If you are reading this, it's likely your baby has been using a dummy. Perhaps you are wondering if dummy use is OK. Or perhaps your baby is waking many times a night for their dummy, and you are wondering where to go from here.
Let me start by saying, there really is nothing wrong with your baby having a dummy. They can be an excellent settling tool. And yes, I'm here to drop a personal truth bomb. My child is three and a half. And we only got rid of the dummy a few weeks ago! So yes, I am a Sleep Consultant, and my daughter uses a dummy AND there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
I get it. I'm here in the thick of it with you.
If you want to find out how to say goodbye to the dummy, keep reading!
Getting rid of the dummy can feel very overwhelming, and the thought is ALWAYS scarier than getting rid of it. Your little ones will adjust quickly, and in my experience, it can take 1-3 nights for your little one to adjust.
The most important thing is to do it at a time that works for you and your little one. That will make the transition far less stressful for everyone involved.
Ideally, the best age to remove a dummy would be before six months. After this babies get stronger emotional dependences on the dummy.
FYI: Remember, it’s not a problem unless it is a problem for you.
Using a dummy as sleep association can mean it’s the only way baby knows how to fall asleep. When they come to the light part of their sleep cycle, and realise that the dummy is no longer in their mouth, they have no choice but to call out for someone to help them get it back in for them.
Tips Prior to Weaning Off Dummy
Take some pressure off by reminding yourself that sucking a dummy never becomes a lifelong habit. Many children will stop using a dummy by themselves.
If your child is old enough to understand talk to your them about giving up the dummy.
Keep open and realistic expectations and remain as patient & confident as you can in the decision you have made.
Helping Your Child Let Go Of The Dummy In 7 Easy Steps
1. Choose your timing. A period of change or stress for you or your child might not be a good time to give up the dummy.
2. Limit they use of the dummy. Use the dummy less for comfort during the day. One way to do this is to put the dummy away in a special spot, then get it out only as part of the sleep routine. No dummy in the car, the grocery store or when you are watching TV etc.
3. Involve them in the process. If your child is old enough to understand talk to them about what you are doing and invite them to choose a reward
4. Introduce a comfort item. Introduce a lightweight teddy or comforter (SIDS approved).
5. Pick a night to start… and commit to it. Cold turkey is often the fastest way to say goodbye to a dummy. Some may promote a slower weaning process but it is rarely successful and often causes more crying for a longer period. Decide on a night to start, settle at bedtime without a dummy. It may take 30-60minutes for baby to fall asleep without the dummy. Tomorrow will be easier. Leave the room before baby is asleep.
6. Each night do less. It will take 1-3 nights for your child to accept settling without the dummy. It is very easy to lose the dummy and introduce yourself as a new sleep association. To avoid a dependence on you/patting/shushing just do less and less settling efforts. Sit near their bed and do nothing, or stand at the door and occasionally shush. If your child slept independently with a dummy they do not suddenly need you to do all the work to get them to sleep. Trust this process, you’ve got this mamma.
7. Celebrate! Reward your child along the way! Tell everyone you meet, call grandma, daycare teachers, make them motivated to continue without a dummy. A star chart can be a really motivating factor for an older child and is the approach we used with my daughter.
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