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Early years

29th Apr 2024

Is it time to say goodbye to the soother? These fuss-free tips may help

'Dodies are for babies.'


Soothers are lifesavers, aren’t they?

I swore that my children would never use a soother. My first child was never given one, my second child was offered one but never took to them, but by jaysus I packed about four of them into my hospital bag by the time I was having my third.

Soothers, dummies, dodies, dodos… Whatever they’re called in your house, they can keep your screaming baba quiet and soothe your baby back to sleep and we all say amen to that. Here comes the but. If your little one is still using their dodie into toddlerhood it can create many problems and prolonged use can effect the positioning of their teeth and their speech. Children who use dummies are also more likely to get ear, throat and stomach infections because they can be the perfect place for harbouring germs.

We all know how hard it is to rid your house and nappy bag of the reliable dodie; just when you think you’ve binned them all your child finds one under the seat of the car and you’re back to square one! Don’t worry, we’re here to curb your toddler’s soother addiction and help you deal with the cold turkey symptoms.

1. Explain

Explain to your toddler that dodies are for babies and that they are a big boy or girl now. Use simple language that they can understand and even if they reject the idea it is important to bring up the topic regularly.

2. Gradually limit dodie-time

If your toddler uses their soother almost constantly it is a good idea to wean them off it gradually. Start by taking the dodie away from your child in the daytime and only allowing it before bed and naps. Collect all of the dodies and put them in a container that is out of reach. After you have done this for a few days you can remove the dodie before bed. You can expect tears throughout the process but stay strong mama and don’t give in!

3. Leave it out for the fairies

Dodie trees have popped up in parks all over the country and they are VERY helpful when other approaches to dogie-removal are failing. Your son or daughter can tie or hang their dodie on the tree for the fairies (who love the colourful decorations).

4. Replace the soother

Most children use dodies as a way to self-soothe when they are upset. Incorporate another object such as a blankie or a stuffed toy into their routine and encourage them to use this to soothe themselves to sleep instead.

5. Distract your child

Your smallie is naturally going to be upset that you have taken away their beloved dodie but it is important to keep their mind off it and distract them with other activities during the day such as colouring or playing outside. If your child is busy they won’t worry as much about the absence of their soother.

6. Comfort your toddler

It is important to give your toddler some extra attention (is that even possible?!) when you are weaning them off their dodie. It can be a stressful time for your tot but you’ll get through it together, we promise.