Ditch the dummy?
Is your baby, or toddler, still sucking away at that pesky dummy? Your child might have developed an inseparable bond with their dummy, but there comes a time when they need to part ways. This can be incredibly challenging, especially when children have become dependent on their dummy to fall asleep or stop crying.
Generally, it’s recommended that babies are weaned off their dummy by their first birthday, and you can start the process as early as three months. The earlier you start, the quicker the memory of relying on it as a soothing mechanism will fade. Some signs that indicate it might be time to get rid of the dummy include:
- Your child refuses to go to sleep without a dummy.
- They start waking up after every sleep cycle (about 45 minutes).
- When the dummy falls out, they wake up and can’t go to sleep again without it.
- The dummy ceases to help your baby stay asleep.
UK baby brand Nuby has come up with some helpful tips to make weaning-off-the-dummy process as painless as possible.
Cut it down gradually
Start by reducing the time your baby uses the dummy each day. You can take off five minutes or more every couple of days or so until they no longer need it. If it’s easier, you can limit its use to specific times, such as nap or bedtime.
Replace the dummy
If the dummy is causing problems, such as damaging your baby’s gum, you can replace it with another object that will serve as a soother but won’t cause damage. Try offering a soft blanket or a stuffed animal that your baby can cuddle.
Getting rid of the dummy doesn’t have to be a horrible experience for both parties, and you can turn it into a fun game. You can reward older babies for not reaching for their dummy. For toddlers, try making a progress sheet and give them stickers every time they’ve reached a milestone?
Go cold turkey
If you’ve waited until your child is two years old or older, it may be time to go cold turkey on the dummy. Take it away and be prepared for some resistance. The is where you will need to show some tough love. It may take a few days or even weeks for your child to adjust, but eventually, they will learn to soothe themselves without the dummy.
Bring in the Dummy Fairy
Have you heard of the Dummy Fairy? Make up a story that will encourage your older children to give up their dummy. For example, tell them that if they leave their dummy underneath their pillow overnight, just like with the Tooth Fairy, a present they’ve wanted for a long time will appear instead in the morning.
Alternatively, you can tell them that the Dummy Fairy needs to give the dummies to the new babies and they need to give up their own. This will also promote compassion and empathy in your child. Feel free to use your imagination!