This is an item of childhood that I really believe in. I’m not sure why some parents refuse to let their children have dummies but if it is because they don’t want children who wander around all day long with a dummy constantly in their mouths then I can understand. But I have an idea to prevent that from happening while still allowing your child to have a dummy whenever they please.
This is a technique I used on Jack and am now using on Lucy and it is absolutely fabulous. As soon as your child is old enough to take a dummy out and put a dummy in her mouth then you attach it to her favorite teddy bear or soft toy. Preferably not with a string or ribbon as this could get tangled during sleep but you’ll find that most dummies have a little handle on them and teddy’s arm or ear can be squeezed through here. It takes quite a bit of shaking before it comes off but, inevitably, she will eventually learn how to pull it off and it will have to be stitched on but with me, this occurred around the time I stop sterilizing dummies and bottles and stuff (1 year or thereabouts) and the dummy can be easily washed under the tap without removing it from the soft toy. The whole point of doing this is that if your child wants to suck a dummy then she has to carry the soft toy. If she wants to do something with her hands (which is half the time!) then she has to put the toy down and the dummy has to come out.
When the time comes for talking, it’s hard enough understanding a new talker without having to hear them through a dummy so I simply respond to what she is saying by asking her to take her dummy out of her mouth and I won’t respond with any other answer until she has done so. Eventually, she will learn to take the dummy out of her mouth before she speaks.
When the time comes to remove the dummy, I usually wait until he actually starts destroying them with his teeth. Lucy has just started at 2, Jack started at 3. I’ll replace it once, twice and then the third time. I will tell him that it is the last one and there are no more after that. He destroys it, I remove it from teddy bear and explain that there are no more dummies and that’s it. With Jack it took all of 24 hours of repeating to him that there were no more dummies until he got over it completely and I pass all credit for that onto his teddy bear who was there to comfort him in his time of need.
And that is my take on the ever-comforting, quickly-silencing and shortly-missed pacifier. The only thing I will mention before signing off is that there has been one occasion when I have given my kids a dummy off the soft toy and that is when they are in an environment where I just can’t deal with them putting stuff into their mouths. Normally, I am ok with my kids exploring the world with their mouths as I believe that this is a natural way that they build up their immune systems. But when I just don’t want to deal with the prospect of an old dog bone, or worse, potentially poisonous or chokable seeds and nuts, I use the dummy as a “mouth cork” so to speak, and it works beautifully.
Your questions, comments or criticisms on this subject are most welcome.
Over and out.