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The last thing a new parent needs is an erratic sleeping schedule. Unfortunately, though, your beautiful newborn will most likely keep you up a lot and may want a comforter in the cot.
On the bright side, you can try getting your newborn a good comforter from our best comforter list so they can rest easy without you there.
Since comforters can be tricky business, this post will answer your most concerning questions, including, what age can a baby sleep with comforter? What kind of comforters are babyproof? And more!
What Is a Comforter?
In baby world, a comforter refers to any toy, plushie, blanket, or otherwise soft item that you hand to your baby as a means to comfort them while they fall asleep.
Comforters go by many names. They’re often called soothers, binkies, pacifiers, or dummies. Paediatricians, on the other hand, prefer to label comforters as transitional objects.
That’s due to the fact that comforters are an item that helps transition your newborn baby from one phase of sleep to another. The first phase is to fall asleep with a parent around and the second is to go to sleep independently.
When Did Parents Start to Use Comforters?
Since babies can’t sleep a full eight hours until they’re older than six months, parents have always struggled to get enough rest with a newborn around. That’s why comforters have been used since the beginning of time.
At first, parents would rub their scents on soft blankets and wrap their babies in them. Later on, during the start of the 19th century, the pacifier was invented along with baby-safe plushies and toys. Gradually, new parents started to use them as other comforter alternatives.
What Age Is Appropriate to Start Using a Comforter?
Simply put, the most appropriate age for your baby to start using a comforter is six months. This is when your newborn enters a cognitive-behavioural stage where they become aware of the need to be independent of you.
It sounds harsher than it is. In no way does this mean your baby no longer wants you. Instead, your infant is now conscious of their sense of self and has realized they shouldn’t continue attaching themselves to you.
All the more reason to support their journey by helping them fall asleep, surrounded with feelings of safety and security. That’s where the comforter plays its part. It’s a useful tool in encouraging your baby to sleep alone while not robbing them of the love they need at that age.
You can make this transition easier for both you and your baby in two ways. One method is to have the comforter smell like you. This way if your baby feels uneasy and starts to wake up, it’ll sense your presence through your scent and fall back to sleep.
Another trick you can try out is to familiarize your newborn with their comforter a few weeks before they’re six months. The best chances for this introduction would be during feeding and napping times. Then, when your baby is allowed to sleep with that comforter, it won’t take as long for them to adjust to it.
Benefits of Comforters
Besides helping your newborn gain their independence one step at a time, comforters also help them develop sleep association patterns. In other words, as they grow older, your baby will start to associate nap time with their comforter’s presence.
Not only that, but as their separation anxiety begins to show its teeth, your baby will rely on their comforter to stay calm.
Drawbacks of Comforters
Dependency and clinginess are what you should look forward to when giving your child a comforter. Some infants become unable to sleep if their comfort toy or blanket isn’t around.
In other cases, the baby will wear out its comforter and refuse to have it replaced. They might also reject getting a new one.
What Kind of Comforters Are Safe?
A safe comforter for your newborn should check off the following:
- Made from breathable fabric, such as cotton, muslin, or bamboo
- Isn’t weighted or heavy but light and small
- Doesn’t have synthetic fur or bean fillings
- Is BPA free, machine washer friendly, and babyproof
- Has good, durable stitching that’ll last long
- Isn’t made from plush fibres that your baby can inhale
- Easy to sterilize and regularly clean
What Age Should Babies Stop Using Comforters?
It’ll be hard to get your baby to stop using their comforters once they’ve established a positive relationship with them.
Luckily, though, your child will give up relying on a comforter once they’re old enough. Around three to fours years old is the typical age when this happens.
If that doesn’t suit you, then you can try getting your infant to not use their comforter at the age of one. Any time before that might put your child at risk of SIDS.
Alternative Methods to Comfort a Child
All things considered, you might want to opt for something else that’ll console your child when they’re feeling upset.
There are multiple ways to do this, such as:
Holding your baby close while softly talking to them will soothe their anxiety. Make them feel safe by putting them in a baby carrier and having them be with you at all times.
Lullabies have always worked their charm on newborns. Pick a gentle melody and softly sing it to your baby on repeat. The rhythmic sound will eventually calm them down.
A change of scenery works both for you and your baby. Go for a morning walk or an evening stroll to put your baby out of its anxious mood.
What age can a baby sleep with comforter? No younger than six months old. Before that, it’s only possible to occasionally introduce them to a comforter, but still not best to have them sleep with one yet.
That said, make sure the comforter you choose is baby-safe. Your newborn will start associating positive connotations with their comforter in no time. If all else fails, there are a million other ways to have your infant feel safe and loved.