Dummies, pacifiers, binkies, soothers, comforters and do-do, all refer to the small, plastic teat shaped product that many babies love to suck to get comfort.
Photo: Philipp Antar, Wikimedia Commons
There's no life rule that tells you when is a good time for weaning kids off their dummy, although some experts claim that 12 months is a good cut off point due to the amount of speech development that happens at that time. For many parents, they decide to wean when they get frustrated with the 2am search for the lost dummy, or when they consider their child simply no longer needs it. Whatever is spurring your decision to wean your baby off their dummy, here's a few tips for weaning that might work for you. As with all things child related, there's no one size fits all technique, and what works for one kid unlikely works for another, so it may be a case of trying a few methods until you find one that works for you.
1) Cold Turkey - Decide on the day of dummy-free, and just go for it. Remove all dummies from the house, and just sweat it out. It may take a few days of misery and upset but you'll get there.
2) The Dummy Fairy - If your child is old enough to understand basic concepts, you could create a story that your child needs to give its dummy to the 'dummy fairy' so that other little babies are able to have a dummy too. You could explain that the Dummy Fairy leaves a present in exchange for the dummy (akin to the tooth fairy) to ease the departure of the dummy.
3) If it's near Christmas, you could consider getting your child to leave their dummy for Santa Claus, so that he can give it to the other babies. Explain that they'll be getting lots of new toys and that they don't really need their dummy anyway. If you have the Easter Bunny in your house, you can use this occasion as an incentive to ditch the dummy too.
4) Reduce dummy time. Over the course of a month, take the dummy away for more and more time, until they are barely even using the dummy. You'll eventually get to the stage when they don't use it and they'll happily surrender the dummy.
5) Dummy sabotage. If your child no longer likes their dummy, they'll likely not want to use it either. Ways to make the dummy less appealing, is to make it taste unpleasant or to make it less easy to suck on. Many parents poke a hole into the dummy so that it's no longer effective for sucking; just be cautious that you're not creating a health risk.