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Dummy/Pacifier :How to Wean your baby off it

Updated on May 27, 2009

Getting your child to ditch the dummy/pacifier

In this lens I have tried to explain a little bit about the reasons why the dummy should be ditched .I will also tell you the step by step methodology you can use if you having difficulty in getting your baby to ditch the dummy.

Babies have a natural sucking reflex so pacifier / dummy is a great source of comfort for them.Many Health Professionals believe that dummy use should be restricted from around six months of age and that the use of a dummy or pacifier should end by the age of one, however as babies differ, age is not set in stone.You may have your own different reasons as why you want your baby to ditch their dummy,here are a few important reasons you may not be aware of.

Are U Aware That A Dummy/Pacifier Is Actually Bad For Kids?

Reasons Why a Dummy or a Pacifier Is Bad for Your Child

Find out the hazards of using a dummy .You may not be even aware of some of them!

Increased ear infections: There is a proven link between prolonged dummy use and ear infections. Sucking on a dummy increases the chance of an infection back tracking from the mouth into the Eustachian tube (the narrow channels that run between the ears and the throat).babies tubes are very small and can easily get blocked.

Link to stomach and other infections: Dummy can harbour many germs therefore they pose a risk to the baby .symptoms such as vomiting, fever, diarrhoea and colic. May be due to a dummy.

Teething/dental problems: Dummy / Pacifier can lead to improper teething and growth and development,especially if your baby is still using their dummy when they have their adult/permanent / second set of teeth. Always try to at least use an orthodontic one available from most chemists and baby stores etc.

The child in the picture used pacifiers until 3 years old, and now has serious problems biting and chewing food .This is because if you notice the top and bottom teeth are no longer connected.

Speech impediments: You should always remove the dummy from your baby's mouth when they speak and try to get them to speak more by asking/talking to them rather than keep pointing at various items or objects.

Have a Look At the Orthodontic Dummy /Pacifiers

If you are not using an Orthodontic Dummy /Pacifier then you may consider changing your baby's dummy to one, as it may avoid problems with his teeth.At least do it till she is ready to come off it.

Deprogramming Your Child Off The Dummy / Pacifier

How to help your child come off the dummy / pacifier

Remember all the times your baby whined or cried, and they were given the dummy /

pacifier.They were programmed to learn that when they were upset this was part of the way they were comforted.Now we are going to kind of "de-programme" them to think that they don't need this any longer.

To be honest its not going to be an easy path for them or fun for you . So as a parent you will have to take several steps to achieve this goal for your baby.

Skansen is an outdoor museum and a zoological park in Sweden. As you may notice the garlands above are not Hawaiian flower decorations but made from pacifiers and dummies. Here, when children are old enough to lose their pacifiers or dummy, are asked to hang them in this tree.

You too can use this idea, why not make a Dummy Plant in your play group!.

Ditching the Dummy Step 1 : Involve your Baby

Ok, lets get rid of that dummy, FOREVER !

Don't just turn up one day and snatch the dummy / soother / pacifier from their mouth or hand.The trick is to make you're the baby feel involved every step of the way and to let them feel that it is partly their decision too!

So sit them down, make sure you are at eye level with them, and speak softly, clearly and slowly so they understand.Simply explain that as they are getting older now they don't have to use this dummy which is for small babies.Don't say never, they will be told that in later steps.

Now you may be met by screams of "no" "no" "no" or tantrums and tears but don't make an issue of it, this is a good sign that they understood you and know what lies in the future for them and their dummy.You will re-iterate this point to them at least once every day, no more is needed, too much pressure on your child will not help achieve their dummy free life.There is no set time scale in your task, patience is a virtue and you will need your patience as anger never gets the right results.

Much Loved Dummy Ditching Book

This book has helped a lot of parents in getting their child to ditch the dummy /pacifier.One parent tells us about it.

Bye-Bye Binky
Bye-Bye Binky

This book really helped us to lay the groundwork to finally take away our three year old daughter's pacifier/dummy. At first she just loved that there were binkies in the book. Soon she began to get involved with the story and tell us that the binky was yucky after having been on the ground, etc. Soon I had my daughter tell me the story and she would enthusiastically yell "bye bye binky" at the end. We tried to send the binky away on a balloon but it was too heavy. In the end we got our daughter to throw her own binky away and we used this story to remind her that she was a big girl and didn't need it anymore. My daughter was a serious binky addict and this book really helped us!


Step 2 : Slowly Wean Your Baby off the Dummy

In order for your child to give up their dummy or pacifier, you will have to remove the habit that has formed in their mind.You have to get your baby used to the idea of not having their dummy / pacifier and you have to let your baby see that they can cope without the dummy, in fact they will see they can be happy without the dummy at all.

