If you’ve decided it’s time for your child’s dummy to go, you might be wondering how on earth you start the weaning process. Some children give up their dummies by themselves, whilst others become almost addicted to theirs, needing them for sleep and comfort. Getting rid of the dummy is a personal decision, unique to each family. It’s your choice and you the parent will know when the right time for your child is.
If your child is pretty attached to their dummy, you may find it easiest to take a gradual approach to weaning. Babies use dummies for comfort, self-soothing and managing stress, so you want to ensure they’re ready to wean.
Try using the dummy less for comforting during the day. Leave their dummy in their bed and explain it’s only for sleepy time. Gradually, use the dummy less and less when re-settling your child during the night. For example, give the dummy to your child every second time he cries in the night on day two, then every third time on day three, and so on.
Once your child is coping for longer periods without the dummy, set a time and date – then take away the dummy. Give your child a special reward or treat to mark the occasion, maybe a new bedtime book or toy that can help alter the bedtime routine to help break the association with the dummy.
For older children who understand the concept a bit more, you could introduce the idea of the dummy fairy. Similar to the tooth fairy, the dummy fairy will come and take their dummy and leave something in return.
Amy, from Perth, said she had success with the dummy fairy method: “Our son Noah was really attached to his dummy for bedtimes, but at 2 years old, we decided it was time for the dummy to go. We started talking to him about the dummy fairy coming to visit as he was such a big boy now. We explained she took dummies from big boys and gave them to new babies. We chatted about this for a few weeks, and even went to choose a special gold box to leave the dummies in. Every time we saw a new baby, he asked about their dummy and the dummy fairy who must have given it to them.
“Eventually the day came, and he placed his dummies in the box after one sad, final suck. We left the box outside, and when he checked later, the dummies were gone and in their place was a new teddy, new pair of PJs and a couple of new bedtime books. He really surprised us by going to bed fine that night, excited to be in his new PJs and feeling very grown up! We think it was the right time for him, and the fact we could talk about what was going to happen first worked in our favour. We will definitely use the same technique with our now 1 year old when the time is right.”
Jo Frost, AKA Super Nanny shares some of her top tips in this great video. She also recommends the dummy fairy, with a sprinkle of tough love, of course! Her idea it to tell the child that the dummy is going the night before and then actioning the plan the next day.
If you’d prefer to take things slowly, there’s also a 15 day plan over on Baby Centre which is nice and simple to follow.
There are also a number of books available that can help you discuss getting rid of the dummy with your child prior to the big day. The Last Noo Noo is a good book for young children where the main character, a dummy addict called Marlon eventually gives up his beloved noo noo.
Just remember, once you’ve picked a date and taken the dummies away, stick to it! You don’t want to have to repeat the process all over again. Throw them in the bin so the child can’t stumble across them and you can’t be tempted to go back on your word! Good luck!
This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.
Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.