Some parents can be against giving their baby a dummy or soother but often change their mind when they are facing an inconsolable crying baby! The action of sucking soothes and comforts babies and as they get older, they find other ways to soothe themselves. However, most babies get too used to dummies and it becomes a habit and before they know it their baby and his dummy are inseparable.
Our advice is to limit dummy use to bedtime and nap time only and try to wean your baby off his dummy between 6 and 12 months. Here are a few suggestions to make the transition a little bit easier for you and your baby:
1. Define the dummy’s role:
For example it’s important to understand the dummy’s role to determine what approach to adopt. Is you baby using it to help him fall asleep, is he using is at times of boredom or distress, is it a security object he uses all day long and can’t do without. Examples: If you baby can’t fall asleep without his dummy, you can work on a better sleep routine to help him unwind and slip into sleep mode…If he’s using it at times of distress or boredom, you can introduce a new cuddly toy…
2. Choose the right time:
The earlier you decide to wean your baby off the dummy, the easier it will be. From 12 months onwards, your baby will become more strong-willed. If you decide to wait till your baby is over 12 months, you need to adjust your strategy, rewards and reasoning might be the two things that will get you through the process. There are also times that you should avoid when wanting to get your child to stop using his dummy like times of change (becoming a big brother, starting nursery, going on a holiday…), times when he’s not feeling well and times when he’s going through a bad sleep phase.
3. Preparation is key:
Keep any dummies you own out of your baby’s sight and somewhere difficult for you to reach.
4. Keep your baby entertained:
Keep your baby’s mind off the dummy by introducing a new toy, singing nursery rhymes, going to a class, going for a walk…However, avoid offering food as comfort because it could turn to an even worse habit in the future.
5. Limit dummy use:
Try to reduce the amount of time your baby spends sucking on his dummy every day. You can also keep the dummy hidden in your pocket and increase the amount of time you wait to offer your baby the dummy, with time, hopefully, your baby will learn he can cope without it and stop asking for it altogether.
6. Go cold turkey:
This method can be a bit harsh and requires tons of determination and distraction. Once the timing is right, hide away all your baby’s dummies and don’t give any to your child no matter how much they cry and scream for it and in a week or two your baby will be dummy-free.
7. Use your imagination:
This is particularity useful with a stubborn toddler. You can introduce the dummy fairy, who comes and takes dummies away and replaces them with exciting gifts or take your child to a toy store and get him to trade in his dummies for toys (Don’t forget to speak to the staff beforehand!)…
8. Bedtime routine:
If your baby relies on his dummy to fall asleep, work on their bedtime routine by having set things you do every night with you baby before going to bed. For example, dimming the lights, saying goodnight to their favourite toys, taking a bath and reading a bedtime story…find little sleep triggers that work for you and stick to them every night. Once your baby is in his bed, stay by his side until he falls asleep and gradually withdraw your presence until it’s no longer required.
We’re not going to lie to you, even with the tips above, you might be faced with torrents of crying and screaming. In fact, don’t stress yourself and don’t blame it on your parenting skills and above all never think that your baby is being naughty or difficult on purpose, when the timing is right, your baby will eventually give up.