HELP! The dummy rules our lives!

07 Jan 2016 Posted by: Sarah Ryman

Enough is enough. Yet again we feel like we have failed with child number 2 who still has a dummy. I am embarrassed to write that she has just started school and still relies heavily on it.

If I added up the time I have spent over the last few years searching the house, car, garden (and even the dustbin) for those little pieces of rubber, it would probably total hours and maybe even days hunting.


There just never seems to be a good time to stop. She is so addicted to it and has dreadful tantrums when she can’t find it. Screaming, kicking, biting and even smashing up the house. We always seem to have another occasion coming up that we know she just won’t cope with out her soother so we just give in.

We are weak.

But enough is enough. Tonight is the night. The dummy fairy is on her way…

We’ve also read some advice from the professionals. 

Speech House provide specialist tailored speech and language therapy

Dummies can be a godsend for a parent struggling to soothe a tired, upset or colicky baby. In fact sucking on dummies can help to calm a baby’s digestive system and help them to keep their next feed down. Dummy use has also been proven to reduce cot death.

However continued use of a dummy can become a difficult habit to break and can contribute to problems with your child’s speech and dental development.

What effect can a dummy have on my child’s speech?

Babies make cooing and babbling sounds as they test out and learn how to communicate. This is practice for real words later on in their development. Using a dummy restricts the amount of time they have to do this, even if only used at night when sleeping.

Continued use of a dummy can make teeth uneven. This can cause an open bite where teeth cannot be closed together, affecting your child’s speech sounds and dental appearance.

Talking with a dummy in your child’s mouth stops their tongue from getting into the right position for speaking and can cause incorrect speech patterns to develop.

Typical errors as a result of extended dummy use include:

  • Backing: this is where sounds that would typically be made at the front of the mouth such as ‘d’ are instead made at the back as ‘g’ e.g. dog ‘gog’.
  • Hissy or slushy sounding ‘s’ where air escapes down the side of the tongue rather than out the front.
  • Lisping: where the tongue protrudes through the teeth often due to a child’s teeth not meeting in the middle. Causing ‘s’ to be pronounced as ‘th’ e.g. sun ‘thun’.


The Do’s and Don’ts of using a dummy


  • Try to wean or get rid of your child’s dummy as soon as possible, but definitely by 18 months.
  • Remove your child’s dummy whenever they are talking.
  • Only use the dummy as a last resort.
  • Replace the dummy with another comforter such as a teddy/blanket/toy.
  • Praise your child for not using their dummy.


  • Give your child the dummy unless he/she needs it.
  • Leave the dummy in your child’s mouth when they are talking or playing.
  • Give in, removing the dummy will require patience and consistence.


Top Tips for giving up the dummy

  • Comfort your child/baby with other methods such as cuddles before resorting to using a dummy.
  • Distract your child/baby when they want their dummy.
  • Think of a special way to give their dummy away for example swapping it for a reward, put it under the pillow for the dummy fairy or use a book such as Jill Murphy’s “The last Noo-noo” (2003).
  • When your child is starting a new experience for example nursery do not take the dummy, so that they are used to this new experience without a dummy.
  • Once the dummy has been taken away, stick with it, don’t be tempted to give it back.
  • Praise your child for not using a dummy.

For further advice and if you have concerns about your childs speech contact - providing specialist tailored speech and language therapy services

If you'd like to find out how we got on with our first night without the dummy read 'My 4 year old Junkie'

This entry was posted in Parenting Advice, Learning and Education and tagged Baby, Health , parent advice .

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