29th of September, 2018. The girls were 1 year and 3 weeks old, and that was the last day the twins ever used a dummy! I often get asked how and why I did it, so I thought I’d share my (very short and simple) method with you.
I had been wanting to get rid of dummies for a while. I wanted to leave it until they had their 1 year vaccinations. Mainly as I didn’t want to take away a huge source of comfort for them at a very hard time. I’m glad I still had them then, as the injections were quite tough for them. They were also teething and had colds – it just all seemed to be happening at once! So I waited until a bit of a ‘quiet’ time before I even considered it.
How did I do it?
Cold turkey! To be honest, the timing was roughly planned but on the actual day it was a complete snap decision. They had started dropping their dummies out of their cot at nap times and bed time, then cry and cry until we gave it back to them. It was happening much more frequently, and I’m sure they were starting to do it to get our attention, rather than dropping it by accident.
I was sat in the kitchen, which is below their bedroom, during one of their nap times. I heard the familiar thud of a dummy hitting the floor above me, and I decided this nap time would be the last time they used a dummy. After they woke up, I took their dummies away and cut off the teats so I wouldn’t be tempted to give in.
Harsh, I know! But other people had advised me they also went cold turkey and it worked out fine. For weeks beforehand I’d been convincing myself ‘we’ll just use them for sleeping’ but it just never happened. I had ended up relying on them for everything – car journeys, walks in the pushchair, sleeping, even if they got whingey just playing, I was starting to use the dummies all the time.
How did it go?
It was definitely very difficult for the first week. By day three I was doubting whether I should’ve done it. It was a struggle to know how to comfort them. I gave them each a fabric comforter to have at bedtime instead of the dummies, so they had something familiar with them in their cot.
During naps and bedtime I knew I would just have to stick it out. Oddly though, it was the daytime I was actually more worried about. What if we were out somewhere and they started crying? How would I cope if they got upset in the car? I decided to just throw myself into it, and keep them really busy for a week to distract them from the fact they no longer had their dummies. We went out to all sorts of places and they were absolutely fine. It also gave me a new feeling of confidence being out with them. It was odd at first, not having the dummies to fall back on. Soon I realised they were more of a comfort for me than them, in a funny way.
Napping and night time was a little harder. They did take a lot, LOT longer to settle down to sleep. It took up to an hour and a half in the first few days, as they were extremely upset. I would go in and comfort them, but honestly, that’s not what they wanted! They wanted their dummies! After a week or so of unsettled bedtimes, it gradually got a lot better and quicker. They were already very good at self-settling, they just had to relearn how to do it without their dummies.
One of the biggest things I noticed about the girls after binning the dummies was how well their speech started coming along. They suddenly seemed SO chatty and it was amazing to hear! It was also lovely to be able to see their faces and smiles properly, rather than being hidden behind a dummy all the time.
No going back!
After two weeks of no dummies, I knew there was no turning back. I felt so relieved we had done it. It may feel like forever when you’re in the midst of it, but a week or two of upset bedtimes is nothing in the long run. The girls were waking in the night once or twice and crying for their dummies, but now they can settle without them. We have absolutely no disturbances and I feel like they sleep a lot better for it.
I truly am so glad we did it this way. I feel like it got it done and out of the way – like ripping off a plaster! They’re young enough that they can’t properly understand and ask for them, which I felt worked to our advantage. It may be quite tough for a couple of weeks, but now using a dummy doesn’t even cross our mind.
If you’re thinking about getting rid of the dummy, I would suggest going for it when it feels right for you and your baby. Everyone’s lives are different, this is just what worked for me. However, I hope it can help give you the confidence to take the plunge!
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