We talk a lot about sleep props and often speak to our Clients that not all Sleep Props are negative. For example, we highly encourage a darkened room for both day and night sleeps, the use of white noise and also from a certain age we recommend a 'lovey'.
A lovey is a safe soft object that your little one can use for comfort for falling asleep and during wake ups in the night. It can be a great and sustainable tool for supporting your child's sleep.
We are often asked a few key questions:
1. How to pick a lovey?
The first consideration is always safety. You need to ensure it's breathable fabric and that it's small and short to avoid any entanglement or choking risks. Avoid anything with beady eyes, bows, loose clothing, ribbons or pieces that could detach. We also recommend you get something that you can buy more of if that's the one your child connects with. We are often heart-broken for families who have been separated from their child's lovey and it can be distressing!
2. When to introduce a lovey?
You can actually enable your little one to establish an early connection with their lovey in a safe way even before they are ready to have it safely in bed with them.
While you should never have any items in your baby's sleep space prior to a safe age, you can certainly introduce them to their lovey outside of their sleep space during their nap time and bedtime routine early on. So for example when you are getting your baby ready for a nap by changing nappy and singing them a little song they can be given their lovey during this supervised time when you're with them and then the lovey can be removed when they are put into bed. For younger babies you can even just hold this up to their cheek for them for a little bit as part of their routine as you sing or soothe them for bed and then remove as you put them into bed.
Doing this enables your little one to establish a connection with that lovey and sleep both in terms of routine and emotional comfort too. A great way to introduce the lovey safely and build a wonderful comforting sleep cue.
Remember all the normal safety tips for loveys still stand! Safety first always
We then typically recommend a lovey can move into their sleep space from around 5 months onwards. If you have any concerns then we recommend you check with your health care professional as appropriate.
3. My baby isn't interested in their lovey!
Sometimes babies don't show an immediate interest in their lovey. This can especially be the case when they have many other external sleep props they are reliant on for getting to, and getting back to, sleep. They just don't have a need for it.
When they start their journey towards independence with sleep they can show a sudden interest. Sometimes it takes time for them to form the attachment and we just persist.....even when they literally throw it off their cot!
4. Should a lovey be just for sleep time? We recommend this as it becomes a very powerful sleep cue and provides a strong association to cosy lovely sleep. We have seen time and time again children literally getting excited to get their lovey and get to sleep
5. Buy more than one!
Time and time again we see posts on various social media posts with distraught parents who are desperately trying to relocate a missing lovey or trying to source the exact same one that's been lost. We recommend that you get 3-4 of them to ensure you're on the safe side!