This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.
A lovey can be a great choice for your baby and even help them sleep better. If you are tired of having to get up multiple times in the night to replace a lost binky, or maybe you can’t bear to bounce your baby to sleep on that yoga ball anymore, introducing a lovey may be a big help to you.
I don’t know about you but as a kid, I LOVED stuffed animals. In England, we called them teddies or teddy bears. No matter If it was a horse, dog or elephant all stuffed animals were called teddies.
I had teddies for sleeping, I had teddies for tea parties, I had teddies that would just sit on the shelf and observe.
I am pretty sure I had enough teddys to have a teddy bear shop. It’s safe to say something soft and cuddly can really be a child’s best friend.
Maybe you had a favorite blanket as a child or a pillow. Whatever it was, I bet you had some kind of connection with it and it provided comfort and familiarity. A lovey can do the same thing for your baby.
What is a lovey?
A lovey is something soft, cuddly and often pretty cute. They usually carry the appearance of a stuffed animal combined with a small blanket. A lovey doesn’t necessarily have to be something of this exact description, it could really be anything your baby takes a liking to.
Some babies will take to a “blankie” more than a lovey, which is perfectly fine. As long as it can offer security and help soothe your baby.
Here is the lovey that I chose.
At what age do I give a lovey to my baby?
Well, this question doesn’t really come with a straightforward answer. This is something you ultimately need to decide on your own.
Just like loose blankets and pillows in your baby’s crib, a lovey could possibly pose the same risks of suffocation.
I introduced a lovey to my baby between 5 and 6 months. Some may say that is too early but with the type of lovey I chose, and my baby’s personality I felt comfortable giving it to him.
Watch your baby’s cues and they will help tell you when they are ready.
You may feel comfortable introducing a lovey to your baby once they are more able to move and roll around. The lovey might also be less of a risk at this point.
Also, choosing a lovey that is a suitable size for your baby and not something that is too large is a good idea.
Avoid a lovey that may have small parts that could create a choking hazard, such as plastic eyes or a nose, etc.
These simple points will help avoid any dangers to your baby and give you the peace of mind for safe sleeping.
Why should I introduce a lovey?
A lovey can be a really great thing if used correctly. Instead of your baby relying on something that you have to offer (i.e. food, rocking, bouncing) to be able to go to sleep, a lovey is often a great alternative to helping your baby self soothe.
I remember sleepless nights of my baby waking up every couple of hours because he needed my help to get back to sleep. I would climb back into bed, lay my head on the pillow to hear my babies cry again.
If only he would go back to sleep on his own. Introducing a lovey to my baby helped him create skills to self soothe and use an object for comfort.
What if my baby loses his lovey in the night?
That is a very valid concern, that I know I had as well. We have all spent endless nights replacing the binky every few hours, so what makes a lovey any different.
What happens when they lose it at the bottom of the crib and can’t find it?!
Well, in my experience this hasn’t really been an issue. Loveys are much bigger than a binky.
Obviously, you don’t want something huge that could be a danger to your baby, but a suitable sized lovey is much much bigger than a tiny, fiddly binky.
Not only does your baby have to find their binky in the dark but then they have to be able to navigate it back into their mouth the right way around.
Doing all of this in the middle of the night, half-asleep, is not going to have a high success rate for your baby.
A lovey is a lot easier to grab and isn’t going to get bounced or thrown around like a binky. It is also a lot less likely to fall out of the crib.
Even if they “lose” their lovey, 9 times out of 10 they could reach around a bit, and usually have no problem grabbing it.
Last point about loveys vs binkies. Loveys are probably something you won’t have to wean your baby off of.
A lovey or a blanket might be an item they like to sleep with when they are a young child, whereas you probably don’t want your 5 year old still sucking a binky.
Why do babies like loveys?
Babies, children and adults for that matter all experience the sense of smell. Scent can be powerful.
Still to this day, certain Christmas scents will take me back to my childhood and remind me of the time we would get out all of our Christmas decorations to get ready for that special time of year.
It reminds me of the magic of Christmas, the food, the fun, and the excitement. All of that in one quick whiff of the “sparkling apple cider” wax melts at Walmart.
Babies associate a lot with smells too. Their sense of smell is developed early on in utero. Newborn babies are able to quickly know the smell of their mother and mother’s breastmilk.
This is probably why skin to skin can often soothe your baby and help them feel calm. As babies continue to grow and develop so does their sense of smell.
Smell is processed by the part of the brain that also controls memory. That is why certain smells can often bring back certain feelings or experiences that you have previously had.
Babies can associate smells with good things. A lovey can easily retain familiar smells that your baby can recognize and become attached to.
As a mother, you can even try sleeping with it for a few nights so that it smells like you. This can help your baby take an initial liking to it.
No matter how many times I wash my baby’s loveys they still have the same old smell to them. But in reality, I think the smell is what my baby loves!
It definitely wouldn’t be my top choice of perfume, but my baby begs to differ. Whatever works, right?
Keeping it just for sleeping
I think this is where you have to make sure your loveys are used correctly. Don’t get me wrong your child can have a million teddys like I did and play with them all throughout the day. That is completely fine!
It is crucial to reserve a special one that is just saved for sleeping.
This is a big deal because it helps your baby associate something good with going to sleep. The more they grow to like the lovey the more they will be excited to see it when they get in their crib.
When I first introduced my baby with a lovey he didn’t think it was anything extraordinary. I mean he like touching it and holding it but if I didn’t give it to him for a nap he wasn’t that worried.
As he got older and older, the consistency of having a cuddly friend to nap with became more and more meaningful.
Within a month or so he began using the lovey to self soothe. I would watch him on the video monitor and see that he was learning skills to get back to sleep while stroking and holding his new best friend.
Believe it or not, your baby will come up with some creative way in which they like to use their lovey to self soothe.
My baby loves to bite and chew the nose and then run the nose along the palm of his hand. Weird I know, but it works like a charm.
Believe me, I have watched him do it a hundred times!
Maybe they find the tag and like playing with that. They’ll figure out something and that will usually be how they drift off to sleep.
With all that being said, if the lovey becomes something your toddler drags through the grocery store and then to the park, bedtime doesn’t become anything special.
Plus, if your baby loses their cuddly friend at the park, you may not want to deal with that consequence.
Reserving the lovey for bedtime can be the best choice you can make.
Obviously, if you are going on a long car ride and you are wanting your baby to go to sleep, offering it to them then is fine too.
I make sure my baby knows his loveys are for sleeping and they stay in his crib. He knows this expectation, so it is not something I have to fight him over.
If your baby is feeling unwell or is in need of extra comfort, a lovey might be an appropriate option then as well. Just make sure having it out every day to play with does not become the norm.
Buying a double
Last thing, buying a double is a must! For more reasons than one, having a backup is really necessary. If your baby’s lovey gets lost, or you need to wash it, having a second one is really beneficial.
Buy two at the same time, just in case you aren’t able to find an identical one later on.
I didn’t buy a second lovey until a few months later. And my baby took a while to like the second one as it didn’t smell like the original.
It so happens that he now actually likes sleeping with them both, but if one needs a wash, he is still content with having the other by itself.
If you are worried about your baby losing their lovey in the night, offering two loveys can eliminate that possibility even more.
Overall, a lovey is something I would 100% recommend. It allows your baby to develop self-soothing sleep habits that will really help your baby sleep better through the night.
Did you find this post useful? Want to get back to this page later? Save THIS PIN below to your Baby Sleep Training and Sleep Advice board on Pinterest.