Teaching dummy independence

Teaching dummy independence

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Getting up to replace your baby's lost dummy at night can be very tiring. But here's some good news - from around eight months, most babies can learn to manage their own dummies during the night. This is called dummy independence.

Using the dummy independently

From about eight months of age, most babies can learn to put their own dummies in. This can be good if your baby needs a dummy to fall asleep, or needs your help to replace the dummy when it falls out during the night.

Here's how to help your baby manage his own dummy:

  1. When you put your baby to bed, put her hand onto the dummy. Then guide the dummy into her mouth.
  2. Every time you have to replace the dummy, make sure you put your baby's hand onto the dummy. Then guide the dummy into his mouth, making sure he keeps a hand on it.

It can take 3-4 nights or longer for babies to learn how to put the dummy back by themselves.

Don't use ribbons, strings or chains to attach a dummy to your child's clothing, hand, neck or cot. Ribbons, strings or chains are strangulation risks.

Giving up the dummy

If your child depends on the dummy to settle and sleep, another option is to phase out the dummy. You can do this gradually by:

  • using the dummy less and less when re-settling your baby during the night
  • using the dummy less for comforting during the day.
Our article on giving up the dummy has more information. You can also find out more about changing your baby's sleep pattern so that she learns to settle herself without a dummy.


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