Five Tips for Successfully Introducing a Comfort Item to Your Child for Sleep
You’ve probably heard many times before that a safe baby sleep environment is one that is free of any objects – just a tight fitted sheet on a firm mattress in an empty crib. That is very true and is the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation. But did you know that as your baby celebrates its first birthday, they also reach another milestone where it becomes safe to sleep with a comfort item, like a lovey? This is because, by 12 months of age, most babies are coordinated enough to remove something that might be covering their face, should it obstruct their breathing.
It was a complete game changer when we introduced a lovey to our daughter. She loved snuggling with it as she fell asleep. I’d often see her on the monitor, wake up for a moment, feel around for her lovey, tuck it under her and head back to dreamland. Loveys are so great because they give your child comfort all night long, instead of relying on you for that – so you can get a good night’s sleep too. Loveys can provide your little one with comfort when separation anxiety sets in overnight, when sick or teething or when sleeping in an unfamiliar place.
Some babies will bond quickly and easily with their loveys, but for many, fostering the connection can take some time and persistence.
Here are my five tips for introducing a lovey to your little one:
Tip #1: Include lovey in your nap and bedtime routine. Bring lovey out while feeding and reading or singing and cuddling before sleep. You can even do this before your child’s first birthday, so they start to recognize and enjoy having lovey around during these times. Just don’t leave lovey in the crib with your little one until they turn 12 months of age.
Tip #2: If you don’t already have a lovey picked out, involve your child in choosing their lovey. Perhaps it can be a special first birthday present.
Tip #3: Before introducing lovey to your baby for sleeping within the crib, have lovey sleep in your bed for a few nights so that your scent rubs off on it. Your scent is comforting to your little one, which will help them find comfort in lovey too.
Tip #4: Keep lovey separate from other toys and stuffed animals, so your child doesn’t confuse it as something to play with but rather something to find comfort in.
Tip #5: Make sure the lovey you choose doesn’t have small pieces that can come off and become choking hazards (i.e., buttons for eyes). Also, select a lovey that doesn’t light up or make noises, so it doesn’t distract from sleep.
My most important tip of all is this – when your child starts to love their lovey, be sure to have lots of twin or triplet loveys on hand. You can leave one at daycare and grandparents’ houses. Have two at home so you can easily clean one lovey while the other is in use – or in case lovey ever gets lost!
| Sleeping Cutiezzz Pediatric Sleep Consulting | Canada
When her daughter was born, Rachel was not prepared for how much love she could feel for another person or for how exhausting new motherhood would be. She became sleep obsessed – learning all that she could about baby sleep and how to get more of it. Once her own daughter was sleeping through the night, she began helping friends and family with their children’s sleep (or lack thereof!)
She has since become a certified pediatric sleep consultant, holistically guiding exhausted parents to reach their sleep goals through personalized sleep plans and 1-on-1 coaching. Rachel is a firm believer that sleep is an integral component of our overall health, that being a mom does not have to mean being exhausted and that we are all our best selves after a good night’s sleep.