Being parents to a newborn baby is an overwhelming but equally stressful and hectic full-time job, esp. if it is your first time. As the baby grows, you have to make a lot of changes to cater to the needs of the growing baby. During this process, you may ask yourself, “When can my baby sleep with a blanket?”. Dive in this article because we are here to cover you.
When can baby sleep with a blanket: Recommended Guidelines
Making sure your baby is healthy and doing well is definitely your first priority as parents. This also includes ensuring your baby is having a good sleep. For a sound sleep, you would want to surround the baby with supports, stuffed toys, and a nice comfy blanket as well.
However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you would need to wait for at least the first twelve months before your baby can sleep with a blanket. The AAP has also recommended that you should not keep any loose bedding or soft objects such as stuffed toys in the baby’s crib or cot. This is necessary as the use of blankets in babies younger than twelve months has been associated with various health hazards and even death sometimes.
When can baby sleep with a blanket: Health Hazards
The use of blankets in babies less than twelve months old has led to different types of health concerns. This is because babies younger than twelve months do not have the appropriate reflexes yet and won’t be able to roll over or push away the blanket if it entangles with them. Some of the health hazards associated with the use of blankets are as follows:
- SIDS- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the untimely and unexpected death of the infant.
- Strangulation resulting from blankets having ribbons or loose strings.
- Suffocation from heavy, weighted blankets.
- Choking from small objects such as sewn-on ears or eyes on the blanket.
Also Read: When Can Baby Sleep With a Pillow?
Alternatives to the use of Blankets
As per the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, you should not use a blanket if your baby is less than a year old. However, at this point, you ought to be wondering, “If not a blanket, what will I use to put my baby to sleep? “, “How to ensure that my baby remains cozy? “, “Do I have to put extra layers of clothing every time I want to put my baby to bed?”
So let’s think outside the box and address your concerns here.
- Sleeping sacks: Can be used to make sure the baby is nice and comfy in bed. It eliminates the risk of having loose blankets in the crib which can cause suffocation. It also prevents the baby from throwing it off, which often is a reason for babies waking up at night.
- Wearable blankets: Another suitable alternative to blankets for your baby bear.
- An extra layer of clothing: During nap or bedtime, you can dress your child in an extra layer of clothing than you’d wear to bed. However, do keep an eye on the baby’s temperature to avoid overheating. For this purpose, you can check the breathing pattern of your baby, flushed cheeks, or the back or neck to see if it’s too sweaty.
- Swaddling: Swaddling is an age-old technique in which the baby is wrapped in a cloth or thin blanket. Apart from keeping the baby warm, it also prevents the activation of the startle reflex and keeps the baby secure. However, according to the AAP, swaddling should be curtailed before the baby starts rolling.
When can baby sleep with a blanket: What type of blanket to use?
When it’s finally time to put the baby to sleep in a blanket, you wouldn’t want to choose the wrong one. The blanket that you use definitely cannot be shared with your baby. Choosing the right blanket is essential because apart from keeping your infant warm, the safety of your child during sleep is equally important.
Select a blanket with the following properties:
- Fabric: A blanket made of breathable fabric, such as cotton. Avoid synthetic fabric.
- Size: The size of the blanket matters a lot. It should be big enough to keep your baby warm but not that big that it poses an increased likelihood of suffocating the baby.
- Design: Blankets with tassels, ribbons, and buttons or other accessories definitely look eye-catching and add to the aesthetics. But such trinkets can cause strangulation and choking of the baby. Hence, it is best to use simple blankets.
- Season Appropriate Blanket: When purchasing a blanket for your baby, one important aspect to think about is the season. A lighter blanket for summers and a cozier one for winters. But do make sure that you are not buying a thick quilt as that isn’t a safe option for your child.
When can baby sleep with a blanket: How to make it fun for your child?
Blankets or as your toddler would like to say “blankie” remains a significant part of their childhood. A lot of fond memories are associated with this security blanket aka blankie. This blankie sort of like becomes a part of the family.
Often this support blanket has its own name and personality. And it is found in the baby bag you pack for your baby, on family trips and even when your toddler learns to use the loo!
With something as special as this blankie, the best thing is to know how to make this adorable part of his growth and childhood even more worth cherishing. When getting a blanket for your baby, several convenient and cute options are available such as a few that we’ve listed below:
- Mermaid tail blanket
- Unicorn hooded blanket
- Organic blanket
- Superhero Cape blankets
These blankets are surely bound to be personal favorites. They can certainly be a part of the beautiful childhood memories of your baby.
Take Away Message
Blankets are definitely a comfy and safe haven. But let’s not be carried away when the safety of your baby is at stake. While deciding when can your baby sleep with a blanket, always consider the AAP recommendations.
It is always better to wait till your bundle of joy is at least a year old before he can sleep with a blanket, or even with a stuffed toy or pillow. Being the caretakers, nothing for sure matters more than the wellbeing of your baby. The decision at the end of the day is all yours!