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Is this a 'regression'? 4 1/2 yo insisting on using dummy

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

My son is suddenly insisting on using a dummy. He told me he wanted one and that he'd use it to help himself when he felt tired, hurt himself, or felt sad. I talked with him about other ways of dealing with those feelings (asking for cuddles, etc), but he was set on the idea. He then said he wanted to get a dummy for his baby doll which he has only recently started playing with - he has been calling it his baby sister and taking it everywhere (though he has given up on that now). He is one of the last of his peer group to not have a younger sibling by now and often asks if he can have one and why not (I'm a single mom and not in a relationship).ANyway he immediately started using the dummy for himself and not for the doll and admitted he'd tricked me into buying it! He does suck on it when tired and when sad, and when going to bed at night, and will curl onto my lap and suck it. 


He is  4 1/2, has never used a dummy or wanted one, except a handful of times as a newborn when my mom came to stay to help me out and got him to accept one( he never would from me and didn't take one again after she left!). He was breastfed on demand until age 2 1/2 and thereafter nursed three times a day, until he was four when I weaned him. It was a gentle and effortless transition and he accepted it very easily, there seemed no psychological effects at the time. He hasnn't had any recent changes that I'm aware of - he's been steadily attending preschool for a year and a half and knows he is due to start 'big school' in Sept, which he seems excited about. But that could possibly be weighing on him as a 'growing up' thing. I'm wondering if this is a sort of 'regression' thing that I've heard of before, where kids want to be babies again, but have only heard of it happening in conjunction with a new sibling arriving or other big changes such as separation (that happened 2 1/2 years ago and he wasn't too aware of it at the time). He has also been asking to sit in a highchair, regularly, rather than a normal chair, and sometimes asking to be spoonfed but not often. 


To be honest I feel embarrassed about the dummy b/c he looks far too old to be using one and when we're out and about I feel it looks bad, especially as I am a breastfeeding counsellor and support feeding on demand etc, so I feel like it looks as if he has not received adequate suckling! My own issues, i know, but just wondering what's behind it and if there's anything I can do to support him through whatever this is. Anyone BTDT or have any ideas? His dad is useless to talk to. 

post #2 of 3

The only thing I would worry about would be damage to his teeth. I know many people disagree, but I've seen too often the repercussions of using pacifiers beyond a certain age.


I would take the pacifier and give him a toy pacifier for his baby doll.

post #3 of 3

It's just a phase and will pass soon enough. If you're uncomfortable w/him using it in public you could set the rule that it's to be used in the car and/or at home only, or only at bedtime, etc. If you fulfill these needs he's expressing rather than denying them or invalidating them they'll pass much sooner and he'll move on more fully whole. Play it up even! Carry him around and snuggle him like a baby, talk to him like you did when he was an infant. He may find it to be funny and realize he'd rather be a big boy even sooner.

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