Many children benefit from having a soft toy or 'lovey' to comfort them at night.
One thing I always recommend to families I work with is to have your little ones (once old enough) sleeping with a small stuffed animal or lovey. You want something large enough that they can find it in their cot easily, and it won't fall through the cot bars, but not too large that it will cause safety concerns or a SIDS risk.
Babies often love to put them in their mouths and place them on top of their face so please do not use something unless you feel it is safe. You also want only one. I often joke with my clients and say, “If you had 3 wives or husbands, how attached would you to be to this one?”
Once they have begun to bond with this special lovey it should remain in the cot at all times and your little one will begin to look forward to being reunited with their special friend at bedtime and naptime. The idea here is to encourage them to have something they can redirect their dependency on a parent’s touch onto in the night... and it is something they can easily find without having to wake you!
For my older clients who have been dependent on a parent’s cuddles or presence right next to them to get to sleep, I recommend still using a 'lovey' or comfort toy as the transitional object but putting something special from Mummy and Daddy on it, say Mummy’s unwashed T-shirt that she has worn in bed for a few nights.
I have used this technique with a 7 year old that I worked with, who used to need cuddles from Mummy and skin to skin contact lying beside her every time she woke up in the night to get back to sleep!. This way she could pretend that she was still having a cuddle with Mummy all night long.
For help with this or any other aspect of your child’s sleep drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
Sweat Dreams x