sleep you may find that you don't need a gradual approach and once they are happy with their replacement and with the help of the Dummy Fairy, the Easter Bunny or Father Christmas, they will be happy to give it up with minimal fuss.
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