Wondering when baby can sleep with a security blanket? Find out when it’s okay for your baby to sleep with comforter and how to pick the safest one.
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Babies love their security blankets. They provide a sense of comfort and safety for little ones, and many babies pick their own security blanket to cuddle with and suck on it as early as 17 weeks old. But when is it okay for baby to sleep with a security blanket? And when should you start weaning them off of it? In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of security blankets for babies, as well as how to pick a safe security blanket and when to start phasing them out.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not have a definitive answer on when it is okay for babies to sleep with security blankets. But they do advise against placing any loose blankets in your baby’s crib during the first year of life. Once your baby turns 1 year old, you can then start gradually introducing a security blanket or lovey if you think it will help them sleep better.
I personally threw caution to the wind regarding my daughter sleeping with a security blanket at around one year old. That’s when the risk of SIDS decreases and I felt more comfortable with her having a sense of comfort in her crib. If you choose to do the same, just be sure to monitor your baby during the first weeks to see how they react and if the security blanket becomes a hazard.
If you have any concerns about your baby and their security blanket, always consult with your pediatrician. They will be able to give you the best advice based on your child’s individual needs.
Why a Security Blanket Is Important to Babies
I’m a firm believer that a security blanket can help babies sleep better. And not just because it’s something to cuddle with, but also because it can provide a sense of comfort and safety. And you don’t have to take my word for it, the psychological benefits of having security objects have been backed by research. Studies have shown that the attachment to a security object can ease interactions with strangers and make babies more comfortable exploring new surroundings.
I especially found that the security blanket came in handy when traveling with my daughter. It was a way to help her feel more at ease sleeping in an unfamiliar place (like hotels or at friends) and sleep through the long car rides. Whenever she would wake up, she would rub her “Sheesh” on her face and fall back asleep if she was still tired. It also helped her learn to soothe herself to sleep without me being in the room, which was a huge plus for those early bedtimes.
Security objects can be beneficial for most babies, but they are even more helpful for babies and toddlers who have occasional babysitters or experience bad separation anxiety. If your baby has trouble sleeping when you leave them with a sitter, a security blanket may help ease their anxiety and make the transition easier.
When to Introduce a Security Blanket?
Pediatricians recommend establishing some kind of attachment to a security item around 6 months old. One way of doing that is by having your baby touch the security blanket when you are feeding them or holding them. But why at 6 months old? and why should you encourage your baby to get attached to something other than you?
Six months is a good time for creating that external bond with a security blanket because it’s right before babies develop object permanence, which means that your baby starts understanding that people and things still exist even when they can’t see or hear them, and it’s a scary and difficult phase for babies. Having something familiar to hold and stroke can be very comforting to your baby during distressing situations like leaving them with a babysitter or at daycare.
As for weaning you baby off their security blanket, some pediatricians recommend phasing them out by age three. But I’ve found that it really depends on the child. Some kids will give up their security blanket as early as 18 months while others keep them around for a while longer. Usually, kids don’t drag security blankets around for years and in any case, during the toddler phase, you can define the security blanket as something to play with and hold only during certain times like naps or when upset.
Of course every baby is different. Mine took to her security blanket at about 5 months old, and by 8 months she was hooked! But if your baby seems uninterested in a security blanket or lovey, don’t force it. Just wait a few weeks and try again. They may not be ready yet or may prefer a different type of comfort object.
Picking a Security Blanket
The best security blanket is the one your baby picks on their own and is easy for them to carry around. That’s why a lot of parents opt for smaller blankets or loveys that can be attached to their baby’s clothing. But if your baby falls in love with a larger blanket, that’s fine too!
A typical security blanket (or lovey) is a one foot square of breathable fabric that has some kind of soft stuffed animal in the middle. As long as it’s something small and breathable, you can’t really go wrong. Just beware of the following details when considering a potential security blanket for your baby:
- Hard plastic eyes. These are a no-go as they could come off and pose a choking risk. The same goes for any loose parts on the security blanket.
- Ribbons and strings. These can also pose a choking risk, so it’s best to avoid them. Also, watch for the satin edges, they have a tendency to fray over time if they are made of cheap materials.
- Tightly knit fabrics. You want something breathable so your baby doesn’t overheat. When it comes to the fabric, a lot of parents prefer organic cotton or muslin because it’s natural and gentle on baby’s skin.
- Unique or Handmade security blankets. Whatever you choose, you want to avoid getting your baby attached to a “100% unique” security item that you can’t replace if it ever gets lost or ruined. Once your baby picks a security blanket, buy multiples for your own sake. Make sure you have at least one backup.
If you’re looking for a security blanket that is both safe and extremely adorable, I can’t recommend enough these ones on Amazon. They are very durable and you can order backups whenever you need to. You can also introduce them to your baby as early as 6 weeks and let them play around with the different materials for sensory development.
When it comes to introducing a security blanket to your baby, the earlier the better. Around six months old is when babies start to develop object permanence and can become attached to external comfort items. However, it’s best to wait until your baby’s first birthday before letting them sleep with a security blanket in their crib. If you have any concerns, make sure to speak with your pediatrician.
The purpose of this article is informative and educational only. It’s not a substitute for medical consultation or medical care. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babycious may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content.