Ditching the dummy

A couple of weeks after H was born and we still struggled to settle her when she was tired. After a nap she was fine. During and after a feed she was fine. But nothing would soothe her to sleep. So since her feeding was fairly established, we tried giving her a dummy. The difference was astonishing and immediate. Having something in her mouth calmed her down and she would stop crying and just gaze at the world until she nodded off. Our lives were significantly improved by giving her something to suck.


I have never for a moment regretted giving her a dummy. Needs must and we most certainly had a need. As H started teething (which started early despite it being months before something broke through) it helped her further. She would use it to get to sleep and then spit it out, often self-settling without it in the night. I never had a worries about a major dependency. That said, I often read so many negative comments and articles about parents using dummies that I couldn’t help but feel some mum-guilt.

Public opinion on dummies is certainly mixed. Many health professionals say that they can disrupt breastfeeding. There are also claims that using a dummy once teething starts can cause dental issues. But in contrast to that, letting a baby use a dummy as they fall asleep can reduce the risk of SIDS. General guidance is, where a dummy is needed, to wean off by the child’s first birthday. So despite my confidence in our decision to use a dummy, I targeted H turning one as the time to start weaning.


But her birthday came and went and I just didn’t feel she was ready. She self-weaned off the bottle (and to be honest, off the breast too) but I wasn’t getting any similar vibes from her about the dummy. She was teething heavily at that time and would often need the dummy to sleep. She’d only been using the dummy for naps and bedtime since about 8 months so I decided to re-evaluate at 18 months.

My new deadline passed with no weaning but a few weeks ago she started behaving very strangely with her dummy. She wanted it but didn’t. Whichever one we gave her, she’d want the one on the side. I asked nursery to try putting her for a nap without one and she conked out without any argument. So I tried at home and just got tears and anger. I think it was because she was getting tonsillitis. So I left her…until Friday when I went in to give her a drink in the evening and she’d chomped her way through her dummy. I mean there were several piercings all the way through from her little gnashers! I gave her a spare and all was ok. But then the next night she did it AGAIN! So I decided now was the time. From that moment, she had to go cold turkey.


She fell asleep without complaint for her Saturday nap. But she was overtired and still a bit unwell at bedtime so had a complete tantrum. I soothed her once (for her to have a tantrum again as soon as I put her down) but in the end I had to just leave her to cry for a bit. 10 minutes after we said goodnight and she was asleep. Since then she’s looked for it a couple of times but giving her an extra teddy for her cot seems to have been sufficient distraction.

So it’s official – we’ve weaned off the dummy. Hurrah! I’m not expecting we’re free-and-clear yet. But she’s gone 4 days now so there is no going back. Sam and I will need to learn how to soothe her without relying on the dummy…which I think we did a little more than we intended. It’s a relief to know that it’s done though! I’m certain that as with everything else, waiting until H showed signs of rejecting the dummy is what has made it reasonably pain free.

Although despite being relieved at getting rid of the dummy, I would never judge another parent for giving their child a dummy. I would never judge another parent for giving their child a dummy in the day time, or letting their child keep their dummy when they are 2 /3 years old. The stigma around dummies really aggravates me and it needs to stop. Some children need them and that’s that. I know if I were to go back to the few weeks after H was born, I would still do as I did!

The Pramshed
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

38 comments On Ditching the dummy

  • Well done on the weaning off the dummy. My daughter is 2 and still uses one. I have tried to take it off her and go cold turkey but she wasn’t having it at all. I felt really bad about her having it in case it has a dental impact but then I just thought, she wants it and it provides her comfort so she can have it.
    we are slowly getting to the point where she doesn’t rely on it as much. Especially at nursery, she never uses it, and mostly doesn’t want it in the day when she’s at home. She won’t settle at night without it though at the minute so that’s my next target. The sooner she doesn’t want it at all the better for her, and my pocket because they can be so expensive. Especially when she chews through them all the time!
    Thanks for sharing. #familyfun

    • Oh I completely understand. If you try and take it before they are ready then it won’t work. I think, to be honest, most dummies are designed to have minimal or no dental impact now. Plus unless she never ever takes it out, I’m sure it won’t do any damage. Given my previous failed attempts, my plan was to wait until she got older and then explain why she couldn’t have it. It was complete chance I got an opening to do it last week! The fact she was chewing them apart forced my hand really as there was a risk she’d swallow part of the teat and it would have also cost me a fortune in new ones like you are experiencing… She’s been a bit more grizzly when waking in the night the last couple of days so there have been repercussions!

