by our guest blogger: Brooke Nalle
As a pediatric sleep specialist and owner of Sleepy on Hudson, I know how overwhelming the whole learning-to-sleep process with newborns can be! But I’m here to tell you that there is an incredibly simple yet effective tool that might just so happen to be the answer to all of your problems – the lovie! If you want a more scientific-sounding term, lovies can be considered ‘transitional objects.’ But whichever name you prefer, I recommend that ALL of my clients get them for their children, and buying them for my kids has been one of my smartest moments as a parent (if I do say so myself!). They are instrumental to baby’s self-soothing process, and what’s more, my son Alistair considers his lovie his favorite toy. Such a crowd pleaser!
Lovies are a small, soft piece of fabric sized just-right for infants. They can often include a small stuffed animal face for an extra-cute touch. My son’s beloved lovie (yes, the lovie lived up to its name!) was an adorable brown doggie. Unlike other toys, lovies can’t be bounced, twirled, plugged in, thrown or caught. Though simple, they are sure to become a fast favorite amongst kids and parents alike.
Lovies play a vital role in the self-soothing process for little ones. Newborns will relate the softness of the fabric to the softness and warmth of Mom, and therefore love snuggling up with these special “blankies.” Keeping the lovie smelling fresh is important (most lovies are machine washable!) and will also remind little ones of how good their mommies smell. Additionally, lovies can be placed over baby’s belly for added warmth to soothe and replicate the cozy environment of Mom’s belly. The lovie’s ability to recreate all of these comforting sensations allows young children to ease into the self-soothing process and make a seamless transition to sleeping on their own. Sometimes I worry that these little blankies will put me out of business – they seem to do all of the heavy lifting!
You can start using lovies with your newborn immediately, have them start using independently around 2 months, and they should begin grabbing and clutching at the lovie around 4 months. Perhaps the best part about lovies is that as your bundle of joy continues to grow, his or her lovie will continue to remain in the picture by taking on more and more roles. Lovies can be a comforting pal throughout all of the tough times that your little one might endure during his or her first year and beyond. Whether it is ear infections, teething, or going off to daycare for the first time, a lovie will remain a steadfast pal that is always on hand to provide some relief. No matter the situation, lovies almost always work (and are often the only thing that works) to make your little one happy and feeling better. Don’t be surprised if your kids take them off to overnight camp or even college!
At Makaboo.com, the ability to personalize your little one’s lovie makes them even more special. Adding a name is not only a great, personalized touch, but if these little guys ever get dropped or left behind (it will happen quite a few times) a name on the item lets others know that the lovie needs to be returned to someone special!
Brooke Nalle, founder of Sleepy On Hudson, is a pediatric sleep specialist and sleep coach specializing in developmentally appropriate sleep programs that are gentle yet effective. In addition to her local New York area clients, she works with families around the country, Canada and Europe. She has three children, Alistair (8), Clara (6), and Loewy (3) - all of whom are great sleepers now. It wasn’t easy at first, and they still adore their lovies. Find Brooke on Facebook at facebook.com/sleepyonhudson, on the web: sleepyonhudson.com, or on Twitter, @sleepyonhudson