One of the hardest adjustments for me as a new mommy was lack of sleep. I never realized how much I enjoyed sleep until I wasn’t getting any! Sleeping in 2 hour increments isn’t ideal. We tried sleep training and with these tips were able to finally get some sleep. Part of this process involved introducing a lovey.
Our daughter started sleeping through the night at an early age. However, around 7 months old Izzy started waking up around 4 AM and crying for her mommy & daddy. I knew this wasn’t normal since she has always been a good sleeper. I couldn’t figure out what it was!
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After research and observation we realized she was developing ‘object permanence.’ In other words, Izzy realized we still existed even when we weren’t with her! This typically happens around 4-7 months. Woo hoo for brain development, not so good for lack of sleep.
So we decided it was time. We began introducing a a lovey. What is a lovey anyway? It’s a transitional object (a blanket, stuffed animal, etc.) that will give Izzy a sense of security when we aren’t with her.
I found a soft organic small blanket for her to cuddle with and I thought we were set! The only problem was she loved to play with it in her crib. She didn’t seem to understand it was a ‘security blanket’ and not a toy. After 30 minutes of giggling and laughing in her crib with her new lovey I decided we needed a plan.
Here are 3 tips when introducing a lovey:
Slowly add it to your routine: Babies don’t immediately understand the purpose of a ‘lovey.’ They need to have an attachment to the object first! To do this I started holding the lovey close when I nursed my daughter (you can do this even if you bottle feed) and we used the lovey during story time before bed.
Don’t stress about it: Growing up I had a blanket, I called it my ‘boonie’, so I felt it was okay to introduce one to our daughter. As I mentioned she ended up playing with it at first and I thought “this is backfiring, now she is never going to nap!” Take your time and don’t stress.
If your baby doesn’t seem ready or interested in a lovey, that’s okay. Trust your mommy instincts. God gave them to you for a reason! Also don’t push a certain lovey if your child doesn’t seem to like it. Our daughter ended up liking a different stuffed animal then the one I initially tried to introduce to her. I guess she wanted to pick it herself!
Leave it at home: Personally, we want the lovey to stay at home. This will reduce the amount of germs it picks up and our stress level when we accidentally leave it at a restaurant. If we decide to travel with Izzy or have her sleep over at her grandparents house we will bring the lovey. But as a general rule we want to use the lovey for sleep!
Lastly, some moms have found greater success when the lovey smelled like mommy. You could first sleep with it yourself or snuggle with it a few hours in the day to get your “scent” on to the lovey.
Now like many things in parenting. These things take time. Will this completely change all your sleep problems? Most likely no, but many parents find security blankets comfort their children. It helps them self-soothe and feel comfortable if they wake in the middle of the night.
***Finally, talk to your pediatrician before introducing a lovey or any type of blanket or stuffed animal to your baby’s crib. Safety should always come first.