You could call me a 'Dummy Mummy' (though I really wouldn't mind if you called me a 'Yummy Mummy' instead) but, if you read The Soother Saga – Part I you would know how the soother aka dummy
has had been an integral part of Little Man's life till very recently. Hence making me an expert (in my opinion) on dummies and how to wean toddlers off them.
The tips below are tried-and-tested by mums and childcare experts, and I'm happy to say that some worked on Little Man too.
1. Go cold turkey
Some bad habits are best broken what I call the 'fast and furious' way. Like a band-aid. Just strip it off, bear the initial bout of pain, and then its over. However, this is easier said than done and in the case of weaning your toddler off the soother, I'd say decide upon this method depending on a) the personality of your toddler (if he is resilient/ stubborn then going cold turkey might not work) and b) the level of addiction to the soother. You know your child best so do what your gut tells you.
2) Cut off the tip
Chop off the tip of the dummy so that toddler won't get the same feeling of comfort when sucking on it. The next day, chop off a little more, and keep at it till toddler can't keep the dummy in his mouth anymore. He will get irritated and will leave it himself.
To make toddler understand what is happening, you could tell him beforehand that since he is now a big boy, his paci is becoming too small for him, and that it will soon fall off. It worked a charm on Little Man.
3) Make it taste horrible
This trick works if you want to gradually wean toddler off the dummy. Dip it in vinegar or salt when you don't want toddler to take it. Again, to make him understand why his dummy is suddenly tasting horrible, tell him it is getting dirty now and must be put/thrown away. (I did this when Little Man used to ask for it during playtime; and told him that during awake time it becomes dirty and is only meant for bedtime).
4) The Soother Fairy
This trick works well with older toddlers, who are able to understand the concept of a soother fairy (like a tooth fairy). Decide on a date and make toddler leave his dummy under his pillow for the soother fairy to take away, gifting him with something he really wants as a reward.
5) The big boy/big girl talk
Again, this trick works better on older toddlers. Keep telling your toddler how big he is and how he does so many big boy things now (pee on the potty/ sleeps in a big boy bed/ rides a scooter) and that the dummy is for babies. He might just throw it away himself!
6) A grand farewell party
To reinforce point 5, tell your toddler that when he does throw his dummy away, he can have a grand farewell party for it. Set a date for him to throw it away (just before his birthday / before Christmas or any other special occasion) and throw a bye-bye party for the dummy. He will be so excited with the balloons and cake, he won't even realise he's soother-less.
7) Other babies need it now…
Your toddler must be old enough to empathise, or else this trick won't work. Once you start the big boy/ big girl talk, tell your toddler that other smaller babies need his dummy now. This might prompt your little one to let go of it, making him feel very proud of his good deed. (You could also combine this trick with the Soother Fairy story, telling your toddler that the fairy will give his soother to another baby).
Read 'The Soother Saga – Part I' to find out how I battled – and won – my son's dummy addiction
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