Did you have a lovey as a child? I’ll admit that I still have my pink crocheted blanket. It’s no longer on my bed, but I can’t bear to get rid of something so dear to me that brought me comfort and happy memories.
I always ask families if their child has a lovey. You might call them security blankets, wubbies, snuggle bunnies, blankies, etc but they are all the same thing…they are an object that your child takes to bed with them whenever they sleep for comfort and security.
Loveys can be a comforting way for your child to sleep and become one of your child’s strategies for falling asleep.
I recommend parents introduce a lovey between 4 to 6 months of age.
But how do you choose which one? And what if my child doesn’t like it? Make sure the lovey is something small, such as a small stuffed animal or small blanket, about the size of a face cloth that the child can easily find in the dark. The benefit of a lovey is that it’s something baby can find in the middle night by themselves and doesn’t require your assistance.
Their lovey shouldn’t make noise, such as a rattle or crinkle sound; it shouldn’t light up and shouldn’t have pieces that can be choking hazards, such as buttons for eyes.
You may notice that your child has a particular attraction to a small stuffed animal during playtime. Once you’ve identified the new lovey, include it in activities during the day such as tummy time and when they’re traveling in their car seat.
Make the lovey part of your bedtime routine, especially while baby is having his/her last feeding. Snuggle the lovey in-between you and baby. The lovey will pick up your scent, making it more attractive to baby. Falling in love with a stuffed toy or blankie will take time, sometimes a few weeks of giving it to baby every day and every time they go to sleep so they associate the toy or blankie with sleep. And when baby starts recognize the lovey, it’s best to leave it in the crib. My daughter would always smile and give her little Mickey Mouse a big hug whenever she saw it.
Have questions about your child’s lovey or other sleep related questions? Schedule a free call with me to begin your journey to a better night's sleep!
One of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to getting babies to sleep through the night is the old “cereal in the bottle” trick. It’s been used and recommended by parents for generations. As adults, we know that sleeping on an empty stomach isn’t easy, so I can understand why it’s so popular.
We also know that staying awake when you’ve just eaten a huge meal is nearly impossible.
The idea that a little cereal in baby’s bottle of breastmilk or formula, will keep them feeling full for longer, and therefore help them sleep through the night, seems like a reasonable suggestion.
Now, any parent who has experienced a baby who isn’t sleeping well is probably anxious to find the reason why, and is likely to try anything they see as safe and potentially effective. Unfortunately, the vast majority of parents who use this trick find that, even if it’s successful at first, the results are only temporary, and here’s the reason why...
Once your baby reaches a certain age and weight, (I’ll just use the 6 month mark here as a happy medium) waking in the night isn’t all about food and being hungry. Sure, baby might have nursed a little every time they were offered the breast or bottle, but that doesn’t mean that they were hungry.
The likely scenario is that baby’s become dependent on nursing as a method to get to sleep. After all, if they’ve nursed to sleep every time they’ve woken up for the first six months of their lives, it only makes sense that they won’t be able to get to sleep without that familiar routine.
Putting cereal in the bottle works on the idea that babies fall asleep at bedtime and don’t wake up until morning, assuming there’s nothing bothering them, but that’s not how sleep works. Not for babies and not for adults. We all cycle in and out of deep sleep, and at the end of every cycle, we tend to wake up. Maybe not fully, but we do attain a certain level of consciousness.
In babies, that cycle is usually about 45 minutes, so even on a good night, they’re going to wake up a lot. And if the only way they know how to get to sleep is by nursing, they’re going to cry to get your attention, and wait for you to come in and help them out.
So if it’s got nothing to do with hunger, how can you help them sleep through the night? The solution to the issue, not the “hack” or quick fix, but the actual remedy, is teaching your baby to fall asleep independently.
That might seem like a tall order for a 6 month old, but I assure you, they’re fully capable of learning this invaluable skill. It’s natural, and they typically take to it faster than you would expect. Lots of babies will babble to themselves for a bit, or rub their feet together, or suck on their fingers, or some combination of all three. Let them discover these strategies on their own, and then let them practice them a little.
I’m definitely not saying that you should shut the door and leave a crying baby to figure things out without any comfort or attention. Repeat…I am not saying you have to ignore your baby in order to get them to fall asleep. You should feel free to attend to them, let them know you’re nearby and available, but don’t rock, nurse, or bounce them until they fall asleep. Let them find a way to do it on their own. That way, when they wake in the night, they’ll have the skills they need to settle back down on their own.
Would you like to know the truth about other sleep myths? Let me know what you are interested in learning about next in the comments down below!
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