Whether you call it a baby lovey, security blanket, blankie, or “woobie” (circa 1983 Mr. Mom), these comfort objects are a must-have when your little one has separation anxiety or trouble sleeping. They can be like little pieces of heaven for your baby or toddler, helping them feel safe and secure when you’re not there.
It’s the one baby gift you wished you had on your baby shower registry and makes a great gift for any mom welcoming home a new baby
What is a lovey
Basically, a lovey is any kind of comfort object or comfort item that a baby is drawn to. A baby’s lovey can be a small blanket, a stuffed animal, soft toys, a shirt, a piece of fabric. Really, anything that gives your baby a sense of comfort.
However, keep in mind that you can’t give just any object to your baby. The lovey needs to be age appropriate and not be a choking hazard (think buttons, cords, laces, and no small parts).
I strongly recommend visiting the American Academy of Pediatrics to get more info if you’re concerned about the risk of SIDS and keeping a safe sleep environment.
Why use a lovey
Personally, I started using a lovey in hopes that it would help my baby sleep better. I continued to use loveys with my next two kids because I saw how well it worked with my first. I used it as a transitional object to cue my baby for sleep and it worked like a charm.
If your child is having trouble sleeping, going through sleep regressions, or if your child is showing signs of separation anxiety, a lovey can help them self-soothe in your absence.
When to start using a lovey
It is recommended that babies don’t have anything in their crib until 12 months of age. However, you can still introduce a lovey earlier just keep it out of the crib at sleep time until it’s safe and age appropriate.
How to pick a lovey
First, you need to pick a lovey. Better yet, have your baby pick the lovey. Some babies prefer soft, others textured, some go more for the scent. Try out a few different items during play, leaving a few options for baby to play with on their own. Observe which item your baby gravitates toward or plays with most often, which one seems to be a perfect companion? I don’t recommend full size baby blankets; they are large and take up too much space in the crib or car seat.
My top picks are the Hoppa Bonding Doll and the Aden & Anais Issie, which is what they call a small security blanket. I personally love and used both. What I love about the Hoppa Bonding Doll (previously Peppa) is that it has a unique design where the head is filled with wool (which holds scent). I would put it under my pillow, or under my shirt, so that it could absorb and hold my scent.
It’s the perfect security object because it’s:
- machine washable
- made of organic cotton
Bonus – the little knotted hands and feet are the perfect size for teething babies to chew.
My little guy would rub the satin between his two fingers to self-soothe. The soft blanket’s fabric presents a low risk of suffocation hazard because it is so thin and breathable. These can also go in the washing machine and dry super quick, which is a must when it comes to loveys.
How to introduce the lovey
Once you’ve found the lovey that your baby has a connection with, it’s time to start using it consistently. A great way is to start using it as part of your nap and bedtime routine, a time when baby should be calm and is looking for comfort.
Another good place to use a lovey is in a baby car seat. Babies often get separation anxiety when they can’t see their mama from the back seat on a drive.
As you help your baby wind down for sleep, use the lovey as part of the process. If you rock or sing to your baby, hold the lovey between you. If you read to your baby before sleep, have your baby hold the lovey or have it rest on your baby as you read. Having the lovey present every time your baby winds down for sleep will help them know what’s to come next time they see the lovey. If age appropriate, place the lovey in baby’s crib when you lay them down to sleep. If your baby wakes, they’ll be comforted by the lovey beside them.
I’m not gonna lie, it isn’t magic, but it did significantly help all three of my babies get better sleep and feel comfort when I wasn’t around.
Top Tip for Loveys
Buy multiple! When selecting – or suggesting – your lovey, try and offer things to your baby that you can buy more of. If you have one shirt that your baby loves, odds are you won’t be able to find another one when that one gets puked on at midnight and your baby won’t sleep. Buy AT LEAST 2 with the option to buy more.
Believe me! You’ll want to send one to daycare and keep one at home. Or, have one in the crib and one in the diaper bag. You don’t want to be stuck without that specific stuffed animal or blanket, trust me!
I love the Peppa dolls so much I include them in the done-for-you baby gift boxes I create.
For those of you that have read this far, and understood the Mr. Mom reference in the intro, this is for you!