Whether you call it a lovey, a blanky, a deki, a security blanket, or maybe it's a stuffed animal with a name of its own. Regardless. A rose by any other name will still smell as sweet.
The point is this: it's something your baby or toddler uses to comfort himself and cuddle up to fall asleep.
But isn't it a prop, Chaya Shifra?
Well, yes. And no.
Technically, a prop is anything outside of your own body that you need in order to fall asleep. So in that event, yes, I would call it a prop.
A lovey (which is what I call it to include either the blankey or the stuffed animal option) is more like your pillow or blanket or a dark room - it's something that will stay there the whole night and your child can shift it on his/her own if need be.
Consistency, my dear mommy. Consistency is what makes everything go 'round.
But let's talk life: things change.
Starting a new school or playgroup.
Yomim Tovim away from home.
You might not view those as major changes (well, I think we all agree that some of them are... I just finished potty training x2... yeah. A major change.) but your child definitely does - especially if she's too young for you to explain it to her in advance!
Having a lovey, as something that will be constant and stay the same regardless of the situation, is a huge comfort for a young child.
It's something familiar that you can bring with you anywhere - it'll smell like home, look like home, feel like home (and for those of you who have kids who chew on their lovies - it'll taste like home too! ?).
And that familiarity will perpetuate a consistency in a situation that everything's changed - which means that your child will sleep better.
No worries! It's never too late to start something new!
If your child is too little to understand, you can simply choose or purchase a lovey, and start putting him or her to sleep with it.
If your child is old enough to choose one out on his own, go to the store together and turn it into an exciting adventure! This can be especially helpful if you're working on dropping your child's pacifier.
Yep, it happens.
And sometimes, your child has one, and isn't attached to it, and then magically one day wakes up and decides that it's his best friend!
You can encourage attachment to the lovey by holding it between you and your child when you nurse her, or wrap him up in it during the day and cuddle together so that she has an association between the lovey and being cuddled and cozy.
Never really attached to something? No worries - I've worked with plenty of kids who sleep beautifully without lovies, too :)
While it doesn't really matter *what* your lovey is (I had one client who's 2.5 year old's lovey was a plastic army figurine), the when is very important.
Firstly - having any kind of blanket or stuffed animal in the crib with a child under 6 months can pose a SIDS risk, so it's best to wait until 6 months before introducing a lovey.
Secondly - keep it for sleep time. It should not be something that your child carries around with him or her all day. It should stay in the crib and be for sleep time exclusively.
It is also best to stick to just one lovey - a whole collection of blankets and stuffed animals in the crib or bed is NOT the goal!
So what's your child's lovey status?
Going to get one? Have one already? Let me know in the comments below!