Love them or hate them, dummies certainly play an important role for some parents, but when should you start weaning your child off their dummy and how do you go about it?
In an ideal world, a child would have dummy time limited by around six months and have no reliance on it at all by the age of one. Though, as most parents will understand, this is far easier said than done! Persuading your baby to give up their dummy may well be tricky and may take time.
Some parents find it easier to stop their child using a dummy when they’re old enough to understand why it’s being taken away. Others set strict rules about when their child can use their dummy, for example, only in the house, or just in the evening.
As with all aspects of parenting, there are no hard and fast rules, and you are the best judge when it comes to what’s right for you, your child and your family. When you do decide it’s time to start weaning your little one off their dummy, it’s best to gradually decrease the time you let them use it during the day and evening.
Try helping your child settle at bedtime without a dummy. Many who go to sleep with a dummy will look for it if they wake up in the night. By removing it as a sleeping aid, you may find they’ll begin to learn to settle back to sleep by themselves.
When you decide the time is right to ditch the dummy, make sure anyone that’s involved with your child’s care knows about it. Being consistent across all areas of your child’s life is the key.
When you first start to take the dummy away from your child, you may need to soothe them in other ways. Depending on the age of your little one, gentle swaying or rocking at bedtime may help, comfort blankets or a snuggly cuddly toy may help provide them with comfort to take their mind off it. Familiar blankets and cuddly toys can make lovely childhood memorabilia for when they are older.