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Toddlers and their dummy

It is difficult to say when you should wean your toddler from their dummy.

Some experts say that your toddler should stop using their dummy at about 12 months old. This is because this is the time they are starting to talk and having a dummy in their mouth can stop forming words properly.

When sucking on a dummy, your toddler’s mouth is in an unnatural position so forming particular sounds/words will be very difficult for your toddler. This is just the opinion of some experts though.

Other children use pacifiers into their early life because it helps them cope with stress and changes in their life, such as going to Pre School or nursery. Many parents let their child use their dummy until they develop other coping strategies.

You may find your child uses their dummy to fall asleep. Whilst this may make life easier for you, you may find yourself getting up more frequently in the night to find the pacifier, as your toddler will wake up when it falls out of their mouth and be unable to soothe themselves back to sleep.

If your toddler is prone to ear infections, some studies show that toddlers who are not dependant on dummies have less ear infections.

Your toddler’s teeth baby teeth may get pushed forward if your child is dependant on a dummy. Whilst this is not a huge problem for baby teeth, when your toddlers adult teeth start coming through, the forward teeth will be permanent and will require dental work at a later stage in life to correct them.

Weaning your toddler off their pacifier

Weaning your toddler off their dummy will not be easy. Your child depends on it for comfort.

A lot of parents find it easier to start weaning their toddler off their dummy during the daytime to start with, and then extend it to night times.

For those parents where it is still an option, take your toddlers dummy away early. Your child will be less dependant on it and will adapt easier and find other coping strategies.

Prepare your child, and then go cold turkey

Explain to your child that big girls/boys don't need dummies. Then round up all the dummies and make them disappear.

Remember you are the adult, so each time your child asks for their pacifier, explain to them that they don't need their dummy anymore because they are a big boy/girl. Stay strong, don't give in and it will pay off.

Give your toddlers dummy away

Encourage your toddler to ‘give away’ their baby things such as toys and dummies to the little babies, because they are only little and need dummies, where as your child is a grown up and doesn’t need baby things.

Perhaps ‘give’ them to a friend with a new born or leave them for the ‘baby fairies’, which will give them to babies who need them.

Make your childs dummy taste bad

Speak to your chemist and find something that you can dip your toddlers dummy so that it will not taste nice. Your toddler won’t want their pacifier when it tastes bad.

Distract your toddler from their dummy

When your child asks for dummy, distract them.

Read them a story, have cuddle time etc. Teaching your child different coping strategies and helping them relax with out the aid of a dummy will distract them from wanting their dummy.

Exchange your toddler’s dummy

Explain to your toddler that if they give up their dummy to the dummy fairies, who will exchange it for a toy (a bit like the tooth fairy concept). Get your toddler to round up their dummies and leave them in a special place for the ‘dummy fairies’.

When your toddler wakes up the next morning, make a big fuss that you think the dummy fairy has been, and get your toddler to see what has been left for them.

No toddler wants a broken dummy

With a pin, poke a hole in the top of the rubber part of your child's dummy. This will cause it to not work in the same way when they suck it. Your toddler will come to think it is broken, and with a few reassuring words from you, they wont want it any more.

You may need to remind them that there dummy is broken which is why you threw it away, then distract your toddler by reading a story or having cuddle time.