Dummies are the perfect lifesaver for moms with fussy babies. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Risks of dummy use outweigh the benefits the older a child gets. When it’s time to banish the dummy, try these hacks to get your baby saying bye-bye to their dummy without falling apart.
Timing is everything
Typically dummy habits are broken between 12 months and 3 years old. At most medical institutions they encourage dummy use for newborns, 6 to 12 months old at nap and bedtime to help decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). After 12 months, children start developing an attachment to things making it harder to get rid of. Avoid dummy weaning during life changing events such as moving, going to a new day care, potty training or having a new baby. Waiting too long to break the habit could cause impaired speech, language development including future dental problems. Talk to your paediatrician and your spouse when you feel the time is right to take away the dummy.
Prepare your child. Explain that dummies are for babies, and he/she is are growing up. In a week’s time, it will be time to say goodbye to their dummy, reminding them at least twice a day. When the week is over, make it a special event for example: bury the dummy together with a small plant. This way, they will get to watch the plant grow just like they are growing.
Going all out
Going all out is effective, but it takes great deal of consistency and patience on your part. Take all the dummies away, and do not give it back. Stay strong and do not give in, your child will be dummy-free within a week or two.
This might take more time than other methods, but might be easier on both you and your child. Gradually take the dummy away a little at a time until it disappears all together. Slowly restrict when your child can have the dummy (only at home, in the bedroom, or during sleeping times).
Make the dummy taste unpleasant
Dip the dummy in lemon juice or vinegar to make it taste unappealing. Your child will spit it out and beg you to take it away before too long.
Out of sight, out of mind
Simply remove all dummies (from sight and reach). Soon they will start forgetting about it.
Many mothers cut the tip off of the dummy to make it unpleasant to suck, however, once a part of the dummy is demolished, it could fall apart and be a choking hazard. If you choose to use this method, simply show the child it is broken and throw the dummy away.
Go shopping and replace it
Find a new toy or blanket to take the dummy’s place. Take the child shopping, allow them to pick something out and let them “pay” for the new toy at the register with their dummy in exchange for the new toy.
Read a book
Teach them about giving or sharing. Find a “Bye-bye dummy book”, and read it to them. There are several children’s books that may help them relate to their own situation and prepare for dummy parting. If it is time for your child to part from their dummy, explain to him/her that there are babies that need dummies and do nothave any. Help your child to give their dummy to a baby that does not have one.
Have a visit from the “Fairy”
Help your child box up their dummies and leave them for the “Fairy”. After the child goes to sleep, throw away the box of dummies and leave a toy in their place. It is the same idea as the tooth fairy but with dummies.
Wean yourself off the dummy
Dummies are a saving grace for some mothers. You have to mentally prepare yourself to wean your child. It takes patience and determination. When they cry, you cannot just give them their dummy. You can do it!
Know the importance of a dummy
Sucking provide babies with a way to calm themselves. If they do not suck on a dummy, they will suck on a thumb, finger, bottle or breast. A dummy can help satisfy a baby’s need for soothe-sucking and to give mom a needed break. There is a time and a place for dummies. Dummy habits will eventually fade.
Whatever method you choose, be resilient. It may be a miserable five nights for some parents, but it will pass. You’ve come this far. Don’t give in now!