Doctor Luís Gonçalves

Pediatrician and Neonatologist
Coordinator of the Department 
of Pediatrics and Neonatology

Giving up the dummy?!

HPA Magazine 12

On International Children’s Day, the Department of Pediatrics and Neonatology inaugurated its "Magic Dummy Tree"!

This initiative aims to help wean the child off their dummy without the usual drama, by encouraging children to hang their dummy on our tree, under the supervision of parents and siblings or relatives. Our tree has an associated story; each pacifier will turn into a flower and each flower will in turn change into a pomegranate!! Yes, because our "dummy tree" is a magic pomegranate tree.

We will mention some tips and tricks to make sure that this moment of separation from an object of affection, intimacy and privacy, will in no way be a painful episode for the child. 


  • Do not force the issue or use drastic methods, such as placing unpleasant tasting substances on the dummy.
  • If the dummy is used for falling asleep, during the weaning period, give the child extra pampering at bedtime; read to him, or tell him a story.
  • Avoid criticism and negative comments, such as "Oh that ugly dummy" or "You look like a baby".
  • Try to gradually restrict the use of the dummy. Suggest that you keep it in a place that you both agree on, but can be used when it is very necessary (when going to sleep, when you are sad, sick or scared).
  • You can swop the dummy for another toy that your child wants, but never make this a habit, so that the child doesn’t learn to use the power of the dummy to achieve all his wishes. 
  • Set a date or occasion with your child for giving up the dummy. Motivate him to do so, but do not push, praise him for being so grown up, giving him the encouragement, strength, support, and confidence to do so by the agreed date.
  • Gradually give him examples of people whom your child admires who have been able to give up the dummy (a big brother, for example, or a cousin), conveying the idea that it was also difficult for them, so that the child does not feel inferior.
  • Never forget to praise your child on every progress. Reward him with pampering and doing activities together.

Finally, after much conversation and pampering at home, when next you come to our hospital encourage your child to leave his dummy on our “Magic Pomegranate Tree". Just as other children that have gone through the same ordeal, have done so before him.