Are you a new parent? Then you must be worried about whether your baby’s getting proper sleep at night. Or you may want to ensure a sound sleep to your newborn toddler and you’ll do everything that’s possible.
But be careful that out of over-excitement and anxiety you won’t do anything that would be harmful to your baby. For example, you put a blanket on your baby while it’s sleeping which can wake it up sweating and crying. That’s right; your newborn baby doesn’t require blankets for sleeping. So buying adorable blankets for your baby won’t be worthy. It’ll be wise to consult with some experts to know what your baby does need.
Now the question is if your baby doesn’t want a blanket at the beginning of his life, then when? And also why doesn’t it need a blanket? At what age can babies sleep with a blanket? Let’s find out the answers.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T PROVIDE BLANKETS TO YOUR NEWBORN?
As an adult, you may need a blanket for keeping yourself warm at night. But your baby doesn’t need one as it’s already in warm pajamas. It allows them to turn, wiggle and flip them in the bed. Not just they don’t need a blanket but there are also some risks associated with it. Such as-
- There’s a possibility that your overly-active baby gets entangled in the blanket.
- Again there is a chance that your baby’s face gets smothered in it.
- Suffocation often leads to even death!
- Choking the blanket while sleeping is another reason why you shouldn’t give a blanket to your baby.
The case is so common and serious that it even has a medical term. That is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strictly forbids comforters for babies.
Babies under one aren’t able to get off the blanket when it’ll come on their face. Even a pillow is inappropriate for them. He won’t be able to push it away in case it gets on his face. Stuffed toys are also harmful as your baby can choke it. For the same reason, you shouldn’t put any comforter, sheepskin, bumper pad etc. besides your baby in the bed.
So having baby blanket, pillows or toys with your baby on the bed requires more cautious. It should be just your baby on a firm and flat mattress.
THEN WHAT TO DO ON A WINTER NIGHT?
You must be thinking what to do on a chilly winter night when your baby will obviously get cold without a blanket. Of course, you won’t let your baby sleep cold. In fact, he won’t be able to sleep like that at all.
The answer is simple. Dress your baby accordingly. But don’t overdress him as it may cause suffocation or body heating. Put him on one extra layer of warm cloth. The fabric should be soft and breathable like cotton and the dress should fit your baby properly. Some of the options are-
- Sleep Sacks
What you need to ensure is to provide the correct level of warmth to your baby. Maintain a comfortable room temperature, around 72 degrees. You can place a heater in the room but be sure it’s at a safe distance from the toddler’s crib.
Recommendation by AAP
Sleeping items like sleeping sack, bunting bag, and pajamas can supplement the blanket. But in colder climatic region parents sometimes don’t have any choices other than a blanket. In that case, you can use a light blanket that’s tucked well into the crib side if your doctor recommends. You can also use a knitted blanket that has holes in it so that I can’t cause any suffocation. But anything that’s fuzzy and fluffy should be avoided as they block the flow of air.
BUT HOW TO KNOW THAT THE BABY’S BODY TEMPERATURE IS OK?
- Keep on checking the tot so that you can know as soon as he gets too hot or cold.
- If he’s too hot, his face will turn red, his chest will be warm and sweating and he’ll breathe faster.
- If he’s cold, he’ll be chilly.
IS PLACING A BLANKET IN THE TODDLER’S STROLLER FINE OR NOT?
No, absolutely not. It’s equally dangerous placing a pillow or blanket or soft toys in the car seat as it’s in the bed while sleeping. Your baby can choke them or the face can get smothered. Better, place a toy away from your baby hanging from a thread.
AT WHAT AGE CAN BABIES SLEEP WITH A BLANKET?
So clearly blankets aren’t for newborns. So when you can give one? The answer is at the same age you give him a pillow. AAP recommends waiting until your baby turns at least one year. The point is to wait until your baby has developed motor skill. Then he’ll be able to push away anything that will disturb him. So he’ll be able to remove any pillow and blanket that comes to his face. Generally, after one year, babies gain pretty much good control over their upper body and hand.
But it’ll be even better if you give him a blanket later, at is 18th or 24 months. It’s because as soon as he learns to move around a lot while sleeping, he gets himself tangled with a blanket. So if he tries to stand up in his crib he may fall down as the blanket will trip him. But an older baby can wriggle himself out of the blanket when he finds it uncomfortable.
However, the decision should always come from your doctor. The doctor may have a better idea when your baby can use a blanket as he’s been monitoring his growth.
HOW TO KNOW YOUR BABY IS READY FOR A BLANKET?
Every child is different. So the same age may not be perfect for every child for using a blanket. So instead of counting the age, it’ll be better if you look for the signs your baby will show when he’s ready.
- The Baby Can Lift His Head
Doctors also recommend blankets or pillows when the baby has good control of his head. That is he can lift his face and head out of the blanket if it comes over his face.
How to Check
Cover your toddler with a light and think blanket during his active hours when he’s awake. Now see whether he can roll over or push the blanket off or crawl out of it. If he’s able to get himself out of the blanket, then he might be ready to sleep with a blanket now. If not, then wait for a few more weeks and test again.
- The Baby Is Able To Move The Blanket Away From His Face
If he can move the blanket either by his hand action or crawling, then he might be ready.
How to Check
Place a blanket when your baby’s napping. Keep an eye on him and see whether he can move the blanket away as soon as it covers his face. If he can, then you can provide one at his bedtime.
PRECAUTIONS: THINGS YOU SHOULD KEEP IN MIND
- Babies sleep faster and better in a cooler environment. So they shouldn’t be too warm, just as much as they need to be safe against cold and pneumonia.
- If it’s possible you baby can sleep without a blanket, then let him. If heavy sleep wares can keep him warm, then you don’t need to provide a blanket. Otherwise, he’ll be overheated which is never good for his sleep.
- Some babies don’t sleep without having something on them. In that case, you should never allow the blanket to cover his head. It should come up to your toddler’s shoulders. Also, keep the arm of your baby out of the blanket.
- Choose light and thin blankets for your baby. So your baby will be able to lift it off or push off easily when he gets trapped.
- Be careful about the fabric of the baby blanket. Choose organic fibers like fleece, wool, and cotton. Avoid synthetic fibers as they can cause irritation in his skin.
- Avoid detergents like softeners those can be delicate for your baby’s skin.
- Keep on checking the room temperature and the room heater frequently so that it’s not overheated.
- When your baby is awake and you take him out of his room, make sure you turn up the heat of your entire home. So your baby will be surprised feeling the temperature variation.
- Close the doors and windows so that drafts can’t make the room uncomfortable. The windows should have a good seal on them against weather.
As you can see, blankets for babies under 12 months are forbidden. End there’s even no need of using one after that age if warm sleep wares can provide necessary warmth.
But if you have to or want to use one for your baby, make sure it’s thin, light and of good materials. And At what age can babies sleep with a blanket will depend on the development of motor skills of each of the babies.
What I’m trying to say is you shouldn’t haste to make your baby accustomed to a blanket if he can sleep well without one.