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Getting rid of dummy tactics (3yo)...

(23 Posts)
moggle Tue 24-Oct-17 15:54:26

DD is almost 3, has had a dummy since a few weeks old. Only supposed to be for night time but it really crept up... a couple of months we managed to get it down to just at night, but she still whines for it during the day when tired (she does not nap in the day any more). Even though we don't give in, after 2m she still asks for it constantly when tired; and puts her hands, a muzzy, a toy in her mouth incessantly instead.

A few weeks ago we got her to sleep without it as a kind of trial run - she was extremely tired after a v long day and despite protesting she fell asleep moaning within minutes (we pretended we had left her dummies on the train we'd been on...). However at 2am she appeared in our room half asleep and utterly howling that she couldn't find her dummy. That time we just gave them back to her as the point had been to see if she would sleep through without one.

Next we tried to cut down the number in her bed (usually 4/5) to 2 and it resulted in broken nights for us all as she often couldn't find one or both of them... and she seems to need one in her mouth and one in her hand. After 2 weeks of this we returned to 4/5 in the bed.

She loves her book about the dummy fairy will reel off that she is going to give her dummies to the fairies and that she will get a pink bike when she does. She is articulate and seems to understand it fine, but she never actually agrees to do it when it comes to bedtime. She just says "I'm a baby, I need my dummy". Doesn't seem bothered when we tell her she can't do certain things if she's a baby.

We haven't been pushing it and I assumed at some point her wish for the bike would outweigh her love for her dummies, but it's not happened so far. I'm pregnant with twins due in January and I feel we need to make a proper attempt to ditch the dummy in the next month or so before my need for uninterrupted sleep becomes non negotiable. Plus, once new baby dummies start appearing there is no way we will be able to stop her putting them in her mouth all day long. (I would love for the twins not to have dummies but I'm trying to be realistic!). I also really, really want her to have the bike to help with getting around once the babies are here, but now we've said she can only have it in exchange for dummies we can't just give her one for her birthday or xmas. Stupid us!!

One idea is to do an elaborate letter from the fairies on her birthday with a nice bag and instructions to put dummies in hanging on a tree, follow a trail of glitter to the damn pink bike in the garden, and hope she has so much fun on it that day she doesn't want to have it taken away again ...?!
My mum suggested another attempt to reduce the number in bed, by attaching one dummy to a soft toy to make it easier to find, and hopefully make her less dependent and then try to get rid again totally.
We tried sticker charts and bribing with sweets but she just loves her dummy more than any reward we've suggested.

I know people will be thinking, just throw them away and let her scream when she wakes up ... but she's such a 'good' girl most of the time (sorry hate that phrase but it's useful shorthand I hope), helpful and kind and eager to please, and so although we're firm with her over behaviour we don't like, we've never had to resort to letting her scream or get really upset. I'm not sure I can take it :-( And I know with me pregnant and DH half-insomniac anyway our household will fall apart if we have more than a few nights of disruption. She will be wide awake at 3am when she can't find her dummy and it takes her ages to get back to sleep currently even with her dummy I can't imagine how we would get her back to sleep without it.

HELP!!! (and thanks if you read this far...)

Dementedswan Tue 24-Oct-17 15:58:36

What worked for dc was build a bear. You could put last dummy inside bear with the heart thing . Gradually lose all dummy apart from a favourite first tho.

moggle Tue 24-Oct-17 16:03:00

Demented that's not a bad idea! I didn't know you could put other stuff inside them. Just wish we had a build a bear in our town so she could see how cool it is and get her interested, without a big journey. I can see me there with my scissors at 2am though getting the damn dummy out!!

We just need to find something she loves enough. My hatred of taking her shopping is backfiring on me now, she's only been in a toy shop a few times! Maybe we need a saturday afternoon at toys r us...

moggle Tue 24-Oct-17 16:04:57

I do worry that she could still switch to sucking her thumb as her need to have something in her mouth still seems so high. There are still lots of toys I won't buy for her as she can't be trusted with small parts. Her latest 'trick' is stuffing her mouth with acorns while we walk along. I mean WTAF!! (I hasten to add this only happened once, I keep a better eye on her now I know what she's likely to do!)

