For us Malaysians, bantal busuk is more of an endearing term that we use for loveys. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in a form of a pillow or bolster. It could be a blankie, teddy, or any stuffed animal that your child has formed an attachment with. Sometimes loveys get a bad rep. Especially when it is also associated with “busuk” or that certain smell that has grown on it that your child just loves.
It need not be bad. In fact, a lovey helps the baby cope with nighttime separation (if she is sleeping in her own cot), making her feel safe and sound when you are not with her. And you could limit the use of loveys during sleep time if you fear the thought of her bringing it with her to school! That rarely ever happens by the way.
If your child has not shown any preference or not yet attached to a lovey, here are a few ways to forge that bond:
- Wait until she is at least six months old before you introduce one. Only because you want to be sure that she is free from any items that could suffocate her.
- Choose a lovey that fits her preference. If she likes to rub or massage things, try a small thick blanket. If she likes kneading, get her a toy or blankie that she could knead her fingers on. Even cloth diapers come in handy if she’s used to burrowing into it when you use it over your shoulder.
- The lovey should be small, soft and safe – nothing that could choke or suffocate and nothing that she could use to step and climb out of the cot.
- Wedge the lovey between you and your little one when you breastfeed or bottle feed her. Place it next to her, in her hands or tuck it in her arms during naps and bedtime.
- Moms may want to “wear” the lovey for a couple of hours inside your shirt, to give that familiar Mom scent.
Some children don’t get attached so easily especially breastfed babies. If she doesn’t bond, try again every now and then as she gets older.
My eldest daughter developed a bond with Kitty, a grey and white colored stuffed kitten when she was nine months old. Mind you, it’s not busuk as you would imagine; I encourage her to put Kitty in the washer for it to mandi (bathe) from time to time.
My youngest toddler never did take a liking to a single lovey for long period of time up until now. I do notice however, that she has the preference of grabbing onto a small item and holding it until she falls asleep. From time to time, I would let her hold on to my finger until she is asleep. Not a good idea if you are sleep training your child though, it would definitely be a sleep prop!
Share your child’s lovey, what type they are and when they developed the attachment to it.
(Note: This post was originally published in June 2013)
Image Credit: Flickr user Potarou