Ditching the dummy

Ditching the dummy

I want to start by saying that I advocate for dummys! You do what you got to do to survive!

After my first baby flat out refusing them, and using breastfeeding as her "dummy" and soother, there was no way I was navigating a second baby and a toddler without offering the dummy early on.

Thankfully my son took the dummy straight away! This gave me the flexibility to get stuff done, and know that he was soothed after his feed. It also gave me the confidence to try putting him down to self sooth at around 3 months old, and fall asleep on his own. This all worked a treat, and still today he will happily go off to sleep when he is tired, on his own, with his dummy.

But now the time has come where I have started to notice the shape of his teeth are changing, and how attached he really is to it. He would be asking for it during the day constantly, having meltdowns when he couldn't find it, and taking it everywhere with him. It was getting to the point where it was annoying having to always know where it was to avoid a meltdown, replace it when it got old or broken, always ensuring we always had a spare in case he lost one while we were out, and constantly cleaning them!! So its time for it to go! He's 2 and a half, and I have read and heard from other mums that if you get rid of it before they turn 3, their teeth will mostly go back to their normal shape, and you will avoid any permanent damage.

So where to begin?! I was absolutely dreading it as he was so attached to it!

We decided to firstly start by reducing the time he has access to it, to only nap time and bed time. We also explained this to him, he is definitely old enough to understand and I was surprised how quickly he stopped asking for it during the day.

Next we poked a little hole in the end so that he wouldn't get the full on effect when he sucked on it. This didn't seem to bother him at all, he only made 1 comment about it being "broken".

We also had been talking to him often about the concept of the "dummy fairy". There are a number of different ways you can do this, and I'll go into more details later. He understood this concept very well, and almost seemed excited about it!

After a few days of the hole in the dummy, we actually snipped the end off a little bit with some scissors. This left a visible hole in the end, and it definitely felt different for him to suck on. He keeps telling us its "broken". To which we respond "aw its okay, we are going to leave it out for the dummy fairy soon anyway".

All our kids are a bit sick at the moment, so we don't want to completely take it away right now, but I think the time will be right very soon to give it to the "dummy fairy".

Just remember that all kids are different and you might modify some or all of these methods to suit your child's needs, or you might go completely cold turkey and just get rid of it one day! Whatever works for you, is ok!

Listed below are some of the methods for getting rid of the dummy

  1. Talk to your child about not needing the dummy anymore. You can go into as much or as little detail as you'd like, or as is appropriate for their age. You can keep it very easy and simple by just saying "your older now and don't need it anymore".
  2. Reduce the amount of time your child has access to their dummy/ the amount of dummies you have in the house. Leave the times they most rely on their dummy for comfort, to last. For example- bed time
  3. Poke a hole in, or snip the end of their dummy so they don't get the usual effect from sucking on it. You can start small, and gradually make the hole bigger/ snip more off, until they don't want it anymore because its broken or not working.
  4. Give their dummy to the "dummy fairy". There are multiple ways you can do this. You can leave the dummy out for the fairy at night by putting it in a "special" spot, or in a tree, and replace the dummy with a new toy or something comforting for your child to use instead of the dummy. You could also leave a certificate from the "fairy" which explains that their dummy will be gifted to other little baby's in the world who need them. There are lots of templates for this online, or you could make your own and personalize it as much as you like!
  5. Go completely cold turkey, and when your child asks for their dummy you can explain why they don't need it anymore, or say that it is lost. Be prepared for some sleepless nights and some tears either way!

There are many other ways to help get your child off the dummy, and there are loads of resources and information online! I'd recommend asking your other mum friends, or mum groups what they have found to work as well.

I just want to end by saying that I personally would not use the "dip the dummy in something yucky tasting" method, as I feel my son would know that I had done this, and would wonder why I would do such an awful thing to him! And then he would probably also just ask me to wash it, and then what do i say?! 

I hope this helps, and good luck!

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