GETTING your toddler to ditch their dummy may seem like a scary battle – for both you and your little one – but there’s a number of ways to make the experience easier.
Dummies can be great to relieve stress and soothe babies – they are excellent settling tools and can be a great way in helping your baby self-soothe.
But as your little one gets older and you decide it’s time to say goodbye to their beloved dummy, it’s helpful to use some advice from experts.
Christina Axton, MD of Multiple Milestones has provided her top 10 tips to make getting rid of the dummy a cinch.
Multiple Milestones is a charity that supports families with the triplets and quads.
Christina is a Norland Nanny and fully qualified maternity nurse working full-time as a junior sister on a neonatal intensive care ward.
She said: “Dummies act as a comforter for your child whatever age they are, so how you approach the process of ditching the dummy requires careful consideration.
“Here are my top 10 tips for successfully losing the dummy.”
Christina said that first of all, parents need to make sure to consider the timing of ‘ditching the dummy.’
She said: “Avoid times when children are already going through other changes such as starting nursery, dropping naps, or the arrival of a sibling.”
GRADUAL VS QUICKLY
The parenting expert also added that parents have to choose between the gradual or quick method.
She added: “Depending on your preference and age of your child, you have two options:
a) Gradual (the older your child the more gradual the approach required)
“The key is the earlier you get rid of it, the easier it will be.”
Plus Christina said that ditching the dummy only works, if you’re on the same page.
She shared: “Before getting rid of the dummy make sure yourself and your partner are both behind the decision – you both need to agree on your strategy.”
And a huge tip that Christina revealed – is of course, consistency.
“Consistency is key to success whether you choose a gradual or quick transition,” she explained.
The parenting expert suggested that limiting the use of a dummy is a good way to make saying goodbye to it easier.
Christina said: “If your child has a dummy all the time, start by limiting use for naps and bedtime only.
“If your child is older then discuss this with them, giving them time to understand.”
A tip to getting your toddler to ditch their dummy, is to interest their imagination, suggested Christina.
She said: “For older children, create a scenario where the dummies leave – for example being collected by a dummy fairy or the Easter bunny.
“This will help children to let go of their dummies, be sure to choose a scenario that particularly sparks your child’s imagination, the more creative the better.”
The parenting expert said you can also introduce an alternative comforter to ease the ditching the dummy process.
She added: “If you are transitioning a baby off the dummy, take some time to transition them to an alternative comforter such as a muslin or blanket.
“This will act as a replacement comforter once you have removed the dummy.”
While this may seem like an obvious tip, it’s a very important one.
Christina said: “Whichever approach you choose, be positive about the change and praise your child. Children respond very well to positive attention.”
Once you’ve finally managed to get your little one to ditch the dummy, your work isn’t fully complete.
Christina suggested: “When you finally get rid of the dummy, you need to remember that this is a big transition for your child.
“Take extra time for more cuddles and reassurance to help them through the process.”
And the last tip – but arguably the most important one – is to be consistent, revealed Christina.
She said: “Finally stick to it! Change takes time and children need time to adjust, so be sure to stick to it for at least 7 days.”
Elsewhere parenting expert and mum Rachel Ducker has been going through getting rid of the dummy with her two-year-old son Leo.
Rachel, who is well known on the mummy blogger and influencer scene under Mamaduk, shared her experiences of saying goodbye to the dummy.
She said: “Love them or hate them, for me personally, when I had my son Leo a dummy seemed to be the only thing to pacify him.
“All parents at these early stages will know the desperation of getting through a hot meal or getting a few extra hours of sleep in.
“Now he is approaching two-years-old and about to start nursery, it seems the perfect time to ‘ditch the dummy’.”
Rachel’s top tips for ‘dummy weaning’ include refraining from giving your child a dummy during the daytime.
She used this method and only gave Leo a dummy at nap times and bedtime. She said he instantly grew out of needing one constantly.
The mum and parenting expert added: “When your baby falls asleep, take the dummy away so that it cannot be used by them during the night or in the morning.
“We were finding that Leo would put his dummy back in by the morning, so taking it away again was hard work.
“Another useful tip is to create a ‘safe place' for dummy storage. We used a small pot kept in a drawer to store Leo’s dummies in.
“He then acknowledged they could only be used at certain times when we allowed them to be used.
This is also great for creating boundaries.
Rachel also said that as Leo is old enough to name his teddies – at nap times and bedtimes, they make a big fuss out of ‘Mr Lion and Mr Fox' as opposed to giving him a dummy.
She believes that before you know it, you’ll be able to remove the dummy altogether.
She added: “If your child is old enough to understand, try and explain to them that they are now a big boy or girl and their dummy has gone away.
“Don’t forget to praise and encourage along the way. You’ve got this!”
Elsewhere parenting expert and qualified Early Years Practitioner Kirsty Ketley shared her experience of making the process of saying goodbye to the dummy easier.
She believes keeping it out of reach, choosing the right time, finding a suitable replacement and opting for the approach best for you and your little one, are the best dummy weaning tips.
The mum-of-two, who shares her tips on her website, said: “I think the majority of new parents are adamant that their baby will not use a dummy.
“Then the crying begins and before you know it, your baby and dummy are best buddies!”
But Kirsty said a key factor to making losing the dummy a cinch, is to ensure there aren’t dummies lying around all over the house.
She also believes that the sooner the dummy weaning is done, the easier it will be.
She added: “Toddlers are extremely strong-willed creatures and so waiting until they are over a year old could be a lot harder.
"My advice would be to remove the dummy before 6 months or wait until between 18 months and 2 years.
“This is when you'll be able to make use of the Dummy Fairy, the Easter Bunny or Father Christmas to take them away and leave a present in return.”
On Instagram, mums have been opening up about their experiences with ditching the dummy.
While some admit to finding it a total breeze, others have admitted it is a huge task and revealed it’s actually quite difficult to wean children away from dummies.
Mum-of-two Samantha Nicholass-Crook recently shared a post after she helped her daughter Mabel-Rose send her dummy off to the ‘dummy fairy.’
The dummy fairy can be a magical solution to ditching the dummy.
Explain to your child that there is no longer a need for a dummy and the dummy fairy will be collecting it and taking it to a magical place where baby fairies or animals are in need.
Mum Samantha tried this method and wrote in a caption: “It's time for the dummy fairy. She’s getting so big. #dummyfairy #wheresmybabygone"
Elsewhere fellow mum Steph, who shares her first-time mum journey on Instagram, revealed she has been having a different experience with the dummy fairy.
Known for sharing her honest approach to motherhood on the Working_mums_group Instagram page, the mum shared a funny selfie with her daughter alongside a candid caption.
She wrote: “Dummy fairy. When???????? How?????? Tell me tellllllllll me. When is she meant to come? Do I go hardcore and bin them all?
“I can't tell you how much she is gripping this in her teeth so I can't take it off her. I swear she has several spares underneath the pillows just to piss me off and make me look a fool!
“My mother told me to take it off her at 2…..my kid turned 2 and became the devil. The dummy kept her quiet for a bit. My dad said if I get some more peace with it then leave me to it.
“Now she's nearly 2 and a half and it's HER DODDDDDYYYYY and screams for it. It hasn't really held her talking back and her teeth are fine. But I would rather do it sooner than later.
And lastly mum Chloe Mountifield revealed her method of saying goodbye to the dummy – and it was actually all down to her daughter.
Her toddler Willow decided she was ‘too big’ for her dummy – all by herself!
The proud mum wrote: “My big girl; day 3 of her deciding she’s too big for a ‘dodo’ and she’s smashed it! Always on her terms and always in her own time.”
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