A creative way to remove your child’s dummy

Library Home  >  Health, Wellbeing & NutritionParenting & Family Life
  Published on Wednesday, 11 August 2021

A creative way to remove your child’s dummy

Library Home  >  Health, Wellbeing & NutritionParenting & Family Life
  Published on Wednesday, 11 August 2021
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Leisa Papa is a mum of two, with personal and professional expertise when it comes to kids.

Leisa is the founder and chief curator at Little Kids Business, and she’s also the author of a magical book called Daniel and the Dummy Fairy, which helps families explain away a much-loved pacifier.

Today, Leisa shares her family’s experiences around dummies, and gives you the chance to win her book.

How did a pacifier help your family, Leisa?

My children, Daniel and Sophie, were born premature, three years apart. Our paediatric specialist introduced the dummy to my son first, and then my daughter, and both times, I felt it was beneficial because:

  • The dummy helped my premi babies to practice sucking, so they could eventually breast/bottle feed.
  • I used the pacifier as a wonderful tool to soothe and calm my colicky children. Sucking has been proven to decrease the stress hormone, cortisol, and diminish tension in a little person’s body, allowing movement in their digestive tract to happen in a more relaxed manner, so the dummy helped my babies a lot.
  • As a new mum, I also took comfort in the fact that dummy use has been linked with a reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

With the positives in mind, when did you know it was time to remove your child’s dummy?

At the age of two, we’d already begun to limit Daniel’s dummy to nap times, and when we first took him to the dentist, we learnt that his teeth were being affected by the dummy and his mouth was changing shape.

The dentist assured us that this would self-correct if we ditched Daniel’s dummy soon, so I left the dentist and hatched a plan!

Although some parents gradually wean their child off their dummy, or wait for it to get forgotten somewhere, the Dummy Fairy is a kind and popular way for families to go dummy-free.

Why did you choose the Dummy Fairy approach for Daniel, and how did it work?

I wanted a calmer approach than snatching the dummy away or saying the dog ate it. I knew I had to talk about what was going to happen (in the same way that you show a small child a new food 10 times before you ask them to try it), so I drew a picture of the Dummy Fairy and stuck it on Daniel’s wall the night she was due to visit.

I made up a bedtime story featuring the Dummy Fairy, and Daniel honestly ditched his dummy with ease. He only asked for it a couple of times after it disappeared, and then forgot it altogether. 

When Daniel did ask for his dummy, I simply distracted him, and a couple of years later, we used the same easy method for my daughter, Sophie.

You’ve written Daniel and the Dummy Fairy to help other families share the magic of this dummy removal technique. Could you tell us some more about your book?

In this story, young readers are introduced to Daniel, a boy who’s just turned two and is ready to give away his dummies.

Toddlers get to see what happens when Daniel meets Daisy the Dummy Fairy, and they learn that she has a very special job to do, because when children grow big enough to give away their dummies, Daisy flutters into their house at night to collect them, leaving every child a surprise to find in the morning!

I wrote this book to help toddlers visualise what will happen when Daisy pays them a visit and whisks away their dummy for good.

Toddlers love being able to see what Daisy and her fairy friends look like, and they enjoy learning about her favourite food, and even seeing what happens to the dummies after she collects them. 

This book is also a great conversation-starter. It gives parents an opportunity to talk about what’s going to happen and better prepare children for their dummy’s disappearance.

Since your book first came out in 2015, what feedback have you had from parents, and are there any more titles planned?

I am often blown away by the lovely feedback I receive from parents who have used my book to show their child what is about to happen.

The story of Daniel and the Dummy Fairy also prompts parents to get on board with the idea of dummy removal and commit to following through on the idea and actually ditching all their child’s dummies (including those scattered throughout the house and in the car).

Once the book had been out for a few years, I came up with the idea of a ‘Dummy Removal Certificate’ which parents can fill out and add to their child’s memory book. My daughter Sophie was the very first recipient of this certificate, and it forever signifies the day a child ditches their dummy.   

When it comes to other books, I have parents begging me to write a book about thumb-sucking, but don’t have any immediate plans for this one. I’m just happy that so many families are benefitting from my Dummy Fairy story.

Win the book!

Thanks to Leisa, we’re giving away three copies of Daniel and the Dummy Fairy.

For your chance to win one, simply tell us in 25 words or less, why it’s time for the Dummy Fairy to visit your family.

Email your entry to competition@careforkids.com by Friday 13 August, and if you’d like to buy the book today, click here.

This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Wednesday, 11 August 2021

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