How to wean your baby or infant off their dummy

It's never easy weaning your baby off their dummy. I sometimes wonder who it is actually hardest for the parent or the baby/infant.

For babba it has become a best buddy that goes with them everywhere, helps them out when bored, soothes them when distressed, distracts them from other things and so often helps them to get to sleep. The dummy also works as a preoccupation when they're feeling grisly if a little poorly too.

As for the parent, a dummy can be a total life saver in times of need. If your baby has a dummy (as not every baby does) it's the one thing you forget once, but then always remember to take with you wherever and whenever you are taking baby out, ANYWHERE. It stops embarrassingly shrinking moments when you really don't want a screaming baby = maybe a trip to the doctors, a coffee at a café or standing in line at the supermarket checkout. After all, no-one wants to be "the one" with the crying baby. And the easiest way to soothe or distract a disgruntled young one is to give the quickest remedy: their dummy! And why not if it works?

There are those that sneer at dummies and think that they are a bad idea, that they allow babies to form an unhealthy attachment. In my many tried and tested opinion, I say that is complete rubbish. Dummies are very helpful both for mum and baby, but I would say, that they, like most things have a time limit.

If you don't want your baby to be a dummy sucking toddler, then its best that you wean him/her off their dummy before they reach the six months mark (actually 4-6 months is what is generally recommended) as at this stage it is not such a hard habit to break. At six months, babies are still being babies, and although they know what they like, they habits are not yet solidly formed.

How to wean off the dummy

Okay, so you've tried all the usual tactics and nothing seems to working. Distractions and new toys simply aren't doing the trick. Nothing but the dummy will do! Well I won't try and preach to the converted, but here is a little trick that will work for sure.

Give your baby their dummy!

But first get into crafty little imp mode and pierce it with a needle or pin. This will impair the sucking satisfaction of the dummy. Of course your baby will persevere, but will also be wondering why it isn't so much fun anymore. Slowly sabotage the dummy. Firstly add extra pin pricks, and then make a proper hole. Some people say you can also go as far as cutting away at that hole until the dummy rubber is all but gone. I have never gone this far and have always found that once sucking satisfaction is gone, babies are ready for their next fix. A warning however, that if you cut away at the dummy you must do so in a fashion that there are no loose bits for baby to choke on. Be very fastidious in ensuring this please.

So there you go, if the usual techniques are not working for you, go get crafty over the next week and destroy that dummy. It's a very interesting procedure to watch and as soon as you sense that your baby is definitely losing interest, come in with another distraction that will be warmly welcomed.

Good luck to any exasperated mummies out there reading this!