Night Night, Sleep Tight Little One.

Posted by Karyn Cossey on

Lovey, cuddly, snugglebunny, squishy, tot, momo – they have many names but these little buddies can have some positive effects on the little ones in our lives.

Some babies attach themselves to a special blanket or toy that becomes a lovey, (or in the sleep consultant’s world the more formal name being a transitional toy) This little object can comfort your baby when you aren’t there – which is very handy in the middle of the night when we all need our sleep. A lovey or cuddly isn’t there to take your place but is something that your baby can become attached to and cuddle when they need to fall asleep without your help. Not all babies will become attached to a lovey but many do and it can be a great help to parents when they are teaching their babies and toddlers to self-settle. Some children will have a special lovey that they have become attached to since Babyhood and others will switch from time to time through a small group of favourite loveys. Of course some babies will sometimes find their own lovey – and these can be wide ranging!

Safe Sleeping

It is important to follow safe sleep recommendations and the recommended age is 7 – 8 months, if you are in any doubt about what your child is using for a lovey make sure you check with your health professional. When choosing a lovey or cuddly for your baby make sure that they are safe. No button eyes or noses, or any small removable pieces. Small and easy to hold is best!

Why have a lovey at all?

You may be wondering why you need to give your baby a lovey. Firstly some babies won’t need one – they will be able to self-soothe without one. They may suck their thumb or stoke their hair. But if you want your baby to self-sooth independently, especially without you in the room then a lovey is a big help! The lovey is a familiar, cuddly item that is a comfort to your child. It also provides a great sleep association – so when your baby sees it or is given their lovey they know that it is time to go to sleep. This can be a great help when you are out and about, when they are staying with grandparents or travelling. Some loveys go back and forwards to daycare on a daily basis. As your baby becomes a toddler a lovey can become an important security item for them too. Helping them through transitions that are happening, like new siblings, moving house or any time they feel they need a little bit of extra security.

Encouraging attachment

During the newborn stage your baby is too young to form an attachment to an object so it is best to wait until they are older. As recommended to support safe sleeping 7 – 8 months or even a year, if you are concerned check with your baby’s health care professional, or pop them out of your babies reach when they are in the cot. There are a few tricks that you can do to help your baby become attached to their lovey.

• When you have chosen your lovey or cuddly pop it between you while you are feeding, rocking or cuddling your baby.

• ‘Wear’ it inside your shirt for a few hours or sleep with it for a night. That way it gets that lovely mummy smell, as your baby can instantly recognise your scent.

If your child is a little older and forming their own strong opinions try talking them through it. Get excited about it, explain that a cuddly friend is on the way to help them at night with their soothers (if using this type of comforter) or to help them snuggle down at night - open the parcel up with them and make a wee song and dance about it - give lots of cuddles and perhaps choose a name together to help them bond.

Most importantly If you get a chance to choose your child’s lovey or at least guide them in the right direction choose something that you are comfortable with as they may be part of the family for some time! Otherwise an old piece of mums nighty or a funny looking soft toy could be the one special thing that they want to take to kindergarten on their very first day.

A great tip is to have a lovely that you can easily replace or better still buy several of the same one so that you will always have a backup for those times it is left behind or when the all-important wash day comes around, not to mention the times they are temporally lost. That way you won’t find yourselves up searching in the middle of the night looking for the one little buddy that you child needs to go to sleep and everyone’s happy.

And lastly but very importantly - a fully swaddled baby should never be left alone with any sort of comforter. If your baby is fully swaddled ie: they cannot move their arms or grip things in their hands - then just try securing the lovely to the cot bars at night until they are older and able to safely hold on to each other.

If you have any further questions about self-settling you can email Jane at

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