When To Ditch The Dummy

Can a Dummy be beneficial?

I want to be perfectly clear that there is absolutely nothing wrong with your little one using a dummy, there are in fact benefits to using a dummy, especially for those under 6 months.

Research now shows that it can help reduce the risk of SIDS.

It can be a great tool to help baby self sooth and be a wonderful form of comfort.

However if your baby needs the dummy each time they wake in order to get back to sleep and needs your help to replace it then the dummy has now become what we call a crutch. Now of course if this is not a problem for you then you do not need to change anything.

When to ditch the dummy is up to you and no one can decided this for you. If you feel the dummy is more of a hindrance than a help I would say it is most likely time to ditch it. It can effect speech, teeth and sleep to name a few.

I want to ditch the dummy – How do I do this?

There really is only one way and that is Cold Turkey. I can assure you that the thought of ditching it will be worse than the actually ditching. So check all those drawers and under all those cushions for any hidden dummies and pop them in the bin, there really is no such thing as weaning little one of the dummy.

If your child is a little older then why not use some imagination to get rid of the dummy, the dummy fairy works well or post them off to Father Christmas. Often the promise of a little rewards works wonders. Get your child really engrossed in the idea and make sure it is something they can relate to. Try to keep the mood upbeat and exciting rather than sad.

Just don’t be tempted to give in and give the dummy back, this will only confuse your child and make it harder the next time you try.

I want to keep the dummy, can this still work?

Yes of course, just follow these steps

  • If your baby has mastered the pincer grip (this normally starts to develop at around 8 months onward) then teach and encourage your baby to control the dummy themselves.  You can do this by showing them where the dummy is and place their hand on the dummy and guide it to their mouth, gradually reduce the amount of help by ending up by just pointing at where the dummy is, this shows them that you want them to do it themselves.
  • There is the option of placing numerous dummies in their cot, so that they have a better chance of finding one when they wake.
  • If baby has yet to develop the pincer grip and unable to replace the dummy themselves, once it falls out, then leave it out. This could result in baby not going back to sleep as quickly or easily as they would normally if they had the dummy and you may find you need to give some different kind of comfort such as gentle stroking, bum pats and shhhes.   This method is not the easiest and does need commitment and consistency but the hard work will quickly pay off and you will see the end of the night time dummy run.

If you feel you need a little more guidance on this matter or any other sleep struggles you may be facing with your little one then please do not hesitate to get in touch with me for a free evaluation call

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