Whatever you call them – dummy, pacifier, binkie, hushy, doo doo. My kids were addicted to them. Hudson was premature so he had one from the start in Special Care. I was worried when he turned two. How on earth were we going to get rid of it? I really didn’t have to worry at all with him. Luckily, Scarlett arrived and when he saw his new baby sister with a dummy he decided he was a big boy, threw all of his in the bin and never looked back.
Scarlett, well she has a different story. She loved her dummy and turned 3 with no signs of wanting to give it up. She really only ever used it for sleep at home, but if anything she was trying to ramp up the use instead of cutting it out. She would hop in the car after childcare and request it immediately, sometimes I would find her hiding in her bedroom having a little ‘dummy time’ as she wasnt meant to have it other than at bedtime. She was like a closet smoker.
Since Easter was coming we decided that the Easter bunny would take the dummies and give them to the babies who need them. In the weeks leading up to Easter we discussed it and she was fine with it. She understood and said she wouldn’t cry.
The day arrived and once the excitement of Easter morning wore off, Scarlett started looking for her dummies, only to discover they were gone. She complained on and off throughout the day and had a few tantrums. When bedtime came she was completely lost, she kept getting in and out of bed with any excuse. Drinks, toilet, sore hair, monsters, itchy foot, hungry…..the list goes on. The first night she didn’t really settle until around 11pm and woke up a few times in the night saying she was lonely without her dummies. The second night was much the same and after getting up to her 4 times I asked my followers for tips.
One of my followers suggested writing a letter from the Easter Bunny saying thank you for the dummies and giving her some money to go and purchase a little toy specifically to take to bed with her. Scarlett has a lot of stuffed toys but no real favourites and I did notice on the nights when she was unsettled she was asking for different toys, but none were helping.
The next day she arrived home from kinder, checked the letter box and found her letter. Scarlett was very impressed with her praise from the Easter Bunny and $10. We went to the shops that afternoon where she picked a teddy for bedtime. Bedtime rolled around and I was quietly dreading it, however, she still asked for a dummy but was excited to sleep with her new bear. Guess what! She slept all night with no problems and has every night since *insert cheers and clinking of glasses*. We still have moments where she asks for the dummy (especially if she is upset), but for now her sleeping has improved and for me that is the important part.
I guess every child is different but this really worked for us. Scarlett just needed comfort, something to replace the dummy and something specifically associated with sleep.
Some other tips included:
- Using white noise to help her settle if she woke up in the night.
- Giving her a dummy that is cut so she can still hold it but not suck on it.
- Just persisting and waiting until she forgets about it (apparently about a week or so).
- Giving her a reward like a sticker each morning after a no dummy sleep.
- Letting her have it until she is ready to give it away (I was concerned this could be at 18).
The main advice I received was to just stay strong, be consistent and persist. I only lasted two nights and almost gave in at 4am on the 2nd night, but I’m glad I didn’t.
In hindsight we should have ditched the dummy earlier, but that’s not always as easy as it sounds. It was her only comfort and to be honest I just didn’t want to deal with it.
Do you have a tip for ditching the dummy? I’d love to hear.