baby asleep with dummy next to it
Louise Broadbridge
Louise Broadbridge

Tips for getting rid of dummies

Are you trying to help your little one ditch the dummy?

Dummies, also known as pacifiers, can be a useful tool to soothe your baby. The sucking motion reminds them of being in the womb and is very calming for infants, lowering their heart rate and blood pressure.

But experts recommend dummies are only used in the first year of your baby’s life. This is because it can interfere with a young child’s speech development and may even cause issues with their teeth.

The longer they use their dummy, the more likely they are to experience problems and it could even affect the structure of their mouth. It is also easier to take a dummy away from a young baby than a toddler who has built up a strong emotional attachment to their pacifier.

However, if your child is over the age of one and still using a dummy, don’t worry - there are plenty of things you can do to help them give up their favourite habit. Here are our top tips on getting rid of your little one’s dummy:

Keep the dummy for sleep only

If you want to wean your baby off their dummy gradually, you could start by only giving it when they are going to sleep. This will encourage them to get used to going without it and finding other ways of self-soothing during the day. It will also mean they have plenty of time to learn to babble and talk.

Once your little one falls asleep, remove the dummy to minimise how long it is in their mouth.

Replace it with something else

If your baby or toddler uses a dummy to soothe themselves, they can find it very upsetting if it is taken away abruptly and they have no other strategies to calm themselves. Try replacing the dummy with something they can comfort themselves with like a blanket or soft toy.

Out of sight, out of mind

If you want your little one to make a clean break, make sure there are no dummies in the house. Seeing a dummy will make them realise how much they want it so once you decide you want your little one to give it up for good, keep them hidden or throw out your existing supply.

It doesn’t take a long time for your baby to make a new habit, especially when they are young so if you can resist giving them a dummy for two weeks, they will have got used to life without one.

Involve your toddler in giving up

If your child is old enough to understand the concept of giving something up, you could try involving them in the process. Some parents encourage their children to give their dummies to Santa, the Easter bunny or even fairies. Alternatively, you could tell them another baby needs to use them.

Whatever story you choose to tell your toddler, ask them to collect their dummies up and leave them out at night and then remember to remove them by morning. Give them lots of praise for giving up the dummies and you may want to leave them a gift in exchange for the collection.

Use a sticker chart

One way of giving your child an incentive to give up their dummy is to use a sticker reward chart. Give them a sticker for every day they manage to go dummy-free and choose a reward for them to work towards. Once they get a certain number of stickers, they will then receive the reward, which could be anything from a trip to their favourite playground or a new toy.

Distraction is key

When your baby or toddler gets upset and unsettled or asks for their dummy, try to distract them with something else. You could try being playful and having fun or you might want to cuddle them and comfort them in some other way which takes their mind off having a dummy.

Stay consistent

One of the most important things is to stay consistent in your approach. If you have decided to stop giving your little one a dummy, you need to stick with it even if it is difficult at first.

If you’re not consistent, your baby will feel confused and you’ll be no closer to achieving your goal.

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