Your newborn is experiencing smells, temperature, and textures for the first time.
During the first few months of a child’s life, these new senses can be overwhelming and frightening. All of the novel experiences can be harsh. It is important to find items and habits that delicately transition your baby into the world. Not only will this assist your newborn in its transition to life outside the womb, it will also help you as parents to transition into your new role of caretakers.
Providing your newborn with a calm, comfortable environment will help your baby sleep better, stay calmer longer, and have every opportunity to learn and grow.
One item used by Montessori parents for generations to provide this comfort and stability, thus providing new parents more rest and reassurance, is the Montessori based infant security pillow. Also known as the topponcino.
What Is a Topponcino?
The topponcino (to.pon.chi'no) is a soft, mat-like Montessori pillow that provides comfort and support throughout the first few delicate months of your baby’s life.
The pillow maintains its smell, texture, and temperature providing your newborn with the consistency it desires early on in life. The topponcino will become an extension of you, while your child is passed between individuals and provides head support when being held by those not yet completely comfortable managing your delicate infant.
The topponcino is invaluable in its ability to keep your baby content, allowing you to feel confident that you are providing a safe and supportive environment for your baby to grow.
Using a topponcino to hold your baby provides comfort during movement or transitions. These transitions can include passing your baby from one person to another or placing your baby on a floor bed or movement mat after being held.
The topponcino keeps your baby warm when used to place your baby on a new cold surface. Instead of startling your baby’s newly developed senses, the topponcino becomes a barrier of warmth between their delicate bodies and any harsh new environment.
Those first few weeks of a child’s life can be overwhelming for the baby as well as for you. There is nothing worse than having your baby fall asleep in your arms only to be awoken seconds later when placed into their bed. The comfort of a topponcino provides an ease in putting the child down after falling asleep without being awakened.
As much as we all want to hold our babies every second of every day, the reality is that our newborns need to be put down to enjoy freedom of movement and to allow us adults the time to work, maintain the home, or just have some personal space.
The topponcino acts as a comfortable lounger for your baby so they can explore their bodies and new environment. This encourages production learning and absorption of the world around them.
When your baby enters this world, it needs physical and emotional support. Babies are generally hearty little creatures. However, there is countless evidence that a human baby is born “too soon.” There’s no more proof of this than the fact that your new baby will not be able to hold their head up on their own.
The topponcino ensures your baby will be supported.
This is especially useful when being held by young or older members of the family or those not familiar with holding an infant. The topponcino provides a stable platform for your baby to ensure the newborn’s head and body is supported.
Topponcinos are emotional “safety objects” for your baby, providing a consistent surface which does not change temperature, firmness, or smell.
It provides a “Point of Reference” with its constant familiarity in texture, warmth, and scent. No matter who the baby is with or where the baby is in the world, the topponcino is with them and will not change. This provides a sense of confidence in their new environment without the fear of ever changing new sensations.
To create the easiest transition for your baby, it is highly recommended that, before your baby is born, you should:
- Wash the topponcino cover with your own detergents or soap
- Sleep with the topponcino in your bed for at least 2 weeks.
These two steps allow the topponcino to absorb your smell and will comfort your baby as it will always be wrapped in your scent. (Click here to read more about the preparation process.)
A Montessori Newborn Essential
Topponcinos are said to be “lagom,” the Swedish word for “just right.” They are not too soft, but not too hard. They are not too hot, but not too cold. And they are not too smooth, but not too rough.
Topponcinos are also called security wraps, security pillows, transition object, or comfort objects. It’s simplicity and usefulness for you and your baby is what makes it so emotionally valuable.
The topponcino truly is a little sanctuary of coziness.