A lovey can be a great tool that can help your child sleep better and feel comforted in their sleep space. Typically a lovey is a small blanket or stuffed animal that your child forms an attachment to. You might be wondering when it’s safe to let your child sleep with a lovey and how to introduce one for sleep, let’s talk about it!
When is it safe to introduce a lovey or blanket?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your child sleeps in an empty, safety-approved crib or bassinet until they are 12 months old, so ideally we want to wait until after your child’s first birthday to introduce a lovey or blanket for sleep. It is okay introduce a lovey or blanket before then during the day, just make sure it’s not being put in their bed at sleep times.
- No small parts that can be easily torn or pulled off. Think sewn on eyes, buttons, or beads.
- No music or sounds. Some loveys will have crinkly ears or patches, or even music that plays that can wake your baby if they move the lovey around in their sleep.
- Introduce it during play time and stroller walks around 6 months to allow your child to become familiar with it and start to form an attachment.
- Make sure the blanket is appropriate in size for your child
- Choose a lightweight and breathable option – avoid heavy or weighted blankets with strings or ribbons
- Toddlers start to understand how to use a blanket closer to 2-3 years old, before then they often struggle to stay covered or cover themselves up and this can disrupt sleep
How do I introduce a lovey for sleep?
Not all children will want to sleep with a lovey or blanket and that’s totally fine! You can start by introducing the comfort item at 6 months old. Offer it to your child during wake windows, in the car or stroller, and even to the grocery store or trips to the pediatrician’s office. This will help your child form an attachment to the item, so when it’s time to introduce it for sleep, the comfort and security is there!
After your child’s first birthday you may begin allowing them to sleep with their comfort item. The first few nights they might end up throwing the lovey out of their bed, you can go in a few times to pick it back up for them, but if this persists and the lovey is more of a distraction, I recommend temporarily taking it away and trying to introduce it for sleep at a later age when they will be more likely to use the lovey properly without it causing a sleep disruption!
Helpful Tip 🌟 Make the comfort item smell like you! Sleep with it in your own bed for a few nights or wear it under your shirt for a few days to get your scent on the lovey or blanket.
Need more support that a lovey can’t provide?
If you have a baby or toddler that isn’t sleeping well and your child needs more support than a lovey, check out the ways we can work together to get your child’s sleep on the right path! Click here for infant sleep help or here for toddler sleep help. We offer 1;1 sleep training support packages and one-time phone support calls as well as sleep training guides for ages 4 months and up!