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Our first born never took to a dummy at all.  Our middle child loved her dummy right up until she was 3 years old. Now our toddler is 2.5 year old is obsessed with hers.

I have heard loads of theories about dummy’s. A few common discussions that arise include:

  • Dental concerns
  • Speech development
  • Emotional regulation
  • Soothing
  • Blocking emotional release

Often dummy’s may be used in those early months after feeding has been established to help soothe bub in the car or when they have wind or to support with the settle off to sleep. Sometimes bub may be weaned off of their dummy for various reasons in their first year. We do find that weaning a bub off the dummy slightly different to weaning a toddler off their dummy. By toddlerhood their dummy may well have become like a reliable bestie who is there for them as a source of comfort!

Our top tips include:

* Pick your timing carefully – during times of change toddlers may have a harder time parting with something that has become a great comfort to them

* Prepare yourself – toddlers can adapt to the idea of saying goodbye to the dummy when they can feel our confidence about it too

* Prepare your toddler – chat to your toddler about the process and even how much you trust as they grow they won’t need their dummy anymore. Include them in on the process of when and how they will part with their dummy.

Some ways you can prepare your toddler include:

  1. Wean gradually – This may look like limiting their dummy use to sleep time or rest time in their room.
  2. Place it out of sight and reach – When they can see it or reach it, it makes it tougher for them to let go.
  3. Communicate clearly – Let them know that soon it will be time to say goodbye to their dummy.
  4. Give them choices – Offer them choices around when it will be time e.g. Would you like to say goodye to your dummy this week or next, on your birthday or at Easter? Offer them choices around how they would like to part with it too e.g. Would you like to leave them for the dummy fairy and the fairy will leave you a present or would you like to put them in a bear so you can always have them close to cuddle? (we did this and it was great!)
  5. Offer them an alternative comfort – If they have come to know and rely on their dummy to soothe them then they will need reassurance that without it they can still find ways to feel soothed. We might need to point out a few options to try out e.g. Maybe a cuddle, special blanket or cuddly toy.

Change can feel hard, but with your confidence and support and a little period of adjustment your toddler will be able to cope!

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About the author

Mandy Richardson is a qualified Early Childhood Educator and also holds a Masters in Childhood Studies. She is currently completing her PhD in Respectful Parenting Methods. She is passionate about promoting a positive parent-child relationship and a natural, slow paced, peaceful and fulfilling childhood.

Past Posts

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The Regulation Station

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Toddler Temperaments 101

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Introducing Rest Time in Place of the Day Nap

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