      Your daughter will give it up eventually. Sounds like you are doing the right thing by not getting too stressed and taking it on small steps. Thanks for commenting and good luck!

  • My twins are two and they are so addicted to the pacis- I don’t know how I am ever going to break them of the habit…

    Kristin McCarthy recently posted…I Think I Might Be Having An Affair…My Profile

    • Yeh I definitely lucked out with this ‘window’ to get her off it. She was actually growing more attached to it again. Kids don’t have dummies when they get to school though so yours will give them up eventually! Thanks for reading and commenting x

  • I think sometimes it’s easy to worry about the next phase and how we are going to cope with it. We’ve never used a dummy but he used to have boob to sleep until a couple of weeks ago (hes 14month at time) when it suddenly didn’t work. For the last week I’ve been doing the night feed then putting him down he’s cried a bit but goes off to sleep. We’d put this off for months! Thank you for linking up to #familyfun.
    Karen : TwoTinyHands recently posted…#FamilyFun Week 6My Profile

    • Yeh, I got incredibly anxious about the dummy until I realised it didn’t matter. Once I did that, it happened naturally like with your little one. Glad you’ve managed to break to boob-to-sleep cycle now! #FamilyFun

  • Oh I love this! I didn’t give my first a dummy cause I was being a stuck up first time mum who didn’t want her daughter to have one aka as an idiot. With my second he seened so uncomfortable has horrible reflux and colic I didn’t hesitate and like you it made such s difference and I’m so glad I did! He is 15 months now and still has it, although mostly for naps and sleeps. That being said I have no major pressure to wean him off it. My OH wants to but I think I’ll know when the time is right and will do it then – like you did. Absolutely no judgement from me all hail the dummy! Thanks for sharing at #familyfun xx

  • My daughter is 2 and still uses hers for sleeping but I really want to start weaning her off it now but she’s definitely not interested in that idea! My son never had a dummy but then he sucked his thumb and that was a very hard habit to break as you couldn’t just take it away. He was 4 before we cracked that one so for me a dummy is definetly a better option x

    • Yes, I read comments saying let them use their thumb. But you can’t take a thumb away. Not sure any solutions are ideal. But then it’s so common for kids to need something to soothe them, so using a dummy should not be a big deal. Your daughter will give it up eventually. My daughter has just replaced chewing her dummy with chewing her favourite toy. Every morning it’s a soggy mess now. Thank goodness we have spares! Kids just like to chew…

  • I totally agree. Both of mine have had dummies and I don’t regret it for a second, we are just getting to the point with eldest where we are thinking about weaning her off of it. We will take her lead though, and certainly wont be upsetting her for the sake of a dummy at bedtime x

    The Tale of Mummyhood recently posted…National Trust – We Love You!My Profile

  • As the mouse is 2 at the end of the month I’m getting really tetchy about the fact she still has hers, and has no signs of letting go herself! In ll honesty, I hate seeing her lovely face with a bit of plastic in it, but she is so attached I am dreading the consequences of taking it away. It has to be done though…soon…
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub! And well done!

    • It’s a tough decision. They get real comfort from it. I’m sure if you do it gradually then she’ll adjust. Hope it goes well when you brave it and thanks for commenting x

  • We had a somewhat similar experience, little man kept biting, it got to the point I was sick of buying more and told him the last one would not be replaced and if he bit it that was it… few days later he bit it and i reminded him of what i’d said and within 2 days he’d forgotten/topped asking about it and that was that! x #coolmumclub
    Claire recently posted…Our day at Hampton Court CastleMy Profile

    • They are very fickle little things at times. Something can be ‘the most important thing ever’ until it’s take away and then actually they didn’t want it really! Thanks for reading and commenting x

  • My son is almost 2 and still uses a pacifier at night. Whatever he needs to fall asleep, right? We did get him off using it during the day at least.

