Baby Development: When Attachment Ends

My third child had the remarkable distinction of being attached to not one, not two, but three blankets. These baby items were appropriately, if not creatively, named blue blankie, yellow blankie, and green blankie, and he loved them all. Regardless of where he went, the blankets were always in tow. It was cute at first. After all, he was the baby of the family, and everyone likes to dote over the youngest child. But as he passed from baby to toddler, his dependence on the blankets grew. I wondered if transitioning him from an item he'd outgrown would be three times more difficult when it was time to leave this baby development stage in the dust.

As time went on, I began to worry that he'd take the blankets on his first date. I knew he wouldn't, of course, but when you're a parent in the throes of weaning your child from his favorite baby item, you seriously begin to wonder. The blankets accompanied us to the playground and the supermarket -- even his sister's soccer games. As time went on, they got dirty, torn, and worn. 

Our pediatrician assured us that our son wasn't the first child on the planet to grow overly attached to a security object. In fact, it's a normal stage of baby development that helps provide the child with a sense of security, and there's no reason to force him out of his comfort zone. These things usually fix themselves, she said. She was right.

Preschool -- and the peer pressure that goes along with it -- played a major role in weaning our son off the blankets. It doesn't take any child long to figure out that the other kids aren't walking into preschool with three blankets in tow. In addition to that, his father and I tried our best not to fuss about the blankets. Yes, they were annoying, but we tried to overlook them. Logic told us that if these baby items were acting as a form of security, then telling him not to use them might only create more anxiety, and in turn, increase the dependency. We chose to let the social pressures of preschool work their magic instead.

During the time when our son and his blankets were inseparable, these tips helped us cope:


  • Don't insist that your child give up his security attachment too soon. It only creates more anxiety.
  • Set limits when necessary, but do it gently. For instance, rather than dragging the blankets through a dirty playground, we encouraged our son to leave them in a safe place while he played.  
  • Find other ways to keep your child's hands busy and occupied, like building blocks, drawing, or solving a floor puzzle.
  • Give plenty of hugs while your child is learning to outgrow the dependency.


Like many parents, we worried that our son's blankets would be with him forever. Now we know that blue, yellow, and green blankies were simply another stepping stone in his ongoing quest for independence.

Photo by lauren lulu taylor on Unsplash

Baby Sleep Solutions: 0 to 3 Months

Your newborn’s sleeping and waking cycles can be unpredictable. During the first three months of your baby’s life, it’s best to accept the fact that you’ll be getting very little shut-eye. But know that soon enough, your baby will settle into a sleeping routine that’s more manageable for the whole family. For now, check out some baby sleep solutions to help you manage the early months while setting your child up for sleep success in the future.

1. Master the signs of sleepiness
During his first month, your baby will probably sleep at least 16 hours a day. After about 4 to 6 weeks, you might start to notice a pattern in his sleep, and you’ll be able to better anticipate when he needs to nap -- usually, a few times a day. However, his timing won’t be consistent yet, so be alert for signs that he’s getting sleepy, such as fussing or crying, rubbing his eyes, or staring off into space.

2. Avoid day and night reversal
A common newborn sleep issue is mixing up days and nights. This happens when your baby gets the bulk of her sleep during the day and then wants to stay up longer at night (and play) while everyone else is trying to snooze. There’s no overnight fix for this, but you can help get your baby back on track sooner by clearly differentiating night from day. Encourage wakefulness during the day by keeping the shades open to allow bright light in. Then, during the evening, use a soft, calm voice and keep the lights dimmed.

3. Start a bedtime routine
By the time your baby is about 6 weeks old, you can establish a consistent and calming bedtime ritual. Keep it simple, short, and sweet. Read and sing to your baby, feed him, and gently rock him. After the first month, try to move him to his crib -- instead of letting him fall asleep in your arms -- while he’s sleepy but still awake so he can get accustomed to falling asleep in his own bed.

4. Consider baby sleep safety
The greatest risk for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) occurs in the first few months of life. You can help reduce this risk by making sure your baby is always placed on his back to sleep and that he sleeps on a firm mattress -- either in a crib or bedside bassinet. Because blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals can pose a suffocation risk, keep them and other soft objects out of the crib. Also avoid using crib bumpers.

Remember: Your sleep is just as important as your child’s! A good rule of thumb is to nap when your baby naps. This way, you’ll both wake up refreshed and ready to go.