Weaning off a dummy or thumb

Lots of people have loaded feelings and opinions about dummies – even adults who have no connection with your child. Figure out what works for you while focusing on your child's wellbeing.

Some children stop using dummies by themselves. Maybe they're little chatterboxes who want to talk a lot, or maybe they don't need a dummy as much any more.

Further reading:
Dummies, the suckling reflex and feeling safe and secure and Advice on dummies and thumb-sucking

Give it time
There's no right age at which all kids should stop using dummies. When parents think their child is ready to give them up, they can start planning for it. Remember that the dummy is an important source of comfort for the child, so this process needs respect and may take time.

Plan with your child
It's helpful to include your child in the planning process when it's time to give up their dummy. A good initial approach could be to stop using the dummy in the daytime, and only have it for rests and bedtime. Maybe do a few extra fun things together during the transitional period. Remember the dummy is something that has given your child comfort and security time after time.

Setbacks don't matter
If your child gets too desperate for their dummy you can start again, with a new goal set farther forward. You'll manage eventually, and there's no hurry. Although if your child is still sucking on a dummy when they reach school age, there is a chance they'll be teased. If they're sucking their thumb, it could affect the position of their teeth. Guidelines often state that it is good if the child can stop using dummies before they reach school age.

Thumb-sucking is tougher to manage
Doing away with thumb-sucking can be tougher, because the child's thumb is always there, but it usually works out. The adults may worry about this more than the child. How many teenagers do you see sucking on a dummy or their thumb? The issue generally resolves itself over time.
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