Dummies can be useful to help soothe your baby and provide comfort. It promotes the sucking action that they use during feeding and are useful at nap, bedtimes or during the day if they become unsettled.
When should you wean a child off their dummy?
It's recommended that you wean your baby off their dummy after around six months as they can become too dependent and not learn how to soothe and comfort themselves in other ways.
Using a dummy for a longer length of time, until they are two years or older, can affect your child’s development. This includes:
- oral health as their baby teeth will grow outwards and can affect the growth and positioning of their second/adult teeth
- language development as they can start to learn and speak words unclearly, plus they can also be prevented from talking if they have a dummy in their mouth for long durations in the day. If you are concerned about your child's language development, there is more information on our speech and language page
Weaning your child off a dummy
It can be difficult to wean your child off their dummy and you may decide to do it slowly or take it away altogether.
If weaning your child is an option, then you can limit it to certain times of the day such as nap time and bedtime and gradually reduce it to just once a day. Your child will then be less dependent on it and slowly forget about it.
If you decide to take it away altogether it's a good idea to replace it with an alternative form of comfort such as teddy or toy.
If your child is now a toddler you can include them in this change by talking to them about it, preparing them and decide on a toy or teddy together. This process can also help children starting nursery who have a dummy that they rely on.
There's a possibility your child may have tantrums or get upset when you take away their dummy which can make things hard. Find out more about tantrums.