When your baby was first born, he or she was probably gifted with a special blanket, stuffed animal, or lovie. These gifts often come from friends and family, as well as those you pick out yourself. In fact, there are usually quite a few to choose from in the nursery when baby is first born. And initially, he or she shows no preference for any of them.
But somewhere between 6 months and a year, that all changes. Suddenly, your little one is likely to choose a favorite—an item he or she doesn’t want to do anything without. And then, you find yourself carrying a blanky around everywhere, or forever searching for a prime opportunity to swipe and wash that lovie. You may have even already experienced a meltdown or two (or 12) when your baby was caught without that favorite stuffed animal in sight.
So of course, you’ve started to worry a bit. Is this lovie dependency normal? Should you be doing something to break it now, before you have a grade school kid who won’t leave their favorite stuffed animal behind? Is it happening because of something you’re doing? Because your child isn’t connected or attached enough to you?
The short answers are, yes, it’s normal. No, it’s not something you have to worry about. And beyond a shadow of a doubt, it has nothing at all to do with anything you may or may not have done wrong.
In fact, this dependency is actually a sign that your baby is moving into the next developmental stage. They are growing more mobile and independent, and are clinging to these security objects as a way of self-soothing while they explore their independence. It’s a good thing! It means they feel attached enough to you to branch out on their own a bit, and that they are emotionally secure enough to find ways to cope with their own anxiety over that new push towards independence.
As long as your child’s security item is a safe one (no buttons or beads that could be torn off and serve as a choke hazard, for instance) you have nothing to worry about. In most cases, your child will relinquish their attachment to their security item on their own. And even if they continue to nurture that attachment, it won’t always be an item they are toting around in public.
Your biggest concern at this point should be losing that security item. Once an attachment has been formed and declared by your little one, be sure to buy a few extras of that same item if possible. The last thing you want is to be caught without that lovie at bedtime!
Written by Leah Campbell, infertility advocate, adoptive mama, writer and editor. Find me @sifinalaska on Twitter.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general informational basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.