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parents panel

Parents Panel: Readers share their tips for weaning kids off the dummy

We asked our panel of mums and dads how to ditch the dummy without the tantrums.

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AS PART OF’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. 

Some parents never offer their little ones a dummy, or purchase one only for it to be spat out a few months in. For other families, the dummy can be a constant presence and the only key to tantrum-free car journeys… or bedtimes… or supermarket trips.

If your family falls into the latter category, figuring out how to eventually get your little one to ditch the dummy can be tricky. What’s the best way to do it, without subjecting your child (and you) to minor trauma?

This week we’re asking our panel all about dummies, soothers and dodies…

If your child used a dummy, how did you wean them off of it?

Here’s what they had to say…

Parents Panel All 7 - Copy - Copy Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly

We’ll try ‘planting’ it in the garden: Tymek is 2.5 and is extremely attached to his dodies, although he only uses them only for night time. We feel it’s time to lose that habit but we’re not sure how to approach it. Friends of mine “planted” their kid’s dodies in the garden – and the next day there were lollipops growing in place of soothers. I think that’s a nice way to do it.

- Marta Lisiecka 

She gave hers up during a throat infection: I never gave dummies to my eldest two, but with Ellie Mae it was totally different: she cried from morning til night. A dummy didn’t stop the screaming (it usually just fell out of her mouth) but she used hers for about ten months all the same. Eventually she gave it up herself – she had a very bad throat infection and it was hurting her to suck on it. She threw it away and never looked for it again. I think I got off lucky.

- Denise Cumiskey 

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He handed it over to Santa (reluctantly): Daniel spat his soother out when he was three weeks old and never touch one after that, but Nathan held onto them for dear life. He used them until he was three and used to have at least two of them stashed around the house at any time. Eventually, in the run up to Christmas one year, we told him that he would have to give his soothers to Santa so that he could get big boy presents. We brought him to see Santa and he – reluctantly – handed them over. There were a lot of tears, but he never went back to them.

- Ken Hyland

He didn’t use one, and he was grand: We made a conscious decision before our son was born that we would try not to use a dummy with him. He was grand without it. In a way it allowed him to express himself more and for us to really try to understand what was bothering him instead of giving him a dummy.  

- Olly Keegan 

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He ditched it six months in – but I wouldn’t have minded leaving it later: When Charlie was first born, I was really resistant to using a ‘dodie’. But around six weeks or so, we gave him one. It was such a relief one day when he was inconsolable, screaming and then – just like that – entirely soothed with the dodie. I laughed at myself, thinking, ‘Why would I deny him such simple comfort?’ As for getting him off of it, Charlie decided himself by about six months that he didn’t want it anymore. There were definitely times when I have wished he would use one (tough bedtimes/car rides) but overall, I’m pleased with the outcome!

- Kait Quinn

She wants her soother all the time: Clíodhna had no real interest in soothers until her teething kicked in with a vengeance at the age of one. We’re going through another teething spell now and she wants a soother all of the time. It’s very hard to say no when you know she’s using it to ease the pain.

- Ríona Flood 

Our kids never used them: Our eldest never took to dummies. We didn’t try too hard to push the issue with her and because of that we didn’t try at all with her siblings. They were all breastfed, so maybe that negated the need.

- Ross Boxshall

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More Parents Panel: Readers share the differences between their first and second pregnancies>

More Parents Panel: What one item has made it easier for your little one to fall asleep?>

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