With all the news coverage of Beatrix Potter's new book, 'The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots', I have been hit with a wave of nostalgia remembering my favourite books and cuddly toys from when I was small. For me, my most precious friend was a well-loved Peter Rabbit, bought for me by my Grandma and taken with me everywhere. This rabbit was my security, my comforter, my place of safety in unfamiliar surroundings and I truly loved his tatty face and threadbare blue jacket. Of course, as soon as he became my special friend he was no longer Peter Rabbit he was my bunny. Any toy bought with love for a small child can become this special friend, a reminder of our love when mummy is elsewhere.
When our babies are first born, choosing a comforter is not the first thing we worry about and it can be after baby has chosen something entirely unsuitable to fall in love with (like a cuddly toy with wobbly eyes all set to fall off or a unique toy found at a car boot sale or even like one of my friends little boys, blue tack!) that we realise we should have encouraged a safe, replaceable and machine washable toy.
This doesn't have to be a furry animal, you can get a beautiful range of blankets and comforters for babies that are safe and washable, with spares that can be purchased, that will stand up to years of love. Make sure it something you also like, as it will play a big part in your family life for years to come.
Apparently these much-loved toys are called transitional objects. I read somewhere that psychologists believe these objects represent a kind of 'essence of mummy'. They are often warm and soft, just like a cuddle, and give enormous comfort when baby is separated from mum. A snuggle from this teddy or comforter can give our babies the confidence to take their first small steps towards independence.
If you are brave enough to take these much-loved toys out of the house then we all know how important it is to keep an eye on them! Many a day out has been doubled in length by a lost toy and a mad dash back to the last place the toy was seen - frantic parents can often be spotted desperately searching for a lost teddy or comforter knowing that their little one will be unable to get to sleep without it. And this heartbreak for the child can be all too real, the loss of their cuddly friend a genuine sadness. I have friends who have been incredibly grateful they have purchased a secret double of the special cuddly toy to produce (with great relief) on such occasions.
This is why the gift of a cuddly toy is so important, a fun gift to choose and a wonderful way to show our love for a new baby. Just remember where you bought it from in case an emergency replacement is required!