A “lovey” is a cute word for a transitional object. During the first year, your child goes through a lot of changes. A transitional object is an item that stays constant; it doesn’t leave or change, and it helps children feel secure. It’s especially helpful for sleep because it’s always there when your child wakes up at night, changes nap schedules, or moves to a new bed.
A lovey can be anything. It can be a blanket, a stuffed animal or a favorite toy, just as long as your child can form a bond with it, and it is safe to carry around. If you don’t intentionally introduce a lovely, chances are your child with develop a bond with an item anyway.
Not every child needs a lovely, but some children benefit from it. Here’s how to introduce one.
Make sure the lovely is safe
Ideally you want something soft and comfy so you don’t have to monitor your child’s use all the time. It should be able to remain in bed with your child all night. It should not have small pieces that can separate or be removed. It should not have any hard edges.
Consider baby’s preferences
You want an item that your child can easily relate to without much insistence on your part. If your child likes throw blankets, offer a special one. If your child has an affinity for rabbits, a stuffed bunny might be the best transitional object. You could also try a stuffed character from one of baby’s favorite books or programs.
Introduce it early
Make the lovey part of your child’s life around three to six months of age. Baby won’t respond to it right away, but the connection will slowly build over time. By eight months, your child will feel like it’s always been around, which cements consistency.
Impart mommy or daddy’s smell
Young children use their sense of smell for comfort. You can make the lovey feel like mom or dad by snuggling with the lovey yourself. Make sure it touches you when you cuddle with your child before bed. You could also wear it for a few hours against your skin before you give it to your child.
Choose something replaceable
The idea of a transitional object is that it always stays with your baby, so you’ll want something you can replace in the event that it becomes lost, damaged or destroyed. If you’re buying something new and the cost isn’t too high, consider picking up a spare.
Make it part of the bedtime routine
The best way to get your child to accept a lovey is to make it a part of everyday life. Bring it to bed at bedtime. Incorporate it into games and play. Kiss and hug the lovey so your child sees that you accept it and that it’s safe.
Make sure the lovey is present during stressful times
If you think an occurrence or event will cause stress, make sure the lovey is around. You’ll want it present during doctor’s visits, waking periods after sleep, injuries, meeting new people, and crowded events.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Written by Stephanie Parker from Sleepingbaby.com, inventor of the Zipadee-Zip
The motto for Sleeping Baby, makers of the Zipadee-Zip, is: "Inspiring Dreams One Night at A time," and that, in a nutshell, is how it all started…with one little dream that has since become the Parker family's reality. When Brett and Stephanie Parker's daughter, Charlotte, was born, the feeling that welled up inside of them was indescribable; they never realized until first looking into those baby blues of hers that they were even capable of that kind of love.
When it was time to transition baby from swaddling, the Parkers tried every sleep sack on the market and every swaddle weaning trick they could find for nearly two weeks and nothing worked to get baby Charlotte to fall and stay asleep.
Stephanie became determined to restore sleep and sanity to their household and set out to find a solution that would soothe Charlotte's startle reflex and provide her the cozy womb-like environment she loved so much but still give her the freedom to roll over and wiggle around in her crib safely. Out of sheer desperation and exhaustion, the Zipadee-Zip was born. The first Zipadee-Zip(R) Stephanie put together on her little sewing machine worked like magic!
To date, tens of thousands of Zipadee-Zips have been sold and all from word-of-mouth marketing. It is so rewarding for the Parkers to see other parents and babies getting the sleep they both need and deserve!
For more information, visit sleepingbaby.com.
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