The transition towards independent sleep can come easier if a child uses a lovey, stuffed animal, blanket, or other comfort object.
If you are trying to teach your child (12 months +) to fall asleep without so much assistance from you or a sleep prop, a lovey or stuffed animal can be a helpful tool. Cuddling a lovey or stuffed animal can help bridge the gap between relying on a parent’s help falling asleep to independent sleep.
Some children take to a lovey or stuffed animal, while others pay no attention to it. If your child does not seem to take an interest in it after a week or two, there is no need to keep it in the crib. My son could care less and my daughter can’t sleep without her “puppy”.
If you would like to encourage a lovey, have your child hold it while you are nursing or giving a bottle, so she can start to use this during times of comfort. Some babies or children prefer their mother’s t-shirt as a source of comfort (tie in a knot for safety reasons).
Get a duplicate if your child uses this around sleep! This way, if it gets lost, you will have a back up, or when you need to wash it, rotate it out with the clean one.
Studies have shown that adding a comfort object into your child’s bedtime can help her go to sleep on her own and sleep through the night.
Another bonus – If you are traveling, having this comfort object can help make your little one feel more at home, encouraging sleep to come easier in another location.
***The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until at least 12 months to introduce a lovey, stuffed animal, or blanket into your child’s crib.***