In our house Dyl has his Doggies, Ry has his Gigis (giraffes), and baby J has his Ellas (elephants). These are toys that we introduced to our kids around the same time we sleep trained them at four months. During sleep training we give up on continually replacing the soother that inevitably falls out of their mouth all night, and they all learned how to self soothe.
Each of our kids has three loveys. I originally envisioned giving them each one at a time, so that we can sneak another away to wash or fix. We abandoned that plan when I realized that putting three in the crib would allow them to find another if they lost one in their movement around the crib. What is interesting is that Dyl has a favorite, ‘Big Doggy’ and Ry has one that he does not like, ‘Yucky Gigi’. The idea is that their lovey became their source of comfort when they are distressed or upset. In my experience they work wonders!! Within weeks of their introduction, our children have been able to self soothe and fall back asleep at night when they awaken, through simple cuddling their favorite friend and sucking their thumb.
It is not uncommon for children to develop a deep-rooted emotional attachment to a stuffed animal or toy. I personally believe that this is a great thing. You see the second our kids get their hands on their respective lovey; they calm down and chill out. Our kids use them as a best friend, someone to play with, talk to and soothe them when they are upset. We routinely see our kids talking to, playing with and singing to their loveys. We have noticed Dyl ‘breastfeeding’ ‘Big Doggie’ on many occasions. It’s their practice for ‘real life’ (sort of). This is one of the reasons that our kids are happy to spend time in their beds, why they sleep so well and why we get some extra time to ourselves after nap and before we get them in the morning.
The major drawback that I hear from parents is the fact that some kids want to bring them everywhere. When Dyl was about 9 months old, we dropped Big Doggy while on a walk and he lost it. So my husband spent almost an hour walking the streets to look for it. So we instituted a ‘no lovey out of the house’ rule, and after 12 months of age we don’t let their loveys out of their bedrooms. It works really well, especially since Ry has an older brother to model this after. That said, we still bring an Ella out with us for J, as he is still a baby. Ry for a time wanted to bring his Gigi. We explained to him that he was a big boy and only babies need it. Fortunately for us he bought the explanation hook-line-and-sinker.
The best thing I find about our kids’ loveys is just how much comfort they provide them. We routinely bring the kids to different situations, for overnights, like my parents’ house, or our friends’ cottage. When they wake up in the night, they are soothed and comforted by their lovey, and often fall back asleep without us even knowing they were awake.
At some point our kids will outgrow their loveys. For now, I’m so happy they have them to comfort and sooth them.