Mums tell: How to ditch the dummy!
Practical Parenting asks how other mums managed to ditch the dummy. Just how did they pull the plug on this hard-to-break habit and loose the dummy all together?
By Linda Barnier
June 02 2016
A dummy may bring you peace and quiet and offer your little one comfort, but there comes a day when both of you have to let it go.
I took the dummy off my two-year-old at Easter. He was getting very attached and was wanting it all the time. We talked to him about it and told him the Easter Bunny was going to take it and give him an egg instead. I removed the dummy when he was asleep. He was a bit upset when he woke up in the morning and couldn’t find it but he loved the replacement fluffy bunny and egg. There were only a couple of meltdowns about the dummy but he slept fine and adjusted really quickly. Every now and then he’d say “naughty bunny” for taking his dummy, but that was about it.
Kelly, mum to Toby, 2
My daughter gave hers up on her own at around six months. We never made it part of her routine, though. It was only a last resort, so she never really relied on it. My son also gave up his dummy all on his own when he was around four months, but has now started sucking his thumb. This will be harder to stop!
Jacqui, mum of Emilie, 4, and Cooper, 7 months
Our daughter gave her dummy up after she turned three. We got rid of it as she was becoming very dependent on it and not developing other ways of dealing with sleeping or stress. We felt leaving it any longer would make it harder. We explained the
Dummy Fairy came to three-year-olds and she wouldn’t have her dummy any more.
Michele, mum to Rose, 5, and Thomas, 2
Just before our little boy turned two we decided it was time to ditch his ‘Dumma’. I had refused to buy any more, we were down to one and it was becoming a huge pain. The decision came shortly after I made a late-night run to the supermarket due to a monster meltdown after I couldn’t find the one and only dummy. Ridiculous! Harry only used the dummy for sleeps, so it took a couple of days. I simply said, “You’re a big boy now, you don’t need Dumma,” and that was pretty much it. He was a little sad at first, no tears though. I was completely amazed. For a huge dummy fan, it was incredibly easy. About a week later he was sick and I gave in and offered a dummy only to be sternly told,
“No Mummy, I’m a big boy and I don’t need it.” What a little trooper!
Alison, mum to Harry, 2½
We took our son’s dummy away at six months. This was the time we started ‘controlled crying’, as he’d begun waking every two hours. According to the parenting book we referred to, dummies were a distraction to bubs trying to learn to self-settle, so we threw them all away. It was surprisingly fuss-free. After that he slept 12 hours a night! Now we won’t have to go through the bother of trying to take a dummy away from an attached toddler and I’m glad!
Constance, mum to Sebastian, 1½
Spencer had a major addiction to his dummies. Sometimes he would have one in his mouth and one in each hand and just keep swapping them over. I decided that his second birthday was the cut-off and threw out every single dummy except one. I cut the end off the one that was left and told him that we had to send the rest to a little boy in Africa who was really poor and needed them. Spence was left with the cut-off dummy and didn’t like it one little bit. I can’t believe that it took less than 24 hours to wean him off them. He’s never asked for another one!
Jacq, mum to Spencer, 3, and Annabella, 8 months
When my little boy was about two-and-a-half he was still addicted to dummies. I was sick of having to look for them and buy new ones, so I started by telling him, “You’re a big boy now,” and that “Dum Dum was going to be given to the other little babies.” After about a week preparing him I kept one aside just in case he really needed it then cut a bit off the ends of the rest of them. Gradually I cut more and more off them until he didn’t enjoy sucking on them anymore. Then he started giving them back to me. I’d say, “Dum Dum is broken, shall we throw it in the bin?” and he’d throw it away. He asked for them a few times after that but I just kept saying, “They went in the bin, remember?” and he was fine.
Michelle, mum to Taylor, 3
We took Evelyn’s dummy away when she was six months old because we thought she was waking for it numerous times during the night. We took it away cold turkey and sat with her, patting or stroking or singing to calm her to sleep. I didn’t want to take it away and leave her crying, as I felt it was us who wanted to get rid of it and she couldn’t understand that. It took about a week for her to get used to it and she’d then go to sleep without it. She’s never looked back.
Katie, mum to Evelyn, 2 and Harry, 1