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When Can a Baby Sleep With a Lovey?


Learn when your baby can sleep with a lovey, what it is, and how it benefits their social emotional development. Read on now!

Whether it’s a soft blanket with just the right texture or a stuffed toy animal with the perfect squish, introducing your baby to a lovey is a time-honored tradition. 

But amidst the excitement of choosing your child’s perfect plushy companion, you might have a few questions. When can a baby sleep with a lovey? Are loveys safe? What impact does a lovey have on overall development?

The short answer: for safety reasons, experts recommend waiting until your baby is at least 12 months old before letting your baby sleep with a stuffed animal or lovey. The long answer? Loveys can be an integral part of your child’s social and emotional development if you introduce them in the right way.

Loveys: More Than Just a Crib Companion

Before delving into more details, first, we should clarify: exactly what is a lovey? 

Basically, a lovey is any comfort item that your baby grows attached to. It provides comfort, security, and familiarity. Loveys can come in different forms, such as:

  • Security blankets
  • Teddy bears or other soft toys
  • Parent’s clothing

Regardless of what kind of lovey you choose for your baby, introducing one can be a fantastic way to build good bedtime routines. The key is doing so safely.

Understanding Safe Sleep: A Primer on SIDS

Before you start personalizing your baby's sleep space with a blankie or stuffed animal, it's crucial to grasp the nature of SIDS—a term that often casts a shadow over the joy of new parenthood. 

What Is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)? 

Nobody wants to think about the heartache of losing a child. So the topic of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is not one we bring up lightly.

SIDS is the sudden loss of a baby under 12 months old, sometimes due to unsafe sleeping conditions. While that may sound scary, there are ways for caretakers to lower their baby’s risk of SIDS:

  • Position – Always put your baby down to bed on their back, not on their side or stomach.
  • Sleep area – Ensure your baby’s crib is free of any objects like toys, blankets, or bumpers that could cover their mouth or nose.
  • Location – Keep nap time confined to the crib; babies sleeping alongside pets, parents, or siblings are at a very high risk of SIDS. 

With safe sleep practices in place, you actively contribute to your baby’s wellness, ensuring every snooze is as safe as it can be.

When Can Babies Have Objects in the Crib?

The consensus among pediatric experts is clear: the crib should be kept as bare as possible, especially during your baby’s first year. But cribs need not remain barren forever. As your baby grows, loveys, blankets, and other soft objects can gradually be introduced to their sleep time. 

With that in mind, it’s best to choose loveys that are small, lightweight, and free of loose parts that could potentially pose a choking hazard.

When to Introduce a Lovey: Recommended Age 

So, when can babies sleep with a lovey?

While the one-year mark is the minimum for when babies can sleep with a lovey, caretakers may want to introduce it a bit earlier, generally around 10 months old. Keep in mind that you should not leave the lovey in your child’s bed. Just introduce them to the object during the day. This helps your baby build familiarity—allowing the lovey to become a known and comforting presence in their little world. 

Benefits of Loveys in Sleep

While some caretakers worry that their baby may become too dependent on their lovey, research suggests that they provide a number of benefits. Let’s explore these in more detail: 

Anchoring Comfort and Security 

The presence of a lovey can have a calming effect on babies, providing them with a gentle, tactile reminder of security and love. Studies show that soft objects like loveys serve as transitional objects, helping your little one navigate changes (like from wakefulness to sleep) more smoothly. 

Fostering Independence and Self-Soothing

One of the most significant benefits of a lovey is its role in promoting self-soothing behaviors—the ability to fall asleep without parental intervention. This not only aids in more restful nights for the baby (and for you!) but also encourages the development of resilience, independence, and emotional courage.

Choosing the Right Lovey 

With everything we’ve covered, there’s still an important question: what kind of lovey is right for your child? There are no hard and fast rules—even an old scarf with your scent on it could do the trick! 

But for caretakers looking for something special, here are a few considerations to keep in mind: 

Factors for Finding the Perfect Lovey

If you’re on the hunt for a new lovey for your child, consider these key points: 

  • Size – Remember to balance huggability and safety. Your lovey should be small enough that it doesn’t pose any risk of covering your baby’s face while sleeping.
  • Material – In addition to being soft and fuzzy, you may want to opt for a lovey that’s machine-washable and easy to clean.
  • Design – Loveys with the familiar characteristics of people and animals can help teach empathy and foster feelings of security. 

As mentioned, it’s also important that the lovey not have any small parts or loose embellishments that your baby might try to swallow.

Slumberkins Snugglers: Simple, Safe, and Soothing

If you’re looking for a lovey designed specifically with your baby’s emotional and physical well-being in mind, look no further than Slumberkins. Each Snuggler is made with the utmost care—crafted with silky softness and hypoallergenic material for a lovey that’s like nothing else.

Sleep Soundly with a Lovey from Slumberkins

The introduction of a lovey while sleep training can help you create a nurturing and supportive environment for your baby. Just remember—whether it's the soft embrace of a Slumberkin Snuggler or another carefully chosen companion, the safety and well-being of your little one are of absolute priority. 

With your watchful eye toward safety and the comfort of the right baby blanket, soft toy, or stuffed animal, you pave the way for countless nights of sweet dreams—for your baby and for you.


Sources: 


National Institutes of Health. SIDS By the Numbers. https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/about/by-the-numbers


National Institutes of Health. SIDS – What Are the Known Risk Factors? https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/about/risk-factors 


Psychology Today. More Than Just Teddy Bears. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-guest-room/201407/more-just-teddy-bears 


Healthy Children. Transitional Objects: Security Blankets & Beyond. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Transitional-Objects.aspx


Pediatric Sleep Coach. The Importance of a Security Object (lovey) And How/When to Introduce One to Your Child. https://www.pediatricsleepcoach.com/post/the-importance-of-a-security-object-lovey-and-how-when-to-introduce-one-to-your-child

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