Motherhood comes with a host of choices about what is best for you, your family and your children. We at Boston Moms Blog are a diverse group of moms who want to embrace these choices instead of feel guilty or judged for them! Our “Parenting Perspectives” series is currently focused on comfort items.
I’m absolutely amazed that I survived my first year and a half of motherhood, considering what a HORRIBLE sleeper my son was. For the first six months of his life, he would not take naps outside of our arms, and for well over a year he had to be completely (and I mean dead-to-the-world) asleep in our arms before we could even lay him down in bed. And thanks to teething and a number of other issues, he still woke up throughout the night and would stay up for several hours. We tried just about everything to get him to self-sooth: swaddling, pacifiers, crying-it-out, Daddy putting him to bed instead of Mommy, etc., etc., ETC! I was beginning to think I would still be rocking my son to sleep when he got to college. Then, when my son was 15 months old, a dinosaur named Walter came into our lives.
My husband, who is notorious for impulse purchases, picked Walter up one morning after breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Apparently, this furry blue creature caught our son’s eye, and my husband just couldn’t say no. My husband, who also loves to give our child’s stuffed animals very classic names, chose Walter’s name because of the “W” embroidered on his tail. At this time, I was reading “The No-Cry Sleep Solution“ to help us finally get some relief from our sleep deprivation. It was in this book that the idea of a lovey caught my eye.
Looking back, I have absolutely no idea why it took 15 months for us to learn about lovies; I will blame that on sleep deprivation and being a first-time parent. Nonetheless, we chose Walter to be my son’s lovey, and this little blue dinosaur ended up being a lifesaver. While we rocked our son to sleep, we would tuck Walter underneath his arm so the dinosaur would be positioned between us. Once we laid him down in his crib, my son could continue to grip Walter as Mom or Dad carefully backed away.
It was a slow process, and Walter was not an overnight solution, but slowly but surely our child became comfortable with falling asleep with his lovey instead of Mom and Dad. At first, as usual, he had to fall asleep in our arms, but now clutching Walter. However, over time, we could simply lay him down and put Walter in his arms, and he would happily chat away with his favorite dinosaur before falling asleep. He would even wake up and play with Walter — without immediately calling for Mom. Those extra 30-45 minutes of sleep for me were glorious!
I will admit that we broke the number one rule when it comes to lovies, which is to choose a lovey you can easily replace. Perhaps it would have been smarter to pick a Disney stuffed animal that is a dime a dozen at the Disney store, but my son really gravitated toward Walter — so we watched him like a hawk! We did travel with Walter, but to avoid the risk of losing him at a restaurant or in the airport, we only brought him out for bedtime.
Over a year later, Walter is still a treasured member of our family. My son absolutely loves stuffed animals and has more buddies than I can count (he’s particularly fond of a stuffed R2-D2 from my husband’s old collection) — but he always goes right back to Walter. Now that my son is in his big-boy bed, we still tuck Walter under his arm, and his favorite buddy helps him fall asleep. As my son grows up, I don’t think I will ever be able to get rid of Walter; I will forever treasure the little dinosaur that helped me to finally get a good night’s rest.
What comfort items worked for your children? Be sure to check other BMB perspectives on comfort items!