    • Oh definitely! If he’s not showing signs of wanting to give it up then definitely best to stick with the status quo for now. I only managed to get rid of it because she was chewing them. If she hadn’t I think I would have left it until she was talking more so I could try and explain. It hasn’t come without a cost. She’s now chatting a lot more rather than going to sleep and her Lamb toy is mangled and soggy by the morning. Yuk! Good luck when you do try but until then enjoy peaceful evenings because he has a source of comfort πŸ™‚ thanks for reading and commenting x

  • We’ve been dummy free for 4 days now and at first there was no issue but he’s woken up teething today so I’m trying to stay strong and not give it to him. Lots of cuddles instead. #fortheloveofblog
    Emma recently posted…Law of Attraction Update – Money ManifestationMy Profile

    • Sounds tough! I would have failed miserably to take her dummy during teething. Hopefully he’ll cope without it but if he doesn’t then so be it. He’ll give it up eventually!

  • Well done for managing it so early. Definitely something I would try to do if I were to have a second. People who criticise other parents for letting their kids have dummies when they’re ‘too old’ really grate on me. It seems to be something that they feel they are allowed an opinion on. Yes while it might not be ideal, each parents set of circumstances are different and I don’t think it’s something that should be judged. Mine was three when he gave his up and thankfully it went relatively easily considering he loved it so much. When they have them from such an early age it seems a big thing for them to give up – afterall, they don’t know any different. It’s a tricky one but certainly one that shouldn’t be judged! Well done you though πŸ™‚ #coolmumclub
    Jaki recently posted…Our Torquay Mini Break & The Crowndale HotelMy Profile

    • I absolutely agree! If she’d had to keep it longer I really would not have cared. But the fact she was chewing them so much made it too risky; She would have ended up swallowing a bit. The stigma around dummies is so upsetting though. Part of me has always felt embarrassed she had one even though the other part of me knew it was needed. You’re totally right that removing a dummy is a massive thing for a toddler when they’ve always known it. Sounds like it went well with your son…and probably because you did it when it felt right for the two of you, not for ‘society’! Thanks for reading and commenting x

  • I don’t know people go on and on about dummies. we used one with b until about 6 months and then he just didn’t want it. instead he is completely glued to his muslin blanket – still at three! and now people keep telling us we need to ditch that. he is happy though and it provides comfort. im not overly worried. well done for persevering on the dummy and you just have to do what is best in those early days πŸ™‚ #KCACOLS
    Emma recently posted…Choosing a Primary School: Ofsted – What Does it Really Mean?My Profile

  • My older daughter never wanted a dummy (and we did try one for her) and so I was happy to go without using one for my son buy he suffered with silent reflux and the GP insisted it would help as they produce more saliva. So we basically got him used to having one around 2/3 months old. Now he’s 7 months old I would like to wean him off them asap and I find some days he can go without one all day quite happily. Also, my husband is much quicker to offer the dummy than I am so I think it will be a case of weaning my husband off them and not just the baby! Like you said, it’s just finding other ways to comFort. #KCACOLS

    • You’re quite right! My daughter gave her dummy up without complaint during the day at about 7 months. I think it was me using it to calm her quickly rather than her wanting / needing it. She just started demanding snacks instead! Sounds like you definitely need to re-train your husband and then just take it gradually. I figure they don’t have them by school so they’ll give them up eventually! Thanks for your comment x

  • Piglet was given a dummy on the day he was born by the neonatal nurses to help him settle. At 7 and a half months he is still a firm user of the dummy, but like you I have its fall from grace firmly in my sights! I don’t mind him using it for now but it is about to find itself a nap time only object. The time has come! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday
    OddHogg recently posted…Menu Plan Monday – 17th October 2016My Profile

    • Getting rid of it in the day was reasonably painless for us actually. Because she was eating finger food, any bouts of upset could be calmed with a rice cake instead – haha! Hope your weaning goes well but don’t stress if it doesn’t happen first time. Seems to happen eventually πŸ™‚ thanks for reading x

