Let’s face it, for many babies and toddlers, their dummy is one of their greatest pleasures (after you of course.) It takes them to their happy place, providing them with comfort and calm, and gives you some peace and quiet, too. But just like a jar of Nutella, all good things come to an end. And when it’s time for your little one to give it up, you might be faced with quite a lot of resistance – and tears.
ALSO SEE: How to wean your toddler off the bottle
We asked moms on Facebook what worked for them. Here’s what they said:
Moms, how did you get your little one to give up his/her dummy? And how old were they?
Timing it right
The earlier you decide to remove the dummy, the easier it will be. From 12 months onwards your baby will become increasingly strong-willed and it might be hard, so you’re going to have to change your tactics.
Luanne Vos Cloete says at 2.5 years, she “snipped a tiny piece off the teat each week and told her baby she was so big she was sucking the dummy finished. Then it got too short to suck.”
“She asked to hold it once or twice after that and then it was gone. No problems,” Luanne says.
Binte Iqubal Nasreen says that at age 2, she told her toddler they “gave it to the new baby cousin” while Marie Longeira told her toddler, also at age 2, the baby birds outside needed one.
“He decided he was big enough and felt sorry for the baby birds,” says Marie.
Out of sight, out of mind
Keep temptation well hidden. If throwing away your emergency stash of dummies seems a little drastic, at least gather them together and keep them in a safe place – out of sight and preferably somewhere difficult for you to reach. This is because when you baby starts to cry for her dummy, you’ll be sorely tempted to give in.
Swap soothing items
Encourage the use of other comforters such as a blanket or teddy. Anything to take your baby’s mind off sucking their dummy will help.
The gentle approach
A lot of moms have had luck just going cold turkey. “Mine was 2y6m,” says Caroline Joubert. “She’d been biting her dummy so that it resembled a net more than a dummy and I’d been telling her for months that it’s the last one. So one day she lost the dummy, we couldn’t find it and I said that’s it. She never cried, asked for it a few times but accepted that it’s gone.”
If going cold turkey seems a bit harsh, try gradually reducing the amount of time your baby has the dummy each day. At the age of 2, Talitha Kelsey says she just told her son “he’s a big boy now and he doesn’t need it anymore… so he just started to sleep with it. Eventually he threw it away himself.”
Alternatively, keep the dummy hidden in your pocket and increase the amount of time you wait before handing it over.
The dummy fairy
The Tooth Fairy collects teeth, so why wouldn’t the Dummy Fairy collect dummies? Like Morgan Brink, you can explain to your little one that the Dummy Fairy came to collect all the dummies to give to the new babies but she’s left him a gift.
If your attempt at ditching the dummy is initially unsuccessful, don’t panic. Remember your baby isn’t ‘naughty’ for wanting one and neither is it a reflection of your parenting skills. Millions of dummies are sold every year for good reason. When the time is right, they will eventually give it up. So in the meantime, relax. There are worse vices.
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