“MOM!! Where’s my Baba?”. And so begins our nightly search for my four year old boy’s lovie, otherwise known as “Daddy Baba”. He did have a “Mommy Baba”, but she got left at Fantasyland hotel last year and we think he may finally be over it. So now he’s left with one who we search for every night prior to our bedtime routine. He is usually under the couch or at the back door, tossed in a corner because as my boy grows, his need for “baba” in the day is less important. But when 6:30 pm rolls around, he needs it for all to be well in his world.
He slept with me from the day he was born until he was five months old. When I decided to transition him to his crib I introduced a lovie, something he could have for security in his crib every time he slept. This may seem young for a baby to care about an object, but I would find him snuggled with it under his arm most nights. In fact, I still do.
A crib should be a space for sleep. I don’t recommend tonnes of stuffies, toys, or a mobile. These are distracting and distraction is not conducive to encouraging babies to roll from one sleep cycle into the next independently. It is also a safety issue. Too many toys or blankets can possibly pose a risk for suffocation.
Lots of parents ask how to introduce a lovie to their baby who seems too small to care much about one. I recommend they choose a small stuffed animal or blanket, free of any small parts, buttons or eyes that could be removed by the baby and a choking hazard. Then have your baby hold it every time she feeds or snuggles with you. Doing so teaches her to associate the loving secure feeling with her lovie and an attachment is formed. Start putting her to sleep with it for every nap and nighttime sleep.
A really cool product that I wasn’t aware of when I had my boys is the Bitta Kidda sleep sack. It has a lovie attached right to it so that it’s always available to the baby in the crib. This is especially helpful for young babies that may put a small blanket over their face or move their lovie out of reach and are unable to get it independently. It is always attached to the front of their sleep sack, available for comfort. It is also great for daycare naps. Often, due to policy, baby’s lovies are not allowed in the crib at daycare due to the risk of injury. The Bitta Kidda sleep sack solves this dilemma as it is attached to the sleep sack and can provide comfort safely and keeps things consistent with the baby’s nighttime sleep. Bitta Kidda also has daytime lovies. They are identical to the ones attached to the sleep sack but are handy for the baby’s who like to have it close throughout the day, without having to carry their sleep sack around.
“Daddy Baba” is worn and has seen better days. He’s been found in puddles and in the aisle of Walmart. But he is worth every search as I hear my boy tell him about his day at bedtime and sleep soundly with him tucked under his arm. The pressure is on not to lose him as this model has long since been discontinued and he is so loved by my boy.
Does your baby have a lovie? Have you had any close calls leaving it behind somewhere?
Carrie Bruno RN, IBCLC