twinnywinny14 Tue 24-Oct-17 16:07:23

Unfortunately she is attached to her dummy and therefore losing it/living without it is going to cause distress, that is inevitable and probably unavoidable. So, choose the timing carefully for a time where you feel strong enough to deal with that and go for it. If she is already understanding the dummy fairy then it makes sense to go for that and stick with it, have a countdown the day or two before and follow it through. It sounds like you’ve tried to do it before but end up giving in and this will prob make DD fight more as she will think that will happen again, if you think you might then you need to hide/throw/cut up dummies so that you can’t give them back and then hold on tight!! Good luck, but it is definitely the right thing to do x

twinnywinny14 Tue 24-Oct-17 16:08:40

You can buy chew toys if she really needs them but chances are it’s jist because she is used to the dummy and will prob stop in time once the dummy has gone x

TwoKidsAndCounting Tue 24-Oct-17 16:17:13

Drop down to one dummy, cut the tip off it about a week in to one dummy allowance, don't make a big deal of it, just make sure the kid realises dummy is broke, don't mention taking it away, a week later take the entire tip off when kid not looking, hide it somewhere, kid goes looking for it, you help them, they find it, they get a little bit distraught, you stay calm and a bit sad, again don't make a big deal of it and don't take it away, child can't suck it anymore, yli suggest they pop it in the bin and that's it, no more dummies and no more stressed mummy. You will have sleepless nights until they get used to being without it but it's easier than ripping it away from them.

This works, I've done it this way twice and the hard way twice and any future kid will be getting the easy treatment because after 4 kiddos you learn fighting with them just isn't worth the hassle!

And please, no nonsense about germs anyone, if they go to pre-school they will eat more germs than just walking through the toilet door!

TwoKidsAndCounting Tue 24-Oct-17 16:19:50

Sorry i made a mistake, don't cut the tip OFF straight away, cut a small slit in it first then cut the whole thing a week later

FATEdestiny Tue 24-Oct-17 16:32:34

Sidestepping the whole dummy issue (for now) I'd say your priority needs to be stopping her being over tired. Especially with twins on the way.

It's the over tiredness causing her to wake in the night. If she didn't wake in the night, and wasn't whiney in the daytime due to tiredness, then she would only need the dummy for the 10 mins or so it takes to go to sleep.

That then makes the process of losing the dummy much easier, because she'll be less exhausted and everything is better/easier without a tired toddler.

If you take the dummy away while she's already not getting enough sleep, she's going to get even less sleep and you'll get far more of this 2am wailing.

I assume you can't establish a daytime nap? (My 3yo still naps 3h at lunchtime). If you can, defo do that. If not, I'd establish post lunch "rest hour" where she has a blanket and cushion on the sofa and watched tv quietly every day for that hour. Then team rest hour with earlier bedtimes.

Allthebestnamesareused Tue 24-Oct-17 16:53:21

It was at about this age both of mine gave their dummies to Santa for the "babies".

If you can bear it until then we put them on a plate with the carrot and mince pies for Santa to take to the babies and also they got to put a "big boy" present on their letter too Santa for giving up the dummies.

It worked for both of them - they never asked for them again.

Indeed when we visited Santa the following year DS2 asked Santa whether the babies liked his dummies. (First mention of them since they had gone). I nodded frantically behind his head and Santa played along nicely!

moggle Tue 24-Oct-17 16:54:22

I don't think she wakes as such fate, more like she stirs between sleep cycles, reaches for her dummy and if she can't find it that's when she wakes properly. I've seen her do it if I go into her room to put clothes away at 11pm or whenever and slightly disturb her. She changes position, and her hand moves by her face to put dummy in, if it isn't right there it sweeps the pillow area. All eyes closed.
I do agree that on the occasions when she does properly wake at 3am she is over tired. Unfortunately she's usually only tired enough to sleep during the day by about 4pm which is obviously too late. She's usually asleep within 5-10 mins at 7.15 and sleeps to 7 or 7.30.
She used to nap 1.5 hrs 2-3 days a week (usually only her 2 nursery days and one weekend day) or so for the past 6m, but we struggled with her taking an hour plus to fall asleep. When she started in the preschool room at nursery when they don't lay all the kids down to sleep after lunch (but they can sleep if they want) she just dropped it immediately and is tired by 7pm but not exhausted.

moggle Tue 24-Oct-17 16:55:54

Sorry reread my OP - realise it could read that she's awake at 3am every night but it's maybe just once a week or 10 days ( and noticeably after an especially tiring day or earlier than usual waking).

moggle Tue 24-Oct-17 16:57:56

We do do a rest time after lunch (sometimes I am desperate for a nap!). Never watched so much Disney!

moggle Tue 24-Oct-17 16:58:39

Thanks for all the ideas - some good ones. Am a bit scared of waiting til xmas in case twins come a bit early!

