Long before the baby arrives, new parents hear plenty of advice, including advice about how babies should sleep. When that advice comes from respected, reliable sources like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it’s especially helpful. One of the most important recommendations about babies and sleep is that there should be nothing in the crib other than the baby, who should be appropriately clothed in a snug onesie or pediatrician-approved baby sleep sack. Gone are the days of cribs with bumpers and babies surrounded by plush toys in the crib. Soft toys and blankets heighten the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Once an infant is at least a year old, parents can check with their pediatrician about whether their baby is ready for a security blanket. Many adults still remember (and some even have secretly kept) the “blankie” or “lovey” from their toddlerhood. These soft, comforting items brought solace and a feeling of security. Many parents want to give their babies that same warm, cozy feeling.
Babies grow and develop at different rates, and some may not be ready until they are 18-months old. If your pediatrician gives the okay, the next question becomes, what are ways to introduce a security blanket to your baby?
Choose the right size and fabric
If your baby is ready for a blankie, select one that is small enough not to get tangled up around your child. Also, make sure it doesn’t have small parts that could pull off and create a choking hazard. Blankets should be free of strings, ribbons, tassels, or ties that also may create hazards. Choose a soft but breathable fabric, like organic muslin baby blankets from 10 to 12 Baby Lounge. Watch the weight of the blanket; babies are still developing their strength and ability to roll over and move around. Their bodies can’t regulate heat very well yet, so a lighter, breathable blanket is better.
Carefully introduce the blanket
Introduce the blanket by making sure your baby associates it with the comfort and cuddling that comes from you. Hold the blanket gently around the baby during feedings, keeping the baby’s head and face well clear. Don’t use the blanket only at feeding time—regular cuddling time is important as well so that the baby won’t think the blanket always means a meal is imminent. All the time baby spends held against your chest, peeking over your shoulder while you walk up and down, bouncing, and singing together can be time when your baby is in contact with their new blankie.
Consider getting a spare blanket
Once a baby associates a blanket with the comfort that comes from their parents, they’ll want to have their blankie with them all the time. That’s why it’s a good idea to buy a spare, so when one blanket has to go in the wash, an identical lovey is ready to go.
Safety is the most important thing to consider when introducing a security blanket to your baby. Seek advice from your pediatrician before you start to make sure your baby is ready and that you have considered your child’s individual development and sensitivities.