I've mentioned that since I took Squeeker's pacifier away she became attached to her "Lambie", well as I did more research on the subject of transitional objects I found that Lambie might not be the best companion. Here are some tips I found for parents concerning transitional objects, it was helpful. For instance, it has some safety precautions for choosing toys that are OK for your child to latch onto: "It's impossible to predict which toy or blanket your baby will latch onto, so make sure his/her toys aren't choking hazards. Pick playthings that are free of ribbons, buttons, and small plastic parts. Stuffed toys should be filled with cotton or acrylic batting, not beans or plastic beads." Another article I read set similar rules, including plastic eyes in the unsafe category because babies are stronger than we think and it only takes one time for them somehow get it off and swallow it. After reading these precautions I realized that Lambie breaks several of these rules, it has plastic eyes, it has plastic beads in the limbs, it has a zipper on it's back (because it is a Scentsy buddy and can have scents put inside of it), Lambie isn't machine washable, and to top it off Lenny the Lamb (Scentsy's name for this toy) was discontinued so I couldn't get a replacement if I ever needed one. Being machine washable isn't a safety thing, but a convenience thing and I wasn't sure if the stuffed animal would just fall apart after so many washings or if surface washing would be enough. Finding a replacement Lambie wasn't a necessity either, but in my research every parent and professional recommended getting at least one duplicate. There is always a chance of the first one getting lost, plus if your child is really attached they won't be able to sleep without that object and finding a time to wash the first one becomes difficult. In the end I decided Lambie needed to go too.
There are several sites like this one that highly recommend the use of transitional objects (also known as a "lovey" or "lovies") and say they are healthy for a child to use. Lovies facilitate a healthy way to cope with new or scary situtations, like sleeping in a new place or getting shots at the doctor's office. These objects help children to feel like they are not alone as they sleep through the night and make falling back asleep on their own easier. They also provide children with an extension of their room/home to take with them as they adventure further away and learn to walk. Taking in that information, the fact that I just took Squeeker's pacifier away, and my knowledge of how much Squeeker loved Lambie, I knew that I would have to do a sneaky switch with a safe and practical stuffed animal or blanket instead of taking all of Squeaker's prized objects away. I need her sleep still.
There are many websites, including this one, that have cute "lovies". I didn't want to spend a lot of money or have to wait for such an object to be shipped though. I decided that Lambie needed to be replaced quickly in order to make sure Squeeker took the replacement. These kinds of attachments are commonly made between 8-12 months of age and they only become stronger in the months following, if I waited too long she would refuse anything but Lambie. I wanted to let her choose something in person as well, see how she reacted to her different options, because for all I knew I would spend $30 or more and she wouldn't even like the one I picked.
Of course I started by looking at the blankets and stuffed animals we already had, however none of them fit all of my ideal requirements or the safety guidelines and Squeeker seemed to prefer a stuffed animal over a blankie. We live near an IKEA and I knew they had cute stuffed animals, so I looked into them and found that they actually were safety tested. They have stitched/sewn eyes, no beans or beads, no ribbons or other potentially harmful qualities, they are machine washable, and cheap/easy to replace. Perfect!
The morning of the big switch I let Squeeker abandon Lambie on her own and carefully took it into my room, stowing it away in the top of my closet without her noticing. At IKEA we found several options, Squeeker loves dogs and chose a sweet looking dachshund stuffed animal. She held onto it tightly and didn't seem to be nearly as interested in the other animals. So far so good. I only bought one at the time, since I wasn't sure she would end up happy with it.
I wasn't sure how nap time would go, but she didn't seem to notice much of a difference or care about losing Lambie. I was very pleased, but maybe it was only because she was excited about having a new toy. There were a couple of times when she pointed to the spot where Lambie used to sit on her bookcase and I started to put "Puppy" there instead. I also gave Puppy to her whenever she pointed at that spot, when she was grumpy or when she seemed tired. I guess that I picked a good time to transition her to a new object, either that or she didn't like Lambie as much as I thought she did. Maybe she wanted a puppy more all along, I'm not sure. Either way I am grateful that the transition worked out so well and I bought a second one for her, which I now rotate with every couple of days. When Squeeker was sick I went between them every other day instead because she kept getting snot all over one of them.
There are many more resources online if you are looking for more information concerning transitioning your child to a new lovey. My recommendation, do it early and make the first one disappear completely. I still haven't reintroduced Lambie and I don't think I will until Squeeker is older, there are still safety concerns with it anyway. I hope my Tale of Two Lovies, but mostly the information I put together here, helps you in your quest for the perfect transitional object.