Dummy weaning. What. Why. How. When.

Dummy Weaning

Ok so here is the thing, if you want to use a dummy you should. If you don’t want to use a dummy, then you shouldn’t. It is really up to each family to decide what is right for their child. 

Why should you wean the use of a dummy? Well, when it starts to become a problem for you. Don't worry about what other people say, when you feel like you need to get rid of it because it has become a problem, thats when you should do it. 

Tips for weaning off the dummy before 18 months:

You could go 'cold turkey' to stop the using the dummy. But be warned this will result in more protesting and causing your baby to be harder to settle for a few days. But generally babies adapt to no dummy within a few days.

Another approach is to slowly reduce the use of the dummy, so only offer it at sleep times rather than any time baby is unsettled. Then only offer it for night wakings. Then stop all together. 

I always suggest to remove the dummy as baby starts to settle, rather than leaving it in while baby actually falls asleep. 

Many people find introducing a safe comforter helpful in the dummy weaning process because you are replacing one sleep cue for another. 

You may need to use other settling techniques such as gradual withdrawal or spaced soothing. I always recommend looking at this as a transitional stage and that you will reduce use of those alternative settling techniques before long.

Weaning off the dummy at after 18 months:

You are going to need to be creative. Toddlers are likely to put up more of a fight then a baby. You can just get rid of the dummies when your toddler’s not looking, of course, and end things cold-turkey. 

You could also be creative, and get your toddler to help with the weaning process. You’ll need to think of something approbate for your babies age, I knew a mum who told her 3 year old daughter that they needed to send her dummy’s to children who didn’t have any — she helped pack all her dummies into a box with her mum! It turned out to be a great solution for that family.

My 4 tips when getting rid of dummies:

  • Find the right time: It is easier to weaning a baby off the dummy then a toddler. So plan when you might want to ditch the dummy, and try to make sure the weaning doesn’t coincide with another big event, like a move, or the birth of a new sibling, or toilet-training. It’s best to tackle big events one at a time, to help minimise your child’s stress.
  • Try to stay calm: It is very likely that there will be some crying and fussing when you ditch the dummy. Expect this is going to happen and try to have a plan on how you will deal with it. Will you go to settle your child? Will you let your child cry? If so for how long? Try to be prepared so it will be easier to ride out the storm.
  • Be consistent: If weaning just isn’t working, you may feel like stopping and trying again later. And that may work — but that I don’t recommend it because guess what, kids are smart. If they get even the slightest inkling that their actions (crying, screaming, tantrum-throwing, etc.) can make you change your mind, guess what’s going to happen next time they don’t like what you are making them do? The crying, screaming, and tantrum-throwing.  If you stay consistent then that will teach your child the valuable lesson that mum and dad mean what they say.
  • It won’t kill them: For some parents, dummy weaning belongs in the “Things That Feel Like They Might Kill My Child” category because their toddler is crying as though it is killing them. Truthfully, it isn’t that painful and brutal. Remember it will pass like any storm. Have a strategy in place on how to settle your child before starting. 

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