We gave our oldest daughter a pacifier or dummy when she started daycare. Just like any other little babies, we used it to calm her down and also to make her fell asleep. We keep giving her pacifiers which is age appropriate. So, when she was 3 months we gave her the one for 0-6 months old, then when she is 6 months we gave the one for 6-12 months, and so on. It goes even after her first tooth appeared. We even brushed the dummy while brushing her teeth.
Then when she was 2 years old, we decided to loosen up with the dummy. Since she goes to the daycare and acquiesce well with her teachers/carers there, we make an arrangement with the teacher. The arrangement was whenever my daughter went to bed for her daytime nap, she will not be given her dummy. Instead she will be given two Mickey and Minnie Mouse dolls to be held until she is asleep. That part goes really well and went on until now (Mickey and Minnie no longer in use but they are still there if she wants them).
The hard part is to enforce the same tactics at home. We are quite loose with her since we are the parents thus our emotional level while dealing with our daughter is quite high. In short, we surrender easily with her. It is not good, I know. So for days we keep telling her that “dummy is for babies” or “dummy is not good for you” and also ask her “can you sleep without the dummy?” We also start to show disregard to her dummy and her sleeping with it. At 2, she was only using the dummy to go to bed. We were stricter with it as well, no dummy outside bedroom. After that went well, our limit got more restricted. No dummy outside bed time and outside bedroom. Both me and my husband no longer scrambled to search for the dummy whenever she cried for it. If she asked we will let her look for it and get it herself.
We asked our friend who is a dentist, and she said that dummy is better be off when children are two years old. Because mostly they already have full milk teeth (around 20 teeth) so her jaws are starting to be fixed. The actual teeth, ones which will come out at the age 5 or 6 and up, will follow the form of the fixed jaw lines. So it is better to take it off completely by age 2. We were determined after hearing it, that we will put the dummy to rest for good.
To speed things up, we also cheat a little. Well, I will not call it a ‘cheat’ but a ‘trick’. What we did is we break the rubbery part of the dummy slowly by slowly. First was the front most part of the rubber, the one which entered her mouth first. And then we clean and sterilize it regularly so it become soft. And then we break it again. Again until only small part left in the handle. I realized that this was quite dangerous but it worked. She also helped ruining her own dummy. I think she thought that once this one is completely broken, she will get a new one. But we never make such promise so we never even talk about a new dummy.
Now she is dummy free. She still ask for it every now and then but we always give the broken dummy. Once we handed that over to her, she will not do anything with it.
So, as parents, we should be prepared with tricks. I will think of another trick for my youngest one who is still using her dummy.
Photo: alamy stock