What is UP with loveys? Why do kids adore them so much? 

What is a Lovey?

A lovey is any object that a baby or toddler bonds with in order to feel comforted and secure. 

Examples of Loveys (Baby security blankets and stuffed animals)

We all remember Linus in the Peanuts cartoon dragging his beloved blankie behind him. And Calvin had Hobbes the tiger, and Christopher Robin loved Winnie­-the-Pooh. Did you have a lovey when you were growing up? A blankie or teddy? If you or your partner carried around a Raggedy Ann until she was raggedy, your child will probably like one, too. That’s because falling in love with these cuddlies is a strong genetic trait.

It’s a universal truth: Kids love loveys! And cozy, cuddly loveys are great sleep cue for older babies and toddlers!

I’ve seen kids cling to diapers, silk scarves and all sorts of toys. For years, my little patient Alex was “hooked” on sleeping with his Captain Hook’s hook.

Misunderstandings About Loveys (security blankets, stuffed animals, etc.)

Yet, only a third of families employ sleep cues like white noise or loveys. I think that may be because many parents have been frightened by experts who caution that using loveys creates an unhealthy dependency. So wrong!

Parents who turn their backs on loveys are missing a huge opportunity! These cuddly friends actually help babies build confidence and security. And they’re available anytime—day or night. So, a lovey is a very, very good habit—and it’s especially comforting during times of stress (like an illness or a parent’s absence) and for babies with cautious, sensitive temperaments.

Baby Lovey Safety (Blankets and Stuffed Animals)

For the first 12 months, the only safe lovely is a pacifier and white noise (which is like an “auditory lovey”). 

When Can Baby Sleep With Stuffed Animal or Blanket?

After your little one has passed the one year mark, you can introduce a handkerchief-sized silky blanket or hand-sized cuddly stuffed animal.

But make sure you always have a backup! Losing a lovey is traumatic for a child. Every couple of weeks, rotate your baby’s two loveys. That allows you to keep them clean and to have them both develop the same comforting feel and smell.

And also make sure your baby’s lovey doesn’t have any little pieces (like button eyes or beads in the stuffing) that can be a choking risk or get stuck up the nose.

Baby Lovey—How to Introduce a Lovey to Help Your Baby Sleep

The best time to introduce a Lovey like a blankie or stuffed toy is around 12 months. The only lovey your baby should have prior is a pacifier or auditory white noise. By 12 months, your baby has been free of swaddling for a long while and is able to grab onto the lovey in the crib. The closer you introduce the lovey to your baby at 12 months the better, as they'll be able to build a stronger connection to it, and soon it will be your baby’s best friend!

Here are two tips to make sure your baby bonds with the lovey: 

  • Make it smell like mama. Have mom wear or hold the lovey for at least an hour prior to handing it to your baby. Scent can be soothing for your child and it creates the illusion that mom is right there.
  • The Baby Lovey is for sleep. Make sure your baby finds the lovey special by making it a comfort and security object strictly for sleeptime. Make the lovey a part of the nap routine or keep it strictly in the crib.

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