They actually form a really important function in a child’s life. While it is a pain to wrestle them away to wash (but cute to see your little one hang out by the dryer in anticipation of having snuggy back in their arms), and they can start to look more ratty than comforting, they work very well.
It is not just the toddler and preschool years that a comfort blanket can provide support for the child when you are not there. They can also help teach your baby to self settle and resettle at night.
Let’s look at how…
Are Comfort Blankets Really Magical?
They can be seen as a bit of a magical object because they have the power to help your baby settle themselves at bedtime, and resettle themselves at the end of a sleep cycle.
How Does It Work?
Choose a product like the Cuski comforter, it's fully breathable making it safe to use from birth and perfect in size for little hands to grab onto and easily locate in the cot. It is also made from a highly absorbent soft fabric. This unique fabric helps trap all your amazing comforting mummy smells. While it might seem a little odd rubbing the fabric on yourself, it will be so worth it in the long run.
What I recommend is to pop the comforter down your top about an hour before your baby is due to have a nap. If you are breastfeeding, try placing it inside your bra to capture your familiar milky smell. Then when it comes to nap time, simply remove it from your top and place it next to your baby's face. Not only will it be warm and cosy from being against your skin, it will bear your intoxicating smell. By placing it close to your baby it's more likely to encourage attachment and your baby will instantly recognise your smell. After about two weeks your baby sholud start to recongnise the comforter as a cue for sleep. Don't forget to buy two just in case you lose one and make sure you alternate their use to get even wear and smell.
What If My Baby Is Too Young?
Not all comforters are suitable from birth so check first if it's made from a breathable fabric and is age apropraite. If your baby is too young for the particular comforter you have chosen then you can use this time to prepare it. Try sleeping with the comforter at night for a few weeks to trap your mummy smells onto it. Plus, every time you feed your baby, tuck it in between you both so that your baby will get used to the feel and smell of the fabric while they are feeding. They will also get used to the fact that the comforter is associated with pleasure.
What If I Am Trying To Teach A Settling Technique
The best time to introduce a comforter is actually when you are also introducing a settling technique. As you are implementing your settling technique, tuck the comfort blanket in next to your baby so that they learn to fall asleep with the blanket for comfort instead of Mum or Dad. Once your baby is firmly attached to a comfort blanket then they won’t need your assistance to go to sleep any more. Hooray!
Top Tip: Dummies And Comfort Blankets
If your baby is using a dummy, from 6 months onwards, you can tie the dummy to their comfort blanket. That way if they fall asleep with their dummy and it falls out in the night, they can easily locate it. This will stop you having to get up multiple times in the night to put your baby’s dummy back in.
When Is The Perfect Time To Introduce One?
The perfect time to introduce a comfort blanket is around 4 months when your baby is transitioning out of a swaddle and into a sleep sack. Their hands will be free so it gives them the perfect chance to snuggle up to the blanket and form a firm attachment. Check out my amazing video for top tips on introducing one.
But Aren’t Comfort Blankets Bad For My Child?
NO!! Comfort blankets have got a bit of a bad reputation over the years. They have been labelled as ‘babyish’ and children who carry them are looked down on as being immature. But they actually have the opposite effect. A comfort blanket can actually empower children with the confidence to be more independent than their peers.
So if your baby has taken a liking to a snuggly object, don’t panic. In fact, you should embrace the situation as it may allow them to create that small level of independence required to self-settle and to resettle themselves at sleep time.
Just imagine how comforting it would be for your child to have their blankie accompany them on their first day at daycare or kindy or help them settle at nap time in an unfamiliar place.
If your child is having trouble settling despite having a comfy, then there might be something else going on. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me for a quick chat. Everyone deserves a good night's sleep, including little ones and their parents!