Any parent who’s done it before will tell you that it can be daunting when it comes time to take the dummy away from bub. It’s a tricky challenge to navigate!
Your child’s dummy is likely one of their most treasured possessions, providing them comfort in times of need. Dummies help kids manage everyday stress and soothe themselves when their parents aren’t around, so you can imagine just how attached they get.
But, as the saying goes, too much of a good thing... Using the dummy for too long (beyond 4-5 years old) can lead to dental problems later in life, and in the short term can cause your little to wake up more often during the night (up to every 40 minutes!) looking for their dummy to send them back to dreamland. Plus, dummy use is linked to somewhat higher rates of middle ear infections. Ouch!
That doesn’t mean the pressure is on. Most children will give their dummy up all by themselves, in their own time. Once you make the decision, it’s also going to be so much easier than you think. With the right strategies in place, bub should adapt at lightning speed, getting comfy without the dummy within 3 sleeps.
Now you know your little one’s attachment to their beloved dummy won’t last forever, there are some tips and tricks you can use to help them reach this milestone earlier. My top 4 recommendations are:
1. Get creative
Toddlers and children love to use their imagination, so why not get creative when it’s time to take the dummy away? If your local neighbourhood has a dummy tree, pay that a visit. Or, you could convince your child to give their dummy to baby birds. We’ve even heard the Easter Bunny has a soft spot for these treasured gems!
Whatever story you land on, get your little one as excited as you are to give it away and help them get involved - it’s more likely to stick that way.
2. Try a gradual approach
If you feel like it’s time to take the plunge, the easiest and fairest way to help your child through the transition is to take it slow.
Begin your quest to take the dummy away during the day, only using it as a comforter at night time. Alternatively, you could put the dummy in a special spot and only get it out at specific times like when you’re in the car or at the shops. This technique will help bub adjust to living some of their life without the dummy before going cold turkey!
3. Choose your timing carefully
Believe it or not, the perfect time and place does exist when it comes time to take the dummy away.
But, how do you pick it? You’ll need to look for these signs:
- You have support - your partner or another support person is around to help lighten the load
- It’s the weekend - you feel more relaxed and able to cope with a few tricky nights
- There’s good vibes - you don’t want to attempt taking the dummy away when bub is stressed or going through a big change like moving house
When the stars align, it’s time to make your decision and stick to it.
However you decide to approach the task when it’s time to take the dummy away, make sure you stand your ground and dedicate yourself to being consistent for a good few days. Some protest from your little one is part and parcel of this tricky process, so while turning back may begin to look appealing it’s important to practice patience and confidence. After all, you know what’s best and you should feel assured you’ve made the right decision.
Well, there it is! Your comprehensive guide on how to take the dummy away. I hope you leave this blog feeling empowered to tackle this challenge and ultimately improve bub’s well-being in the process.
The last piece of advice I’ll leave you with is this: sometimes, children will cope without their dummy, but the vast majority of the time they’ll struggle to adjust. Bub may need some extra love, attention and soothing at bedtime but we’re sure you’re up for the challenge.
If you need a little extra encouragement to take this step, I’d love to hear from you. Book a 1 hour personal phone or Skype consult with me here.