  • I couldn’t relate more with a post because we are going through something similar. I was planning to wean my baby off the dummy by one and now it has been a week and I still didn’t. My husband says he hates seeing our baby upset or crying for his dummy. I’m going to try cold turkey very soon fingers crossed it works for us I’m so happy it worked for you #KCACOLS

    • It’s a really difficult step. When they’ve known no different in life, it will take time to get used to it not being there. My daughter does chew her toy Lamb a LOT more now so she’s certainly replaced it with something else. Good luck with your next attempt but remember if it doesn’t work then just give it a bit more time or do it gradually. Your LO will give it up eventually! Thank-you so much for reading and your comment x

  • You has to do what is right for your child, if she isn’t ready to give it up yet then it’s probably not worth forcing the issue. I never used them with my two, I have one thumb sucker (can’t remove that!) and one who doesn’t use anything…. every child is different.
    Kirsty – Winnettes recently posted…My Top 5 Pieces of Important Mummy KnowledgeMy Profile

    • Quite right. I thought she’d be a thumb sucker but then wanted the dummy. I think she’s actually now a chewer. She’s got all but her back molars but she still chews and chews and chews! Thanks for commenting x

  • Well done. Cygnet is 2 and we still use the dummy to get him
    To sleep at night. It falls out once he falls asleep and we never use it during the day not even to get him to nap so I am not worried about it. Well done you though. Weaning from anything can be tough. You stood your ground. Pen x #KCACOLS

    • Sounds like you are only using it when you need to, so definitely doesn’t sound like you need to be worried. My LO has just replaced her dummy with chewing her toys so believe most little ‘uns need something for comfort! Thanks for reading and commenting x

  • My sons 8 months and uses one, we are looking to wean him at 12 months because he isn’t particularly reliant on it. He can fall asleep without it and generally has it only at naptimes, bedtimes or in the car if it’s needed. I’m glad you had an easy weaning journey! #KCACOLS
    Louise recently posted…An Autumnal walk around RHS WisleyMy Profile

    • Sounds similar to my daughter, although she was less able to fall asleep without it and suddenly developed a real attachment to it again during heavy teething at about 12 months. Sounds like you are in a really good place to try and slowly remove it as-and-when you are ready. Good luck when you do but don’t stress out if it doesn’t work immediately. It will happen eventually. Thanks for reading and commenting x

  • Well done for weaning of the dummy, it does sound hard, however you kept going and it worked. As parents we do what’s best for our children, and if a dummy means that they are going to be soothed, to feel comforted and sleep, then we do what’s best for them. Keep remembering that she’s not going to have a dummy when she’s 18. Ignore everyone else. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x
    The Pramshed recently posted…A Dribble Stop Top ReviewMy Profile

    • She’s struggling a bit now without it, but I’m not sure it would give her the relief that she wants because she wants to chew things. Am going to give her her teething ring in the cot from today to see if that offers any relief. Nap time didn’t go well though so we’re not off to the best start in testing it πŸ˜‰ Thanks for comenting x

  • It’s strange with the dummies. Our first spat it out whenever we tried it to soothe him at bedtimes. We didn’t even think to try a dummy with our youngest when she wouldn’t settle and would eat so much that she’d puke in her cot when we put her down. But as soon as we did, she went down with no problems. She’s almost 11 months now and goes to sleep with the dummy every night. The two babies have been so different – reason enough never to judge anyone for using dummies.

    • You’re so right! I understand that there are negatives to them but there are positives too, as we’ve both experienced. The massive generalisation and judgement that happens really frustrates me. Let parents do what is best! Thanks for reading x

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About Me

Hello, I'm Angela. I'm Mum to two small people (6 & 3). I'm a Gardener, houseplant obsessed and addicted to tea. By day I work in tech and also look after my littles. I'm trying to get our family to live a more sustainable life. I also have far too many opinions...hence the blog. You can read more about me here. You can also follow me on Instagram for mainly plant spam. Hope you enjoy reading!

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