Weaning My Toddler Off The Dummy: 10 Ways to Wean

weaning off dummy

The damn dummy. We are down to the final one. All other dummies have been lost and we have been holding on dearly to the last one.

I have a love hate relationship with the dummy. I love that it can settle Elliott down during tantrums, that it helps when he’s upset and it helps him get to sleep. But I hate it because I know he relies on it too much and so do I. I hate it because I know how hard this weaning off the dummy business is going to be and I worry that once we do, it will be the end of his day sleeps when I get what I can done.

What to do?


I think it comes down to being a very personal thing, personal in terms of parenting style and personal in terms of Elliott. I know there are heaps of ways to approach this dummy weaning business, but we won’t know until we try it. It’s also about me knowing Elliott’s personality and how this will determine which methods work better than others.

One thing I do know is that it has to be easy for him to understand otherwise it wont work. He’s still only 2 years and 4 months so it can’t be too complicated and confusing for him. He will not understand why if I tell him ‘no more dummy’ but if he can see when I say ‘dummy is broken’, he will connect the two together.

I’m really unsure of going completely cold turkey and so have looked into some other approaches I could take and I’m sure these may be helpful ideas for others in my situation:

  1. Cut the top off the dummy so Elliott soon realises it’s broken
  2. Wait until Elliott is ready, whenever that may be. 
  3. Give the dummy to our friends baby now that Elliott is a ‘big boy’.
  4. Give the dummy to the Dummy Fairy
  5. Wait until Elliott can understand the explanation of ‘why’ better (in conjunction with no. 6 & 7)
  6. Cut out the dummy in phases (sleep time only, then cut out day sleeps, then night time)
  7. During the day, get Elliott to put the dummy to bed because dummies have to sleep or in the dishwasher to be washed. Out of sight, out of mind.
  8. When removing the dummy for the day, emphasise that it’s ok to miss the dummy and remind him of the other activities that he loves and pull out these activities.
  9. Tighten our bedtime routine to build more reassurance. Ensure familiarity like a bedtime story and staying by Elliott’s side each night so these then take the place of the dummy. Ensure Ellie the Elephant (Elliott’s blankie) is always available. 
  10. Trade the dummy in for another toy at the toy store (perhaps get the shop assistant on board with this and Elliott can use the dummy as money). I’m not sure if he’ll understand this but it could be a last option. 

When the dummy weaning day comes for real, I am going to make sure I’m mentally and physically prepared. I will be prepared for days of crying, tantrums and aching eyes from lack of sleep. I will have my coffee pods well stocked and my calm hat on. Wish me luck (and good luck to those of you going through the same!)

How is your dummy weaning going? Or if you’ve already done it (lucky you), how did it go?

Image by jdurham on morguefile.com

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Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman - a lifestyle and parenting blog.She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a Mum to her 4-year-old son, 2 month old daughter, two chickens, one dog and a fish called Bob and a wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little cottage on the outskirts of Brisbane.

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11 Comments

  1. Deb - An Inspirational Journey
    May 1, 2014 / 8:35 pm

    Sounds exciting so far! Is there a part two? x

  2. May 2, 2014 / 3:13 am

    Neither of my kids took a dummy. I was devastated. I used to lie next to them and hold the dummy in their mouths and they would drift off to sleep, as soon as I took my hand away they woke up and started screaming again!

  3. Tara Bell
    May 2, 2014 / 4:14 am

    My oldest didn’t take a dummy until well over 1yr old (don’t ask me where she got it from!) and then refused to give it up. Just before she turned 3 we left it out for the dummy fairy and she got a Dora doll as a thankyou from the fairy.

  4. Bec | Mumma Tells
    May 2, 2014 / 4:54 am

    I’ve got a dummy babe. Two, in fact. Big is only a wee bit you get than your boy, and our plan at this stage is for her to gift it to Santa for another little person should it still be around then (which I have no doubt it will). It’s not a huge concern for us. She only uses it overnight and for her nap, so we never see her with it. It’s a wonderful source of comfort, so why not?

  5. Kaz @ MeltingMoments
    May 2, 2014 / 8:21 am

    We have been dummy free for two weeks! She still asks for it occasionally.. but mostly she’s okay.. We did the gradual wind down too.. we had dummies everywhere and she would always find one when we thought we had got rid of them all. I know there’s two or three unaccounted for in the house but for now we’re doing well 🙂

  6. May 3, 2014 / 1:23 am

    My kids never had dummies from day dot. They didn’t like them and always gagged which has been a great thing. However they love their bottles. I am in the process of getting my two off the bottle. Starting with no more bottles in the morning after breakfast. Its easier with my 18mnth old as she really just copies my nearly 3 yr old. So why haven’t I done it sooner…It was just what we did, Hugh had a good 1/2-1hr where he would sit on the couch and watch tv and I would get a heap of housework done (and reading blogs). It was also a great calmer and I figured they didn’t have dummies so they could have a bottle. Its going well. I have just gone cold turkey/ tough love and the younger one doesn’t even care, Hugh a bit trickier but its not like they can’t have milk, it just has to be in a cup. Im saving $ on milk already in 2.5 weeks as it doesn’t seem as good if its not in a bottle. They only ever have it at home and the big one will def be the bed time one. All in good time. Like sleeping through, no more nappies they will get there. Besides, its not like they are going to go to school or kinder with bottles and dummies are they? Good luck and I think your methods are brilliant.

  7. May 3, 2014 / 3:05 am

    YOU CAN DO IT! My son got over it quite quickly really but yes I was nervous too – maybe buy a blanket/toy to replace it, that’s what I did, he now has a snuggly thing – a big ‘boy’ one – hope it goes well x

  8. May 3, 2014 / 3:49 am

    Thank you! I didn’t think I’d be this worried about it. He has his little blanky, so we’ll see how it goes. Fingers crossed. x

  9. May 3, 2014 / 3:07 pm

    i have 3 out of 4 kids who were attached to their dummy. And they all quit at about 2 to 2 years and 6 months. at that age they were smart enough to “want” things beyond the usual necessities. so i used it against them. i’d tell them it was for big boy/girls and remind them that only babies used a dummy. it took some time to sink in with each of them but they would finally give in after a few weeks and throw it out themselves. after that, wen they whined for it, i’d remind then that they threw it out. only my youngest was smart enough to say “but mommy, you can buuy me a new one” so i had to use bribery with her and say “i could buy you a new one or i could save the money to buy that dolly you want. she would think it over and agree. when she completely stopped asking for the dummy i bought her the doll. she was completely satisfied. whenever she plays with the doll now, (she’s 4 now) she says “mommy, remember when i threw out my dummy to get big girl toys? this was the first one!” good luck to you mama!

  10. Grace
    May 4, 2014 / 6:56 am

    Oh, good luck! We were so stressed out when it came to weaning but in the end, it wasn’t so bad! We just had a little ritual where we took the dummies and the boys out to the bins and threw the dummies out and said, “Bye, bye dummy” And that was it. Complete Cold Turkey!

  11. May 4, 2014 / 2:00 pm

    Bets of luck hang in there. I was a cruel mommy and took it away when babies were young it was hard.