Security Blankets & Comfort Objects
Dummies, blankies, bottles, teddy bears, cuddlies, old blankets, and old bits of clothing, usually with pet names, give a young child a little bit of security when they are facing the big, wide world
So many mums and dads are up against family members tutting at your little one's 'Blanky' and even you are worried about your child's image. Forget what other people think. Lots of us won't face the world without our mascara or lippy, so why shouldn't your toddler take a comfort blanket out too? Carrying his comforter and sucking his thumb or dummy, a small person can face the world.
To a toddler, everything is an adventure. Everything they do is teaching them about life. Quite often, their fears may seem irrational to you but they're very real to them. You know people don't fall down toilets, but they don't. Fear of losing you, all sorts of terrible monsters hiding under their bed in the dark and even strangers all make little children cling to things they know and love. You're not always there, so a blankie or a comforter is a substitute.
Thumb Sucking or Dummy?Some children like their bottle when tired or cranky, others suck dummies and some suck their thumbs. Even in the womb, some babies suck their thumbs and some mums are lucky enough to catch sight of this when they have an ultrasound. If your little one is under two, you really don't need to worry about thumb-sucking, dummies or bottles. Between the ages of 2 and 4, you can try to wean your toddler off a dummy by 'losing' it occasionally or gradually limiting its use to bedtimes and other periods of the day, when your child is tired and fretful.
If you're faced with resistance, don't make a fuss - the more you fuss you make, the longer it is likely to last. As long as your child gives up the dummy or thumb before the second teeth come through, there will be no long-term dental ill-effects.
However tempted you are to put that dummy in the bin, some people suggest it's a good idea to wait. You might just need it to help you out of a tight spot one day. It will help your toddler settle in a new room, in hospital or if you suddenly have to go away. By the time your child reaches 6 you may begin to wonder if the attachment will go on for life but even the most die-hard dummy-suckers will have kicked the habit by the age of 8. Think about it - how many of us have ever seen a 10 year old with a dummy?
BottlesBedtime bottles can be bad for the teeth. You should never put juice or milk in a bedtime bottle. If you are at all worried, try to wean your baby onto water. Think carefully if this is the only way your child will drink milk, as they will definitely need another source of calcium. Sucking sugary drinks from a bedtime bottle can cause serious - and painful - damage to your toddler's developing teeth.