I am in no way embarrassed that my son has a dummy. It's an amazing comforter for babies that are well established in their feeding, great to protect them against SIDs and can often mean the difference between a fully functioning nipple and a broken breast.
But since my son turned one, it has always been on my mind that at some point this comfort has to end, either by switching to something new or going completely. As mother's we worry about everything, teeth, appetite, size, weight, intelligence, happiness, capability. The list is endless. I've never wanted the 'intervention' to be a psychological one, but more a focus on habit. The earlier you take it away, the easier the transition to no doodooland will be on everyone involved.
After his first birthday, I decided that Theo no longer needed it in the day at the very least so each time he asked for it if he felt grouchy or tired I'd offer up a distraction, whether that be an activity, TV show, snack, anything to take the focus away from the 'addiction'. It worked wonders for us, we kept it to nap and bed times and for another year, we've been a happy, well-soothed family.
As he got older, Theo started to ask for it more in the day, he became acutely aware that his questioning and actions could impact how I would respond and would sometimes guilt me into day time dummy fun.
Alright Soph, you're yabbering on now, get to the point. Last week, my spontaneity got the better of me and I decided we needed to take the dummy away. Cold turkey. I didn't realise the slave I had become to that thing and I was so nervous about how he may actually respond. You know the film The Exorcist? Yeah.. that.
We talked about it a lot beforehand, how his friend's are big boys too, that don't have a dummy and now that he is much bigger he doesn't need it either. I decided to get him a lovely Woody doll as a new companion for him at bedtime and that, instead of his dummy, he would get to cutch up to his new pal instead.
Bedtime rolled around and I have to say, he was surprisingly content. He did ask for it but after a little encouragement, praise and a slight reminder of why he wasn't having it any longer, we had an easy first night.
Since then, we haven't looked back. On the odd occasion he may suddenly remember but no tears or tantrums, much to my surprise and my husband's.
My best suggestion would always be, have a little bit of faith. Start off slow, give them time to adjust and trust your little one because they are much more advanced and more capable than we give them credit for.
On the other hand, don't panic if it does go Pete Tong. Take your time, adjust where necessary and make it an even slower extraction!
Each kid is so bloody different, otherwise this parenting thing would be a breeze.