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Found: A Snuggle Companion

 Since Maddie was four months old we’ve had the same bedtime routine for her. We’ve tried to establish a habit, a pattern that will instantly tell her it’s sleepy time. As we approached the time in her life we’d agreed to help her learn to self-comfort, we started casting about for a lovey, a comfort object she could attach to and turn to for comfort in the middle of the night.

Fortunately for us, she found her thumb at a pretty early age, transitioning to it from the pacifier right at three months. I say fortunately, because she can find her thumb in the middle of the night much more easily than a dropped pacifier. She still sucks her thumb when tired or sleeping, which is great because we never got her attached to a specific lovey.

Until now!

A couple months ago we began letting her sleep with her favorite stuffed animal, her panda, and with a snuggle bunny her grandparents had given her. She turned to both for snuggling in the middle of the night but never got into them for real comfort when tired or stressed out.

Then a couple weeks ago I noticed that she loved to play with scarves I used to tie back my long hair. She’d snuggle in my arms and clutch the silky scarf to her cheek and I thought, “Aha!” I ordered a Sadie’s Silky (see previous blog) and it was love at first sight.

snuggle.jpgThe Silkies come in two sizes; I got the travel size, which is 17 inches square. It’s small enough to throw in a diaper bag or snuggle up to her cheek. I spent a few days tossing it over my shoulder when she seemed tired or unhappy, and sure enough she began reaching for it, stroking it, holding it to her cheek. I’d tuck it into her arm while we snuggled or read a book and one thumb would creep in her mouth while the rest of the hand held the Silky to her face. She seems to be a bit calmer at night as well, but that may be just her getting older.

I’m not saying we want her to become Linus, clutching her Silky 24/7. She doesn’t carry it around everywhere, or ask for it yet. But she grabs it eagerly when I hand it to her, and I know it makes some sort of difference because of what happened the other night:

She woke up whimpering at 3 a.m., but quickly segued into urgent cries. I got up to comfort her and picked her up but she was inconsolable. I stood, rocking her for a few minutes, until I remembered to dig out her silky. I felt around in the crib for it, threw it over my shoulder and tucked one tiny hand around the blanket. She sighed, rested her head on my Silky-shrouded shoulder, and immediately stopped crying. A few more minutes of rocking and I placed her back down and crept back to bed. Brian whispered, “That was amazing! What did you do?” When I explained I couldn’t take credit, he replied, “That thing is worth its weight in gold.”

I think he may be right. If it makes the night seem less long, if it makes the room seem less dark, if it makes her feel less alone, it’s completely worth it. In fact, when life gets a bit stressful, I find myself eyeing her Silky a bit wistfully – would she noticed if I borrowed it for a bit?

Yeah, probably.


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