Dummies / Pacifiers how and when to remove them!

Dummies / Pacifiers how and when to remove them!

DUMMIES! Through the ages.

Dummies dummies dummies.

They can be the most wonderful invention on earth but can also be a hindrance if you’re doing what seems like 500 dummy replacements overnight! 

So should we persist with the dummy or should we kick it to the curb? 

Well, that is completely up to you!!

Dummies are a WONDERFUL soothing tool. They can be really helpful in the early days with a newborn for settling but can also act as a real comfort as bubs gets older. They are something that your little one will either love from a very young age, or they may seem completely uninterested. Either of these scenarios are completely normal. 

So let’s break it down and look at the pro’s and con’s of dummy use through the ages

Newborn (0-12 weeks)


  • Once feeding is properly established, they can be a really handy soothing tool as babies are born with a really strong sucking association

  • Reduces the likelihood of wind during sleep as it can replace the need to feed right before sleep

  • Great to have as a backup plan when you’re out and you can’t feed immediately

  • Really good for babies who are struggling with reflux as it aids in saliva production to reduce acid

  • Good to have as a backup option overnight. If they’re not settling, even after a feed, you can use it to help them drift off. 

*HANDY TIP* If you’re finding your little one doesn’t quite know how to hold it in their mouths, slightly pull it back when they start to suck.


  • If used too young, it can cause nipple confusion and issues feeding

  • Baby wakes up as soon as it falls out and they start missing out on consolidated sleep. If this begins to happen, remove it completely. Around 8 weeks is when this might start to occur


  • A good way to wean off it is to use shush pat with the dummy in then start to remove it as bubs calms/falls asleep.



  • Can still be useful for lingering reflux

  • If you wish to keep it long term, you can play around with limiting the use and only offer for 1 sleep a day or as back up/emergency. This way we’re still allowing baby to hone in on their own skills to ensure they can still get through sleep cycles independently.

  • If sleep training, it can be helpful where there is strong parental association (feeding to sleep and co-sleeping) to help reduce dependence.


  • Consider that it will be around 2-4 months until baby can learn to find and replace so they will continue to rely on you to replace it at each wake.

  • Towards 5-6 months, they can start to form quite a strong dependence on it and need it to settle/re-settle (which is not a bad thing if you are planning on keeping it long term and don’t mind replacing it for them until they learn to do this on their own)


  • If you’re going cold turkey, ensure one arm is out if bubs is over 4 months so they can attempt to use their hand to settle

  • Still ok as backup/calming approach but once they hit six months, definitely cold turkey. If bubs is between 4-6 months, it is 2 days of other settling methods and they will adapt to life without it!



  • A parent can work hard to teach bubs to find and replace at this age. Some will be able to do this around 6 months, some may be closer to 8.

  • At this age, babes have usually formed quite a strong reliance/connection with their dummy and settle really nicely with it.


  • Slightly more difficult to phase out at this age

  • You will still need to help bubs find and replace if your little one has not yet mastered this skill. If sleep training, only help to replace upon check ins. Try not to go in too often to replace.


From 6 months, using as a backup will no longer work as bubs will likely continue to cry knowing you will give them the dummy to settle.

  • Can be used to calm but each day reduce to less and less use

  • Harder to remove at this age than between 4-6 months so could take up to a week until baby starts to settle without it

8 months +

  • If still using at 8 months, best to keep for the long haul (until 2.5-3 years)

  • Still possible to phase out, but it will take some time.

Removing dummy over 2.5 years

  • Ensure the child can understand rewards and has good self regulation of emotions

  • Put a plan in place

  • Find something else you know the child will accept other than the dummy (another comfort item)

  • Talk about a ritual you’re going to do to get rid of it. Eg. Easter bunny is going to come and get it and replace it with chocolate. You can get creative with the story you want to tell to help them understand where it’s going! Important to reiterate that it’s not coming back.

  • Leave special object in place of dummy to cuddle/play with

  • ‘Dummies all gone’ when child asks where it is.

  • Expect that it may be a tough transition for them and for you but they will learn the new norm in no time!

Need help ditching the dummy or teaching your little one to manage it themselves? We've got you! Book a call with one of our team here.

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