Now you are going to have the patience of a saint, there are testing times ahead but you have to be strong for your baby. As a parent you are responsible for teaching them and guiding them to a happy and healthy life, they are totally dependant on you.Now its up to you which way you would like to perform this step.

a) Distraction Method: You can choose a certain time of the day, say 9am until 10am, when no matter what happens your baby wont get their dummy, you don t tell your child that this is the case, instead if they are upset or crying you are going to use your skills to distract them in other ways, you know what comforts you child but don t use the dummy.

b) Vanishing Act: You could just remove the dummy whenever the child seems uninterested in using it, ie. anytime you see the dummy / pacifier you will take it away, out of sight out of mind they say. Often when the child sees the dummy they immediately want it, so removing it from their eyesight is n excellent way to take their mind off it.

c) Lost and Found: Pretend to your child that the dummy is lost. Then make a game of finding it,obviously you wont find out, instead you will use this opportunity to distract their attention and focus it on something else. Find a toy, book, when you are looking for the dummy.

d) Your own way!: Each and every child has different needs and behaviours.Obviously you know what your baby needs, if you think of another way then use that,The steps here are just guidelines for you and your baby.

Another good tip is never let your child have a favourite dummy , always change it to a new one, different colour etc, we don t want them getting familiar with any dummy.

Ditching the Dummy Step 3 : Alternative Methods of Comfort

Up until now your child has used their dummy or pacifier for comfort. So now they need an alternative to comfort.Obviously we are not going to bribe them or buy them gifts, we are not swapping a dummy or pacifier for something else they will have to give up. Your baby is upset and needs comfort from you.

Imagine how you feel when your upset, maybe frustrated, hurt or angry.Baby feels exactly the same.

Communication is an excellent way of finding out why they are upset so you can therefore remedy the situation, make sure you ask in a soft voice tone and have direct eye contact with them. Touch them, its very comforting to know someone is there for you when your upset, especially when you re a child, give them a hug, hold their hand, sit them on your knee etc, show them you care.

Distract them, we all know how to distract our child from their upset frame of mind.Maybe take them into the bathroom and run the water, children love running water,even let them put their hands or feet in it or read them their favourite story, you know what will distract them. If all else fails and your child will only respond to the dummy or pacifier, then give them it, we haven t got to the step where they have dumped that dummy !

Step 4 : Leave the House Without a Dummy or Pacifier

Don t Panic ! It wont be that bad. If this fills you with dread don t let it. Just take little steps at a time, I don t mean go out for a whole day without the dummy, start off little but aim big!

A trip to the swing park, feeding the ducks, take them swimming, anything that will amuse your child and show them that they don t need a dummy to have happy and good times.Gradually you will increase the time that you are out the house without the dummy,observe your child when you are out, remember the time it took for them to ask for their dummy, or start to need it. This will help you avoid any screaming matches and those strained looks from other people.By the way, never mind what other people think, your baby is upset and they are your priority, not the disapproving look of some strangers.Restrict dummy use to key times during the day, such as bedtime or when your child is unwell.

Reward your child with fun activities, or stickers charts, but not sweets or candy! When you are out make sure you point out any other boys or girls who are not using a dummy, it will make them feel more grown up.You are aiming to get your child used to large amounts of time without their dummy,This will help when you both take the final step in ditching the dummy.

Step 5: Ditching the Dummy FOREVER

Ok the time has come, can you say yes to all of the following statements?

1. You have gradually decreased the amount of time your child uses their dummy, i.e they can go for long periods of time without using it.

2. Your child is aware that they will be giving up their dummy.

3. You are confident that you can comfort your child when they are distressed without the use of a dummy

Yes? Great, then you are ready.

One final step, as a grand gesture, you can have a pretend ceremony for your child to get rid of their dummy, the purpose of this is to let your child see that the Dummy is gone, forever and never to return. Girls love Fairies, so the fairies came one night and took her dummy for a little baby fairy.One person tied their child s dummy to a helium filled balloon and let it float away up in the clouds, gone forever ! Another gave her child s dummy to the Bin Man, Trash Man and he

threw it in the back of the Trash / Bin Lorry.

It is important that your child knows the dummy is gone, and they see that it is never coming back.



Was it a mistake putting your child on the dummy habit?

Do you think a dummy or a pacifier is good for children or is it some marketing fad?

Do you think all this yak yak about weaning baby off the dummy makes any sense?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I did not no that about what it can do to the teeth and ears very good information my friend has a little girl of 3 and she has a dummy & I keep tilling her to get her of it i will tell her about this thanks hopefully she will get her of it i think it looks awful on a kid its an unhealthy addiction

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I just snatched my sons dummy away.... In return he wacked me up side the head with a children's black and Decker hammer dad gummit

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Another great book I've found is 'The Diddy Tree' by Michelle Mckenna..

      It's a great little story and lots of my friends have found it brilliant in getting their little ones to give up their dummies..

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens - I think it's a great idea to a wean a baby off at a young age - I did this with mine and it was a great idea!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      @anonymous: iamhain major problems too with my son when he aound his grandmama or granddady he don't want i but when he at home with me he wants it .he will take it out and misplace it will have o buy im another because his cry and want go to at daycare he will bit other kids or even tke theres i had stop working just to see f that wounld help and it don't

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I was having major problems with my son's binky use; well actually it was more along the lines of a binky addiction!! My friend absolutely raved about the cut method, and all of the psychology behind it. She found it on , which is great that it was also free. We went with it and OMGosh... worked so beautifully for my son with NO tantrums, not even one! Thank you God. Five days later he did not want anything to do with his binky. What a relief it was to all of us to finally be done with those darn binkies. Highly recommended! I am also interested in others experiences.... Bella


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