The Importance of Your Child’s Lovey

What exactly is a lovey? A lovey, also known as a transitional object, is something that a child uses to aid their feeling of security. A perfect example of a lovey is the Linus’ blanket in Peanuts. Not all children have a lovey, but studies show that more than half of all toddlers do have a special blanket, doll, or stuffed animal.

The first year of a child’s life is so full of change, one could even consider it traumatic if the child had no way of helping himself cope. From a safe, warm haven in the womb for nine months, to a bright, noisy new world. Naturally, babies know their mother’s scent and are comforted by her embrace. But, all mothers have to put their baby down at some point.

Self-soothing is an important milestone that a baby must reach. An infant is completely dependent on the world around him and without a way to be soothed, it would be much too harsh of an environment. A nursing mother may become the baby’s sole source of comfort, but there are circumstances in which the mother may not be holding the baby and yet, he needs to feel safe. That is where a lovey can come in.

It is good to introduce a lovey from the start of baby’ s life. Loveys are especially useful later, when helping a baby learn to soothe himself to sleep. To minimize the risk of SIDS, choose a safe lovey that is smaller than the child’s head, but not small enough to be a choking hazard (a small, plush rattle is good). From day one, let baby snuggle with this item while you rock and feed him. He will associate it with comfort.

As a lovey will undoubtedly be sucked on, dropped on the floor, dragged through the mud, and taken to every location your family travels, it may be good to have a copy or two. While one Winnie the Pooh rattle is in the wash, slip in another to take its place. Be careful how you rotate them, though. Babies have a keen sense of smell and can spot an imposter. Be sure to work in the new lovey with a subtle move.

Once a lovey is adopted, it will make transitions more acceptable to baby. For example, if you must be separated from baby while he is at daycare or with a babysitter. With his lovey, it is almost like you never left his side. Well, almost (don’t worry, you will never be replaced by that old blanket!). Eventually, your child will mature beyond the need for his blankie, lambie, or even his trusted thumb and cast it aside.

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