Why Babies and Toddlers Love Their Loveys — And You Should Too!
What is UP with loveys? Why do kids adore them so much? 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
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 infants 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.
From 3-6 months, the only safe lovely is a pacifier and white noise (which is like an “auditory lovey”). After 6 months, 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.