Nobody wants to see their child start school with a dummy in their mouth. When you’re ready to stop or reduce your child’s use of a dummy, the following ideas can help. By Licia Selepe
1. Timing it right
The earlier you decide to remove the dummy, the easier it will be. From 12 months onwards your baby will become increasingly strong-willed and averse to change so you will need to change your tack accordingly.
2. Out of sight, out of mind
Keep temptation well hidden. If throwing away your emergency dummy stockpile seems a little drastic, at least gather them together and keep them in a safe place – out of sight and preferably somewhere difficult for you to reach, because a baby’s cry can be very persuasive.
3. Swap soothing items
Encourage the use of other comforters such as a blanket or teddy. Anything to take your baby’s mind off sucking their pacifier will help.
4. The gentle approach
If going cold turkey (complete withdrawal) seems a bit harsh, try gradually reducing the amount of time your baby has the pacifier each day. Alternatively, keep the dummy hidden in your pocket and increase the amount of time you wait before handing it over. In theory, they will eventually realise they can cope without it and stop asking altogether.
5. The dummy fairy
Imaginary characters can be incredibly useful when it comes to bargaining with a feisty toddler. Like the tooth fairy, the dummy fairy turns up while your little one sleeps and takes it away and replaces it with an exciting gift.
6. Keep calm
If your attempt at ditching the dummy is initially unsuccessful, don’t panic. Remember your baby isn’t ‘naughty’ for wanting one and neither is it a reflection of your parenting skills. Millions of dummies are sold every year for good reason. When the time is right, they will eventually give it up. In the meantime, relax. There are worse vices.
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