Allthebestnamesareused Tue 24-Oct-17 17:00:32

Yes - had a sudden thought to that maybe in your case saying they are for the babies might not be the best approach after I posted.

Thingywhatsit Tue 24-Oct-17 17:02:53

I got rid of the dummies on a whim - not much planning involved.

Wrote a note from dummy fairies and she got play doh. (She didn't have any so was a big treat!) Then for the first week or so we went out driving at bed time so she didn't get upset and then she was ok after about 10 days.....

FATEdestiny Tue 24-Oct-17 17:10:48

My DC2 got rid of dumnys aged about 3y6m, in anticipation of babys arrival 4 months later. Only he only stopped using the dummies for 4 months. Fine until his brother came along...

I had no idea initially. I'd made a really big deal that these dummies are for baby and I would be very cross if he had any in his mouth, since he didn't need them anymore. Only he kept hiding them. He'd stash dummies all over the place and in fact when he was allowed dummies, at least they were only in the cot at bedtime. Now he was having (his baby brothers) dummies anywhere he could hide and it was a worse situation than when he was allowed his dummy but in a limited way.

So the net result, rightly or wrongly, we gave him 'his' dummy so that he didn't use baby's. And as a result of this DC2 was a lot, lot longer with a dummy than DC1or DC3 was.

With hindsight, I should have waited until after baby was here, so that baby's dummies were less enticing. I don't know if that's helpful or not?

moggle Tue 24-Oct-17 17:14:37

Yeah I am a bit worried about that potential scenario Fate!

Dangermouse559 Thu 26-Oct-17 08:14:01

My DD was a bit older when she gave up her dummy (5!blush). We tried everything we could think of to get her off it, but nothing worked. One day, out of the blue, she said that she was a big girl and dummies were for babies, so we told her she could get a toy if she put it in the bin, she did and that was that. Never even mentioned it again. I'm sure that your DC will decide to give it up eventually, DD was SUPER attached to her's so I think that in the long run you will be fine.

outofmymind26 Thu 26-Oct-17 08:35:29

Got rid of DS dummy the day after he was 2. No actual planning involved, just couldn't find any dummy's for bedtime so he went without. It's been a few days now & he only had one wobble before dinner one evening. He was super tired too so don't think that helped.

I know of many children who were 4 or 5 just giving it up because they wanted to & we're ready at that time.

moggle Thu 26-Oct-17 09:04:53

Thanks... I think if the twins have dummies we'll definitely try and ditch them earlier. It is so much harder when they can argue with you! Good to know that they can ditch them later on. My cousin's kids are 6 and 9 and still sometimes use theirs but then she was an addicted thumb sucker and still is at 40 so I suspect it is written in their DNA!

moggle Mon 13-Nov-17 11:05:56

Well I just wanted to update. We went through with our birthday plan. She got oral thrush last week so the manly dummies really needed to go.

The first night without the dummy went better than I ever could've hoped... she did take a little persuading to hand them over to the fairies in the morning yesterday but enjoyed playing on her bike and then had a great birthday afternoon with all the family. She asked for the dummy a couple of times while we were getting her ready for bed but once we were reading stories she didn't mention it again. She fell asleep in about 10 minutes while I sat in the chair in her room (which is pretty normal at the mo as I'm so tired by 7pm I CBA to move!..). No whining or crying although she made some very funny noises it was like her mouth didn't know what to do without a dummy in it!!

She cried a few times around midnight and I went to her room before she could get up but she wasn't really very awake so I just held her hand and she drifted back off again.

She woke us up at 6:50 talking about the twin dollies she got for her birthday. And the dummy word has not been mentioned by anyone!

Tonight may be a different kettle of fish as she won't be as tired tonight but I'm feeling hopeful it will happen! DH was responsible for dealing with the dummies that went in the fairy bag, he says he hasn't chucked them but I don't know where they are so hopefully not too much temptation if she does start asking for them.

Ilovelampandchair Mon 13-Nov-17 11:07:39

The only thing that really works is making a decision and sticking to your guns.

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