Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Babies and Blankies

As I load my laundry in the washer I hear in the background "DON'T WASH MY BLANKIE MOM! NOOOOO!!" The sound of little feet running as fast as their legs can take them are coming toward me to rescue the poor blankie that is about to endure an unfathomable torture - being washed.

Most babies have some sort of comfort thingy: blankets, stuffed animals, etc.  Even odd habits or things like sucking fingers and twirling hair are a "comfort thingy."  Why? Why do babies have them?  Why is this dirty, stinky, tattered blankie so appealing to my child? The answer is this: it's a symbol of you and your affection.  It is an object that they can have with them and control.  Many parents fear these objects foster dependence but in reality they don't.  The object, or behavior, is your baby's way of finding confidence and comfort by herself.  It's a transition from dependence to independence.  This favorite blankie helps them find a way to make the world outside of their parent's protection a much safer place.   This is why comfort objects are common among children who spend long hours at day care.

You know what it's like to come home after a long day and you just want to get in your favorite jammies, or soak in the tub, snuggle up with your favorite book?  This sense of peace and well being that comes from a familiar ritual is how your baby feels when he snuggles his special comfort thingy.  He loves each and every tattered corner, the musty smell, it's color and feel is all very comforting.  So resist the urge to get rid of it.  It's not like there is a set time frame to get rid of it like a bottle, pacifier, sippy cup, etc.  (I highly doubt they'll be walking down the aisle with it.)  Use it when you're child will need that extra comfort and promise them their blankie will be safe while it takes a bath. :)