We love a cuddly babe. But sometimes we’ve got to do stuff. Like shower. And pee. Or go to work. And sleep, let’s not forget our old friend sleep!
Around 6 months of age, your babe is becoming much more aware of their environment. They begin to recognise things - people, places, toys. They also begin to realise that they are a little person of their own, and that you can leave them behind.
Cue clingy koala mode.
This transitional state can be unsettling, causing stress and anxiety.
A transitional object is something permanent that can help baby during times of change, and during the transition from a state of dependence to independence such as:
- Being looked after by family and friends (hello Tuesdays at Grandma and Gramps!)
- Starting daycare
- Learning to sleep on their own
- Doctors or hospital visits (like immunisations)
These are most often in the form of a toy or blanket (and sometimes a combo of both). It provides a sense of calm and security – a reminder that it’s ALL GOOD! Most parents will find that their child chooses their own transitional object that meets the baby’s need for love and affection when their caregivers aren’t around (or that they can control when under stress). It could be something random like your sleeve and it gets a little tricky if your baby attaches to an object that can’t stick around (or be replaced). Research has shown that attachment to a comforter is indicative of a strong parent-child bond, as the baby shares their feelings of love for their parents to their first special friend.
Here’s our top tips for choosing the perfect transitional object and helping the love grow.
1. Make sure it’s safe.
Anything that’s going to be in regular contact with your babe needs to be fully safety tested. Avoid embroidery and buttons that can come loose when they are chewing or anything that could scratch like Velcro. Also don’t forget to avoid plush materials that shed fibres as these can be inhaled or ingested. Choosing organic and eco-friendly materials means babe can have a chew and hug bonanza (and it’s a great way to introduce them to caring for the environment).
2. Make it tactile, but not overstimulating
The best transitional objects are those that are soft, cuddly and super simple. Choose something with a friendly face that the baby can recognise easily (distinct, high contrast features) and something with floppy bits like ears. A blanket portion is great for interaction. Avoid anything that makes a sound or covered in tabs, tags and fluoro material if you’re hoping to use it as a sleep aid (and keep your street cred)!
3. Buy a few! And make sure they’re sticking around.
Buy more than one so that you can rotate them from the get-go (that way old eagle eyes won’t know when you try to do the old switcheroo later on). We repeat: BUY MORE THAN ONE! There’s nothing worse than a lost friend! Trendy or handmade comforters are also risky as replacing them can be difficult.
4. Introduce them early and often
Choose something suitable from when your babe is a newborn (see point 1!). Even if you don’t feel comfortable using them in the cot until later, you can introduce them to their special friend as part of a bedtime routine. You don’t want to wait until your little one is a toddler to introduce a transitional object as it might be too late. You might think your baby doesn’t notice their friend at first, and then one day (like magic) they can’t do without them!
5. Pop them in the wash regularly
Constant hugging, chewing and adventuring can be messy! Make sure your transitional object is machine washable!
There’s nothing cuter than seeing the love between your babe and their squeezable, huggable best friend. They really do become like part of the family. Shop our range of transitional objects (we call them Kippins!) here.