Dummy Pacifier

When Should a Child Stop Sucking a Dummy?

Having trouble figuring out when you should put a stop to your child sucking a dummy? Have a read of this article from Tots to Teens.

I nodded my head in agreement throughout this article about ‘ditching the dummy’ as I have seen the effects of prolonged dummy use – particularly:

  • delayed language (it is hard to talk with something in your mouth so children often talk less when using a dummy and miss out on the practice of using words, and the feedback they get from using words)
  • delayed or disordered speech development (if there’s something in your mouth when you’re talking it can change where your tongue moves to make sounds).

The first few months of life is a prime time to use a dummy for settling your baby. But at about the same time as infants start to get teeth and/or more sound development, I suggest leaving the dummy only for sleeping times.  When is best to give it up entirely? I agree with the guide in the article of between 6-months to 1-year being preferable.

“Children over 1-year can become very dependent on the dummy and, as with most habits, the longer you leave it the harder it is to resolve.”

I have heard some parents wrap all the dummies up for a friend’s baby, substitute dummies for a gift/toy, or cut a hole in the dummy and show that it’s broken (apparently it doesn’t feel nice so the toddler throws it out themselves).

Be sensitive to what your child might understand and get on board with, and be strong with your decision.