‘Lovie’ may or may not be a term that you are familiar with. When we use this term it is in reference to an object that your baby can form a bond with. They may also be known as a transitional object or comfort object if you are doing any research on the topic.
A lovie can be anything from a teddy bear to a blanket or a combination of the two! Something that is safe for your baby to have with them at sleep or comfort time.
Let's talk about the safety side of things – super important, right? For babies, under 12 months of age it is not recommended that they have anything in their cot with them under safe sleep guidelines (see Related Safe Sleep Article Here). You will also need to note any other possible hazards, for example choking. Avoid anything that has buttons or detachable pieces. So, when choosing what might be a suitable lovie for your little one to bond with think of their age and also examine possible objects for their safety features.
The truth of the matter is not every baby will need a lovie however I would encourage all parents to try to see if their babies will form a positive association with something that will given them comfort at times where they may need it – such as sleep.
A lovie becomes a familiar object that can bring comfort to your baby at a time when they need it. When a baby is settling themselves to sleep it can be something that they turn to while settling off that brings them a sense of security and bond. Well, isn’t that what I am for, I hear you say? Yes, parents are of course the most important security that your child will have however you may choose to sleep independently so it is nice that your child has something familiar that they can cuddle too.
These objects can also be very useful when handling change around your little one's sleep. Perhaps they are starting childcare, you are moving home, a new sibling arrives or developmental milestones are happening. This lovie will become something familiar in a world that might be a little bit different and help them on the path to adjustment.
I encourage parents to start the bond with a lovie from 4 months but only within safe sleep guidelines. Use it at times of comfort such as feeding, playtime, and the sleep time routine. However, do not allow it to go into their cot until 12 months or beyond. Offer it after sleep for them to snuggle into when they have woken from their slumber. That way bond and attachment are formed from early.
However, do not be surprised if your little one does not form a bond with a lovie straight away. In my experience by consistently offering one comfort object the bond will come but at what age range is child dependent. With my own children, 2 had formed the bond well before 12 months but with my last child that bond didn’t form until after 12 months.
Yes! However, it is not recommended that it goes into their cot with them at sleep time. You can however allow them to have it outside of sleep time to encourage bond. Have it with you and give it to them at feed times. Use it as part of the bedtime routine & give it to the baby when sleep is over. That way it becomes something that is familiar to them and although is not going into their cot with them is seen as something that is part of their bedtime cues.
Remember, lovies can get lost or worn! So, my best mom tip is to make sure you have a few in stock at home! I learned this the hard way when my middle child lost her lovie in a supermarket and we didn’t have a spare at home! Let's just say my superstar sleeper was a little off-kilter until we got a new one & there was an emergency trip to the nearest stockist the following day.
By having a few on standby you won’t get caught as I did & when one is in the wash you will have another to take its place!
This is my go-to lovie! Each of my children has one of these in different colours. When my youngest was born the older two gave him one as his ‘welcome to the family’ gift. As well as being a super soft cuddly bear it has the added feather of a heart machine that is similar to the sound of a mother's heartbeat in the womb. We love these & I would highly recommend them as a lovie.
Lovies of this style are a real go-to for families. It has the combination of a blanket along with an animal feature to bond with. Super soft with no buttons or pieces that can be a safety hazard, I love products of this nature.
Erica Hargaden is a certified Child Sleep Consultant, mum to 3 children, and runs Babogue Sleep Solutions to bring the gift of sleep to as many families as possible. She is the creator of The Sleep Series, which is a video-based online sleep program designed around her 7 Steps to Better Sleep. For more information check out her Instagram @babogue_sleep, see www.babogue.com, email email@example.com or call +353 086 8260887