Parents know that babies need to feel loved and comforted. As they get a little older, they often latch on to a favorite object, such as a stuffed animal, a blanket, or possibly a parent’s finger. What is it that makes these items so special? For many children, their blanket or lovey helps them feel comfortable and safe. Are objects like a lovey or security blanket good for a baby?
What is a Security Blanket?
A security blanket is a soft, snuggly lovey or blanket that a toddler or baby uses for emotional support, so they feel safe. Security blankets provide a level of physical comfort since they can be used to keep them warm and swaddled. But they can also help provide some emotional support too. A lovey offers a little one emotional support in the same way that a doll, stuffed animal, or pacifier does. Small children may use a security blanket to self-soothe. They may stroke it, play with it, or just hold it snuggly against their cheek. For many toddlers and small children, a security blanket is effective at nighttime, during naptime, and while they are on outings. However, some parents are concerned about their children becoming too attached to a lovey or security blanket. Most children will outgrow them when they are ready.
The Real Psychology Behind Security Blankets
At about six months of age, an infant will begin to realize they are a separate being from their parents. For some babies, this results in separation anxiety. Babies may cry if their parent or caregiver leaves the room during this phase. It is a natural part of their development. Even though it is natural, it can still be an upsetting experience for parents. It can be heart-wrenching for parents to watch their baby burst into tears as they pick up their coat or head out the door. Parents don’t like to see their babies stressed out like that.
Security blankets are helpful during this phase in the baby’s development. It can provide emotional comfort and act as a “stand in” when a baby needs to be left with a caregiver or family member while a parent is gone. However, even if a parent is with their baby 24/7, a security blanket can help provide comfort during transitional phases. They can provide a little extra comfort when a baby starts to teeth, is transitioning into a new bed, or is switching from a bottle to a sippy cup.
Ways Security Blankets Can Help Parents and Babies
Helps Reduce Stress
Parents often don’t recognize parts of their routine that help bring them comfort. Sometimes, an adult has a specific person they call when they are stressed out. Some adults take deep breaths to help calm themselves. Others may stop for a coffee or tea break if their day becomes too stressful. Babies and toddlers don’t know how to relieve stress. They don’t know how to do yoga or meditate. However, a baby does know the touch and scent of those who take care of them. When mom or dad move away from the baby, their security blanket can provide comfort and remind them of their parent’s love. Psychologists call this the exposure effect. The term is used in reference to the comfort that comes from something that is familiar.
From the minute a baby is born, they start to mature and discover themselves and their worlds. Security blankets, loveys, or other transitional objects can help babies by comforting them when a parent or caregiver isn’t around. As they grow, they will turn to a blanket or object for comfort when they are faced with stressful transitions. Some experts suggest that children who use a security blanket or other object experience less stress.
Encourages Taking Small Risks
As children continue to grow and discover their individuality, they will become more comfortable taking small risks. They may go to a different room for a minute, for example. This helps them develop a concept and sense of self. If they have their favorite stuffed animal or blanket with them, they are not as afraid to venture out of a parent’s sight for a moment or two.
Free Up Parent’s Time
Parenting is a 24/7, full-time job. Sometimes, a parent just needs a tiny break. Children who use a comfort object or transitional object are more likely to give parents a little space. Parents can enjoy a well-deserved five or ten-minute break here and there.
Choosing a Security Blanket
Whichever security blanket or lovey you choose for your baby or toddler, it’s important to ensure it is soft and hypoallergenic. It should feel good against a child’s skin. Once a child chooses a security object, they are not likely to want a new one, it can be impossible to replace. So, make sure it is made of high-quality materials. A bamboo blanket or lovey from Little Biscuits is made from bamboo, which is the softest, most huggable material. Not sure where to start? Contact us – we’ll be happy to help you find exactly what your baby needs.