Every child has a special lovey. Perhaps it’s a stuffed animal or a blanket, or one of those cute combination animal blanky snugglies. Choosing this lovey is such a special time for parents. Some choose their child’s lovey before they are born and have it waiting in the nursery for the baby to arrive. Others wait until after their baby arrives. Some wait until their little ones are old enough to choose their own lovey. In this post, I’m going to share some helpful tips on choosing the right lovey for your child and provide some tips on how to care for that lovey.
How We Chose a Lovey for Each Child:
When you choose a lovey, you’ll want to decide what kind of lovey you want. How big will it be? How soft will it be? Will it be a special animal that has a meaning to it? Will it be something new from the store, or something passed down from a previous generation?
Here’s how it went for us. And just like any other part of parenting, each child brought a new and different experience!
Andrew’s lovey is one of the cute grey bunnies from IKEA. We got it for him as a present for his first Halloween since he was too little to eat candy. He was almost 4 months old at the time. He grew to name his special friend, “Bunny” and at almost 6 years old, still loves him and sleeps with him every night.
Bunny has traveled on cross country road trips, accompanied Andrew for surgery and a few ER visits, and the first week of Kindergarten (He was hiding in Andrew’s backpack, peeking out of a little window!).
Aidan’s has a few special friends. First, he had a soft Baby Mickey Mouse plush that we got on his first trip to Disney World when he was about 6 months old. Although it’s adorable, he was never super attached to it. Then, he made his first Build-a-Bear: a green Hulk bear that he named “Mane” by himself. Mane was his best friend.
At the same time, I retrieved a storage unit of things that had a few boxes from my childhood. Inside one of the boxes was a stuffed animal cat that I got from a friend for my birthday when I was around 11. It was in pristine condition. Aidan had claimed “Kitty” as his own little friend and started using him as a pillow. So out of the two, Kitty became his favorite, official “lovey.” It’s so cute knowing that it was mine as a child. Who would have thought all these years later?! You wouldn’t recognize Kitty now that he has been very well-loved. His fur is matted and his body is smashed almost as flat as a pancake. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We got Avalynn a Slumbersloth from Slumberkins for her first Christmas when she was 7 months old. She just recently transitioned into sleeping in her crib and while I offer her lovey each night, she still prefers to sleep with no lovey. She gives it a little hug and then drops it over the side of the crib! So for her, we’ll wait until she gets a bit older to see what her lovey will be. It will be fun to see what she chooses. The Slumbersloths are beyond adorable so I’m hoping that we will still have a chance for one of them to be her lovey! We actually got a second one, so she has a grey one and a rose colored one, one for each arm to cuddle! Slumberkins is a mom-owned company with a great message. They were featured on Shark Tank and have a variety of adorable, soft, snuggly lovies for little ones. You can check them out at www.slumberkins.com.
Caring for Your Child’s Lovey:
Caring for your child’s lovey is really important. The lovey will likely see the insides of a doctors’ office, maybe an emergency room (but hopefully not), the floor of your car, the floor of your home, and perhaps even the inside of an airport, among many other places. What does this mean? Germs. That’s right, that lovey is going to need a few baths. So you’ll want to choose something that can hold up in the wash. Try to plan a wash time that is not during bed time or nap time. Is can be tricky to find a time that the child can be apart from their lovey, but you can make it easier on your child if you choose a time that would work best. You can put your lovey in one of those mesh laundry bags if you need to. Or, you can spot clean or hand wash the lovey. You can also use a safe cleaning spray on the lovey. Just make sure you do something for a regular cleaning plan, because you don’t want your child sleeping with ALL THE GERMS.
How to Recover a Lost Lovey:
In the horrible and tragic event that your sweet little one’s lovey gets lost, left behind, and is otherwise irretrievable, what are you going to do? It’s stressful and heartbreaking to see your little one feeling like they just lost their best friend, especially since the lovey is used to comfort them!
Did you know there is a cute website completely dedicated to Lost and Found Loveys? I discovered this site when I was searching for a lovey for a friend’s little one who lost it. I want to share with all my mom friends so that in case this ever happens to you, you will have some resources! Lost my Lovey is a matching site to match parents and kids with specific loveys in a few different ways. Parents can post lost loveys, found loveys, or replacement lovies wanted. For example, let’s say Aidan lost Kitty. If someone who saw my post happened to have the same kitty in their home that they no longer need, they can send it to me. (Obviously parents should plan to cover shipping cost and in some cases purchase the animal plus shipping.) You can go to www.lostmylovey.com to learn more.
Tips on Successful Lovey Replacement:
Know the Lovey’s manufacturer and model name:
Know the manufacturer and the model/name of your child’s lovey so you can search online. There are millions of teddy bears out there. Knowing which exact bear you are looking for will help online searching be more successful. In many cases, you or your child may remove the tag from the lovey. When you purchase, be sure to take a photo of the tag or write the information down and keep it somewhere safe just in case.
Have clear photos:
It’s also great to have a visual of the lovey so you can share with family and friends during your search and get more people searching. You can certainly take photos of the lovey yourself. (I highly recommend good lighting and multiple angles). I took this a step further and had professional photos done of our kids with their loveys during our family photo shoots (see above)! Not only does it provide a high quality photo, but it documents such a special part of childhood that we want to remember forever. It’s easy to just bring their lovey to the shoot and snap a quick photo while you’re already doing photos and your kids are looking their best! We have the photos hung in the boys’ bedroom with the rest of the family photos.
The Backup Plan:
While it’s always best to recover the original lovey, when that isn’t possible you’ll want to at least try to replace it.
Many parents find that the best way to handle this is to prepare for the future by having at least one, of not a couple, backup loveys on hand (of course hidden somewhere safe). This is something you’ll want to consider when you choose the lovey. Can you replace it if you need to?
You can do a search on Google for your Lovey with the information about the animal and the manufacturer. Instead of searching in the “web” option, click on the “Shopping” tab and you will narrow your search down to for-sale options all across the internet. This makes it easier from searching Amazon, then ebay, then something else. I once spent several hours searching on Google and found a match for a friend’s lovey on like page 81. It took forever, but was so worth it! The shopping option definitely speeds the search up more because you only click on results that look like what you’re searching for! You can use quotation marks around specific search words to narrow down results even further. Here’s how I found Aidan’s kitty by searching for the information on the tag:
Andrew’s Bunny from IKEA is super easy to replace. We should still probably stock up on a couple backups because you never know. Aidan’s kitty is a totally different story. I’ve found about 6 of them on ebay because they are obviously not made anymore, so I will be ordering a couple replacements soon. Since Avalynn hasn’t officially chosen her lovey yet, we still have time. I will try to make sure that whatever she chooses is easy to find extras!
Just for smiles: When Your Lovey is Found:
Recently, I came across an adorable story about a lovey who was accidentally left behind at a hotel that went above and beyond with customer service! Not only did they find and return the sweet lovey, but they had a bit of fun letting the little girl know not to worry, that her little friend was safe and well-cared for! If you have a minute, you should definitely read this story. Here’s a cute photo from the story:
I hope you all found some helpful tips for choosing and caring for your child’s lovey in this post. Do you have a lovey story to share?
What is YOUR child’s Lovey?
Tell me about it in the comments!