“Lovey.” Have you heard that term before? We at The Baby Sleep Site® use the term lovey to mean any comfort object that a baby or toddler brings to bed, and which provides comfort and soothing. Some people also call them ‘comfort objects’ or ‘transitional objects.’ While not every baby or toddler attaches to a lovey, many do. And as many parents have found (maybe you’re one of them!), loveys can be great! They can provide children with a physical object that they can use to comfort themselves.
Baby Lovey – What Is It?
Really, a lovey can be anything that’s safe for a baby or toddler to have at sleep time. Most loveys are what you’d think of as “normal” comfort items – blankets, or stuffed animals. However, in our work with parents over the years, we’ve heard of some very strange loveys indeed! We’ve had parents tell us their babies used the following items as loveys:
- throw pillows
- pacifiers (or soothers, or binkies, or dummies – depends on your name for it!
- board books
- washcloths and hand towels
- puzzle pieces (really big ones)
Baby Lovey – Safety
We are big believers in promoting safe sleep, and in sticking with the rules of creating a safe sleep space. For that reason, it’s key to remember that if your baby is under a year old, you should avoid putting any items in the crib that may be a SIDS risk. Not sure if a particular lovey is safe for your baby? We always recommend checking with your baby’s healthcare provider.
You’ll also need to think about choking hazards – no loveys that have small, detachable pieces, or even pieces that are sewn on but could potentially detach (think stuffed animals with small, plastic eyes sewn on).
Baby Lovey – Why Have One At All?
Some of you may be wondering why you even need to offer a lovely in the first place. Well, the truth is, some of you won’t – your babies will be able to self-soothe without any objects (maybe by sucking their thumbs, or stroking their faces or hair, etc.) Not every child needs a lovey.
But if you are sleep training, or working on helping your baby or toddler learn to self-soothe independently, without you in the room, a lovey can be a lifesaver. A lovey becomes a comfortable, familiar object that can serve to instantly soothe your baby or toddler. This is especially great when you’re out and about, or when you’re traveling. Just bring the lovey along, and it’ll go a long way toward helping your baby sleep!
What’s more, a lovey can really help during sleep regressions – during those times, your baby is going through so many physical and developmental changes. And speaking of changes, loveys can really help your baby navigate any big life changes – like moving to a new house, the birth of a new sibling, etc.
Basically, a lovey is a positive sleep association that can help soothe and comfort your baby, and help them to relax and fall asleep. And who doesn’t want that? 😉
Loveys – When & How Should You Introduce One?
As for when to introduce a lovey, the short answer is that it depends on your baby. Some babies will naturally take to having a lovey at a fairly young age and will develop an attachment to an object fairly early on. If so – then your job is done!
For others, though, the process may look different. So when should you introduce a lovey? Well, don’t worry about offering a lovey during the newborn stage – your baby doesn’t yet have the ability to form an attachment to an object, so a lovey won’t matter at this point.
Beyond the newborn stage, the suggestions of when to introduce a lovely vary. Some pediatricians say it’s fine at 4 months, while others caution waiting until 9 months or even a year. Again – if you’re hesitant about when to introduce the lovey, and what kind of lovey to use, talk to your healthcare provider.
As for how exactly to introduce the lovey – there are a series of steps we typically recommend to consultation clients that are designed to help introduce the lovely gently, and to help ensure that baby accepts it and bonds with it. Want to read these steps? We lay them out in one of our VIP members-only articles, The Baby Sleep Site®‘s 5 Step System To Introduce A Baby Lovey, in our The Baby Sleep Site® VIP Members Area.
Baby Loveys We Love
When it comes to loveys, there are loads to choose from! Here are a few of our favorites:
We LOVE the super soft and plush Loveys and Stuffies from Nest Designs! They’re all super soft, easy to hold, and easy to tote around wherever you and your little one go. Check out all of Nest Design’s awesome offerings here!
The Angel Dear Blankie: These adorable baby loveys are great! Choose from 37 (yes, THIRTY-SEVEN) different colors and styles. The super-soft blankie is attached to a super-cute stuffed friend, making these an ideal lovey for babies.
This breathable stuffed elephant is soft and cuddly, but most-importantly, safe. It’s clean and allergy-friendly as well as washable. It is the perfect size for babies to hold and grab onto.
Gerber as been a household name for many many years, but did you know that they offer lots of adorable loveys (aka security blankets) too? You can even personalize your child’s lovey with embroidered initials or a name!
8 thoughts on “Baby Lovey – How and When To Introduce (and What Should The Lovey Be, Anyway?)”
My son will be 4 months on the second and is already attached to his lovey. I kid you not. It is very similar to that suggested Angel Dear Blanket. His is the Sock Monkey Snuggle Buddy Rattle by Baby Starters
@Jenni – Thank you for stopping by our sleepy little village and for your comment! It’s something how quickly they get attached to those loveys – my son was almost 5 months when I realized he, too, was completely attached to his! It’s sweet though and was comforting for me to know that he had his lovey with him all night once I transitioned him to his crib. 🙂 Thank you again for sharing, and please keep reading!
Irene, my little guy likes to sleep with his matchbox trucks, so similar to your son’s love of his bus. My mom ended up making him a pillow which is open on one side (kind of like a big pocket in the middle of the pillow). Each night he selects one of his trucks to go to bed with him in the pillow. Sometimes he just hugs the pillow with the truck inside. Other times, he’ll sleep with his hand inside the pillow holding the truck. He knows that the truck needs to sleep inside the pillow and can’t come out until the morning. It has worked really well for him.
@ Sharon – Oh my gosh, this sounds so adorable. What a cool idea for a pillow! Thanks for sharing this tip, Sharon – also, Nicole sends her love! 😉
@ Almuth- great question! The lovey is what we call a positive sleep association. Remember, not all sleep associations are bad – your little guy no doubt associates his bed/crib with sleep, but that’s a positive association, because it’s one that doesn’t require work from you to maintain and re-create. The lovey, for many families, is another positive association. I don’t think that it generally falls into the same category as the pacifier – most families get into tricky situations with the pacifier simply because their babies don’t have the fine motor skills necessary to replace the pacifier, but snuggling a lovey is generally something that most children can manage themselves.
That said, if you do decide to go back to using a lovey, you’ll want to be sure it’s something that’s not terribly small, and that could get “lost” in his bed.
Hope this helps, Almuth!
As helpful as loveys seem, what about creating sleep associations? We’d started giving our 15mo a little blankey thingy to cuddle with in bed. We only got a bit concerned about creating a new unwanted sleep association after we once found him sitting in bed (as usual when he wakes during the night) seemingly searching for his lovey. So we took it off him the following nights (he’s not massively attached just yet) and let him have it again a few nights later. At the moment it’s only teething pain waking him. But will a lovey create sleep associations, ie will we need to replace it during the night like a pacifier? We hardly ever did pacifiers during the night and he goes to sleep by himself.
Well, my little one is still a troubled sleeper at over two years old.
But in terms,of loveys it must have a bit of a rare one… He has to hold his “miapaty” which is a metal bus model… Not exactly soft n cuddly… But he loves it… I do make sure i remove it from his bed once he s asleep though!
@ Irene – I love it! Truly, a lovey can be anything (although a metal bus does sound a little uncomfortable to cuddle with…but hey, if he loves it, then it works!)
Thanks for commenting, Irene!
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