More likely than not, dummies have been a blessing for many parents with their calming effect for babies in need of some comfort sucking.
Still, they can't be forever and choosing a good time to begin phasing them out is a personal choice. Thankfully, it's likely to come naturally and instinctively - your toddler might even stop using their dummies by themselves!
Remember that your child might feel the need to use their dummy more then when they’re not with you or your partner.
As a rough guide, most parents aim to have phased out dummy use around the time their child turns two. Some begin the phase-out period from the age of one, though some begin even earlier than that ' when their child is six months old. You will, of course, encounter many parents who use dummies long after their child has turned two.
Above all, don't buy too much into the opinions of your friends or family. If using dummies is working for you and you are not concerned about it becoming a lifelong habit (it won't become one, anyway!) for your toddler, it's best to ignore them. If your child doesn't volunteer to give up their dummy however ' the best way is to do it over time.
You'll find you'll have more success when:
Your toddler is old enough to understand and has developed strong communication skills. You will be able to explain to them why big boys and big girls don't need dummies.
You don't nag or criticise them about using their dummy.
You are able to wean them off their dummies when they are happy in their routine and consistent lifestyle. If your child is happening to have any kind of drama or upheaval, they will be more likely be distressed without their dummy (which they have naturally become attached to).
Initially, you have some set times and places that you decide to restrict the dummy. This increases the likelihood of them being accustomed to not needing one.
You consider rewarding them with something. Perhaps a special breakfast or their favourite lunch for them becoming a 'grown up'? Importantly, don't confuse this with bribery... that's a no no!
Remember that your child might feel the need to use their dummy more then when they're not with you or your partner. If being baby sat, consider letting this be a time where they have access to it.
You are able to stay strong. Your toddler is likely to confront you with some strong protestations and demands ' but once you have set on your plan, you should stick with it.
Share your toddler experiences with other EB members in our Sleeping Tips and Questions forum.