Buying your baby a lovey to snuggle or sleep with can be a fun part of finding out you’re pregnant.
Before using any baby items or offering any toys to your baby, it’s essential to make sure that those items are safe. As a parent, your job is to keep your child safe.
While a lovey or stuffed animal might keep your baby content and help them sleep better, safety should be the top priority.
A common concern is whether loveys are safe for babies to sleep with.
What Is A Lovey?
There are a variety of types of loveys. In general, a lovey is an item that helps baby to sleep more soundly and independently. As long as there’s a positive sleep association with it, an item can be a lovey.
It’s important to note that nearly anything can be a lovey as long as it improves your child’s sleep.
Most commonly, loveys are blankets or stuffed animals. Your child may choose any item to be a lovey, though. The lovey helps your baby feel safe and secure.
What Are The Risks Of A Baby Sleeping With A Lovey?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends keeping loose items out of a baby’s crib.
To keep your baby warm and comfortable, you can use wearable swaddles. Many parents are aware of the risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which is why most parents decide to leave all items out of their baby’s crib.
Babies shouldn’t sleep with blankets, stuffed animals, or anything else because those items can be a suffocation hazard. Blankets and other similar objects may also be strangulation hazards.
Once a baby turns one year old, they can then have items in their crib. If you’re going to give your child a lovey, make sure they do not sleep with them until they turn one.
Waiting for one year eliminates the SIDS risk. At this time, a lovey can be an essential part of safe sleep and ensuring your baby gets plenty of quality sleep too.
When Can Baby Sleep With A Lovey?
As mentioned, it becomes safe for your baby or toddler to sleep with a lovey when they turn one year old. At this point, the risk of SIDS reduces significantly.
When Can A Baby Start Using A Lovey?
Though babies shouldn’t sleep with a lovey until they’re 12 months old, they can use a lovey before that point. Your baby can get familiar with the lovey and might even grow some attachment to it.
Keep in mind that the risks mentioned previously are higher in newborns. There is no reason to introduce a lovey to a newborn.
Wait until your baby is around five months old to introduce them to their lovey. This is an excellent time to introduce your baby to a lovey because they can begin to bond with it, and it will mean something to them.
At that point, make sure your baby is using the lovey while they’re awake and under your supervision.
When you’re ready to introduce a lovey to your child, there are a few things you can do.
First, you can make sure it smells like you. You might sleep with it for a few nights before offering it to your child.
Then, it will be more familiar and comforting for your child.You can also start offering a transitional object to your child as they go to bed or nap.
This helps your baby to understand that it’s for those sleeping times.
Why Should You Offer Baby A Lovey?
There are several benefits to your baby sleeping with a lovey. Take a look at this list and see if a lovey might work for your child and benefit their sleep routine and life in general.
A Lovey Helps With Transitions and Changes
If you move to a new house, welcome a new family member, or experience another life change, your child can rely on their lovey. They can quickly soothe your child and offer them a little bit of emotional support.
Helps Your Child Sleep Better
There are many ways that a lovey can help with sleep training and teach your child to self-soothe.
Eases Separation Anxiety
If your child is at daycare or somewhere else without you, a lovey can help them feel less alone.
Provides Comfort To Your Child
If your child needs extra emotional support, they can be comforted by their lovey. This is a way for your child to self-soothe as well.
How Can A Lovey Help With A Baby’s Sleep?
As mentioned, a lovey can be an important part of a baby’s nap-time and bedtime routines. A lovey is sometimes referred to as a transitional object.
This is because a lovey can help a child get used to sleeping in their crib. Essentially, it helps to make that transition go more smoothly.
Your child can be comforted by their lovey as he or she falls asleep. Some parents have found that their child’s lovey also allows them to sleep through the night.
Using a lovey can make the sleep training process so much easier. Your child can self-soothe by using a lovey.
You don’t even have to be in the room for your child to sleep well or fall back to sleep.
Some parents have found that giving their child a lovey helps with sleep regression as well.
How And When Should You Wean Baby Off The Lovey?
When your child has a comfort object, whether it’s a lovey or a pacifier, they will eventually need to be weaned off of it.
Most parents agree that the benefits of their children using loveys outweighs any potential weaning problems.
Nonetheless, it’s important to realize that you will need to help your child let go of their lovey at some point.
When To Wean Off Of A Lovey
Typically, we expect children to give up their comfort items when they head to preschool or kindergarten.
Some schools or teachers might request that children leave personal items at home.
The problem with this is that some parents take away their child’s lovey right before they go off to school, which means that they are experiencing several significant changes at once.
As you can imagine, preschool or kindergarten is a big step for a child. So, it only makes sense for them to bring their lovey along.
Since this isn’t typically allowed, it’s a good idea to wean your child off the lovey in advance, so they don’t experience so many changes.
Take Small Steps
When it comes time to wean, it’s important to take small steps.
For example, if your child brings their lovey everywhere with them, you can restrict your child to only using the lovey at nap time and bedtime.
You can remind your child that they might lose their lovey or get dirty if they take it outside of the home.
It can also help to give your child a reason to “break up” with their lovey. For example, you can remind them that they are a big kid now.
Your child might also like to tuck their lovey into bed before leaving the house. Things like this can help to make the transition easier for your child.
If you are having trouble weaning your child from their lovey, you can wait a little longer. You might try different techniques too. If all else fails, consider talking to your child’s pediatrician for additional ideas.
Do All Children Use Loveys?
Not every child uses a lovey. Some parents choose not to introduce their child to a lovey for one reason or another.
Some children simply don’t have an interest in a lovey. You can try again at a later time if you think your child would benefit from a lovey. Some kids don’t ever use one.
You don’t need to force your child to use a lovey. Try not to get frustrated with your child. They may or may not use a lovey.
While loveys can be helpful, there are other ways to teach your baby to self-soothe.
Keep in mind that not all loveys are the same. Traditionally, when you think of loveys, you might think of blankets or stuffed animals.
In reality, loveys can be just about anything. Some children carry around other toys or objects.
While this is acceptable, be sure that your child doesn’t choose a lovey that contains small pieces.
There’s Always A Place For Comfort Items
A lovey is a great way to help your baby feel safer while sleeping. Your baby will also feel more comfortable in other settings because their lovey is with them.
Having a stuffed animal, blanket, or another type of lovey can help as your baby learns to sleep on their own or in other places, such as daycare or in the car. T
here are many benefits to your child using a lovey, but there are different ways for your child to self-soothe.
If your child doesn’t seem interested in a lovey, that’s okay.