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Attachment object good or bad?

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  • Attachment object good or bad?

    At the moment our 10 month old is spending part of the night (in the evening when we are still downstairs and then first part of the night when we are upstairs too) in her cot in our room and part of the night (usually later on) in our bed. My little rule for myself is the first couple of times she wakes I breastfeed her back to sleep and then return her to her cot, but if she wakes a third time I bring her into the bed, as she then sleeps much better when she is with us and seldom wakes again. She used to sleep in her cot the whole night and only wake once or twice, but for about a month now if I do keep putting her back in her cot she wakes again after every hour or two. I would like to encourage her to sleep in her cot more again though, as on occasions if we want to go out or have time to ourselves in evening/night and we leave her with her minder it would be nice to know that she is safe in her cot and unlikely to wake for several hours. The problem is if she wakes in the night and I am not there she gets very upset (although she happily spends time with her minder during the day while I work from home).

    So my mother suggested we encourage her to attach to a comfort object (soft toy) by having it close to her when she is breastfeeding to sleep and while she is in her cot so that later if she wakes and finds the comfort object she might go back to sleep again without waking properly.

    My question is what is AP position on comfort objects? Is this a good strategy to help her sleep in her cot? Or is it emotionally damaging in any way?

  • #2
    from The Attached Family

    What does API think of families using lovies?*
    *A:* Certainly we need to stress that a parent or other attached caregiver would be the best lovie a child could have. There is no substitute for the warm, loving arms of a caregiver and the security that they provide for the child. However, we realize that sometimes a lovie (such as a stuffed animal or blanket) can be an appropriate tool, and as long as it is not overused, it can be comforting to some children. Some high-needs children require almost constant contact with a parent or caregiver. Sometimes this level of contact is not possible, especially in a household with multiple children. For instance, if you need to lay the baby down to take a nap, but the baby wants you to lie with him or her and you are not able to, a lovie might be an acceptable fill-in. If the lovie carries the scent of the primary caregiver, it can be that much more soothing to the child. Additionally, for a child who is in a daycare, a lovie can be a comfort from home. Introducing a lovie to a young infant could be as simple as tucking it into the sling with her while you carry her, or tucking it in with her as she sleeps contentedly in bed (with or without you). This should set up the lovie-sleep association. For an older toddler, introducing a lovie could be a bit more challenging since he will be more resistant to the caregiver substitute. Showing interest in it yourself may be enough to spark some curiosity for your child. Some children might enjoy being surprised with one, while others may prefer going to pick one out. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the lovie should be associated with positivity to the child. Putting a child in a room to cry it out with a lovie sets up a negative association and is unfair to the child. Try to be understanding in the process of introducing a lovie, and realize that it may take time and gentle persistence for your child to accept one.

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