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How To Introduce a Lovey into Your Baby's Life:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This little girl has a true love. An unconditional love. One that I have hoped for her to have since before she was born.

I'm talking, of course, about.....


Her Bunny Bunny.


It was a slow-building relationship--- I didn't even introduce the two of them until Lucy was nearly 3 months old--- but since then, it has grown into a love without end.

Bunny Bunny stays in her crib, and waits for her to come snuggle for naps and bedtime. When Lucy gets put in her crib, I ask her, using the ASL sign for "bunny", "Where's your Bunny Bunny?" She gets a huge smile on her face, sometimes even squawks a little, and starts to laugh a little, quivering with anticipation. I ask her again, and get her REALLY riled up... and when I finally hold her Bunny Bunny in front of her eyes, she lunges for it, hugs it with both hands, immediately brings it to her mouth, bites on Bunny's head, and keeps a massive grin on her face the whole time.

True love.♥

And now, a recipe of sorts. 

Remember Noah's "Mai"? 

His love affair with Mai is still going strong, and Noah is nearly 4 years old. 

After two raging successes at getting my babies to love their Loveys, I thought I might share my How To Introduce a Lovey to Your Baby. I don't have more than these two success stories, so this isn't FOOLPROOF, but hey--- if you are wanting your little one to have an attachment object, it can't hurt to at least TRY these tips, right? 

How To Introduce a Lovey to Your Baby

1. Choose the object you want to introduce to your baby. This could be a animal blanket like Bunny Bunny or Mai, or could be a simple blankie, or another stuffed animal. If you are smart, you'll buy TWO or THREE of this chosen item RIGHT AWAY. Tuck the spares away somewhere in case of emergency. (We've had an emergency twice now, and thank GOODNESS for our spares!)
2. When you get home from the hospital, start sleeping with this lovey. It is good to get this item smelling like mama!

3. When your little one is ready to transition to their own crib (away from bassinet/pack-n-play, or co-sleeping) or around 3 months, begin making the lovey part of their sleep routine. 

3a. If you don't know already, creating a pre-sleep routine is so good for your baby, even without a lovey. Doing the same set of 3-6 simple things every time it is sleep time helps you baby learn the cues that tell her it is time to settle and sleep. Try it! Lucy's nap routine is, 

a. Stand at the window and say "night night" to the trees, leaves, cars, houses, sky... whatever we see.
b. Turn on a space heater
c. turn on a rain machine
d. get snuggled into a sleep sack
e. get Bunny Bunny
f. rock and sing two songs
g. bedtime

4. From the time you begin giving your baby the lovey, make it special-- different from the other blankets and animals in their life. 

5. Give it a name. (Noah's Mai was called "Lamby" by us... it just came out that way. When Noah began to speak, he altered "Lamby" to "My-lam-a-lam-a-lam-a", which eventually got shortened to "Mai". Ta da!) 

6. For the most part, only give it to them at sleep time. (Eventually, you might let this lovely go with them around the house when they are toddlers, but as infants, just help them associate it with SLEEP for now.)(It also is a wonderful thing when you go on long car trips where you want baby to nap--- once they associate their lovey with sleep, seeing the lovey in a car scenario helps them realize that sleep happens int he car, too, and helps them settle.)

6a. Exception: When you feed baby in their room, tuck the lovey into their arm while you feed them. Help them begin to associate the feel of their lovey with the nurturing emotions surrounding eating, especially if the feeding is in their sleep room. 

6b. Exception: When your baby cries and needs comfort, if the lovey is handy, grab it and make it part of your comforting ritual. Rocking baby, walking and shushing, etc.--- tuck the lovey into their arm as you do it. Have the lovey talk to the baby in calm tones, maybe even use it to wipe tears. 

7. Use the lovey's name all the time. Talk for it, or use your "baby talk voice" to make the experience stand out from normal conversation. (I coo to Lucy, "Where's your Bunny Bunny? Oh, there she is! Hi, Bunny Bunny! Give kisses to Bunny Bunny!", etc. Lucy EATS IT UP.)

8. BE CONSISTENT!

Honestly, that's all I got. That's all I've done.... with both my babies. And they are both completely in LOVE. By the time Noah was 1 year old, he truly was attached. Lucy is now only 7 months, so I know if I took Bunny away and she never saw it again, she'd live.... but watching her with it, I KNOW she is on the path to the same kind of commitment Noah has for his Mai. 

I will say this--- if your baby is already older than 3-4 months, this might not work for you. I honestly don't know. By 6-7 months, your baby absolutely already has a mind of their own, and may have started choosing a comfort item of their own (Or have decided they don't need one). It is very likely if your baby is a binky baby, that the BINK is their lovey and no fabric item will substitute for them. Given a choice between a lovey and a binky, by 6 months, your binky baby will probably choose the binky every time. Go with it... and maybe get one of those binky pals (the stuffed animals that attach to the binky to keep it handy). Maybe the binky pal will be the Vice President lovey. :)

Anyhoo.... Maybe someone can benefit from my Lovey Training. *shrug* Maybe not?

At the very least, it gave me a chance to show photos of Lucy and her True Love.... And they make me smile every time.

*

9 comments:

  1. awesome advise! i may just have to come steal that little baby of yours. she is gorgeous!!!

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  2. the "lovey" is SO sweet. I always rotated between 3 of them. That way they were equally loved looking.... Lucy is such a beautiful baby girl!!!

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  3. Callum loved his pacifier the most, obviously, but Lambert was a big deal for him too. He didn't care about it for the longest time but I kept wanting him to and eventually he decided to adore it. He still asks for it every once in a while if he's really sad, and he enjoys seeing Lambert, but he's pretty over him. He chooses a different animal to carry around all week each week. But he was a sleep-only guy unless he was sick, so he was a helpful comforter for many, many months.

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  4. I just found your blog a week or so ago and am totally in love with it. I am having a baby in a week or so, and have found so many good ideas and enjoy the photos so much. Thank you for sharing your life!

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  5. This is great advice! I have a two month old who loves her binky but I grew up with a blankie and would love her to have something like that. For her baby shower my sister bought a sweet little organic cotton rag doll type thing that I want to be her lovey. In the next few weeks I'll start introducing it this way!

    PS I've been reading your blog since I got pregnant and I adore your craftiness and mom advice/talk!

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  6. I just found your blog! My son has a bunny lovey too. He is 16 months old and is pretty obsessed with it. Where did you get the lovey for your daughter? I'm thinking of getting him another one in case of an emergency. Thanks for sharing!
    Jenny M

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  7. SO HELPFUL! Thank you!!!

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  8. My baby is 9 months old and *I* am her lovey! I know I should have started earlier but I just didn't even think of it. I always thought of loveys as a negative thing (something you'd have to "break an addiction to" later). I know that is not true now! So... I'm going to try all these things with the 9 month old and see how it goes!!

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