Yay!!!! After nearly 3 years of the dummy we have finally ditched it. Alyssias been 2 weeks without her dummy now and I am SO proud of her. She was attached to it and has used it as a comfort (particularly at bedtime) for the past few years. I’ve had lots of questions asking how we did it so I thought I’d write a blog post to explain it all. For the first 2 years, Alyssia always had her dummy by her side, whether it was in her hand, her mouth or attached to her with a dummy clip, she always had it. When she turned 2 we decided it was time to start taking it away, we wanted to encourage her to talk more and not rely on it as much for comfort but she wasn’t keen on the idea. She moved into a toddler bed aged 2 and we thought that would be the perfect time to take it away but it wasn’t, there was too many changes happening and she couldn’t cope with it all.
After a few months we took it away in the day time and only let her have it at bedtime. She got into the habit of giving it to me or throwing it over the stair gate every morning because she knew she wasn’t allowed it unless it was bedtime. This was a big change for her and in the day when she would ask for it, I would distract her and say “no, it’s not bedtime yet is it.. you can have it at bedtime” this seemed to work for us. I stopped taking it out in the changing bag ‘just in case’ and knew that she could do it.
When she turned 2 and a half we went to her 2 year review with the health visitors and they mentioned potty training and taking the dummy away, the thought of it terrified me because I was just a few weeks away from giving birth to her baby sister. We attempted potty training and she got the hang of it quite quickly but I didn’t want there to be too many changes for her so decided to let her keep the bedtime dummy. At Christmas we tried to put it on the Christmas tree for Father Christmas to take to the other babies, she agreed at first and put it on the tree like a bauble but as soon as bedtime came, she wasn’t having any of it. She wasn’t ready. Fast forward a few months and the dummy has gone. Forever.
We actually lost it at first, all of us searched high and low but couldn’t find it anywhere. We were also missing a phone charger so knew that she had thrown them somewhere but she couldn’t remember where she had put her dummy. She got into bed and she whinged for her dummy, I explained to her that it was lost and that we would look again tomorrow. She wasn’t a happy bunny so I read her 2 books and she went to bed with minimal tears and cuddling up to her bunny. I was so shocked that she had done it, I thought we would be up 10 times in the night. The next day, I knew I had to find this dummy before she did so I turned the house upside down looking for it. I found it launched behind the sofa along with the phone charger we had been looking for, little madam.
I quickly hid it in a drawer out of her reach. Night number 2 came and went and she asked for it again. I told her we lost it didn’t we, she asked me to read her a story so I did and tucked her into bed. The next night she asked again and I told her she didn’t need it anymore because shes a big girl (she’s 3 next month, so I really wanted it gone before then). Every time she asked for it, I made a point of praising her and making sure she knew that she was doing so well without it which would make her smile and she would repeat that she’s a big girl now. She didn’t ask for it for a few nights and then about a week and a half later she clocked on that it was gone forever. It didn’t help that she saw that her baby sister had hers in her cot (she rarely uses it, but its there just in case) so I explained to her that her sister is just a baby and sometimes babies need some help going to sleep. We’re lucky that Isabelle is a thumb sucker so the dummy is rarely used, it makes life that little bit easier otherwise it seems a bit unfair.
I make sure I read her a story every night now and she goes to bed with a drink and a teddy of her choice, this has helped a lot. I asked for some advice a while ago and a lot of people said to go cold turkey “just take it away, put it in the bin” this wouldn’t have worked for us, she was so attached to it, I didn’t want her to see it as a punishment because its not a bad thing, its just that shes getting older now and doesn’t need it anymore. I wanted to make it a positive experience for her and even though it was unplanned and we weren’t expecting to take it away already, it worked out really well. Being persistent is key, she didn’t kick off as much as I thought she would but when she had the meltdown a week or so after it being gone, it was really hard not to give in. But I knew she could do it and that there was no going back now. I’m so proud of her and glad that we’ve finally ditched it!