Not just another toy, a baby comforter is what a baby sleep consultant recognises as a positive sleep association. We want to discuss our most popular tips and tricks to safely introduce a comforter to your baby when it comes to sleep.
Baby comforters fall under the category of a positive sleep association because a baby or toddler can use it to settle to sleep independently and it will still be there when they wake from their next sleep cycle.
Unlike other sleep associations which can be tricky to replicate without parental support. A dummy is an example which can be hard to locate (especially under 7/8 months), is notorious for falling between the cot bars and needs to be the right way up in their mouth.
On the other hand, a baby comforter:
- Stays close to our baby when they fall asleep (no rolling away here)
- Can be easily grasped from a young age
- Won’t leave you on your hands and knees using your phone as a torch in the middle of the night scrabbling to locate #Ifeelthispain
To take a closer look at the role sleep associations play in your baby’s sleep, both short term and long term, read the blog How sleep associations can impact your baby’s sleep routine. Find it here
What to look for in a baby comforter
As with most baby items on the market, there are many baby comforter options, but which baby comforters are recommended and safe for a baby?
I personally love the Kippins brand and my daughter has been obsessed with them literally from birth. You can use the discount code “kelly10” for 10% discount if they are not already on sale.
Most importantly for me Kippins baby comforters:
- Are made with 100% cotton organic fabric
- Are breathable when placed over the nose and/or mouth
- Are designed with 4 knots which babies often play with to self-soothe.
- Have no eyes or buttons to accidentally pull or chew off
- Have no loose fur or fuzzy plastic with nasties
- Have no soft tummy or padded bulk (not recommended until 12 months +)
- Meet Red Nose safe sleep guide of 30x30cm in size and are a flat object! (Extra peace of mind knowing a product takes into account safe sleep for babies)
- Are safe to be introduced from birth, (but not recommended to leave in the cot unattended with your baby until 7+ months)
- Wash brilliantly (can confirm this from lived experience)
- Are affordable to have spares (spares are definitely important!)
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What is the best way to introduce a baby comforter?
Step 1. Pop it down your top to capture your scent This can mean wearing it for a day or sleeping with it in your bed overnight.
Step 2.Have it close by when feeding This is another way the comforter can gain your scent. You can even pop some breastmilk on it if you are breastfeeding which allows your baby to associate their comforter with warmth, comfort and a nice full tummy.
Step 3.Have the comforter around during your baby’s awake time Ways you and your baby can play with their comforter:
- Build familiarity by playing with the comforter on the mat
- Pop it on their face and pull it off (important skill for them to learn through play as it will come in handy when the comforter can be left in the cot from 7+ months)
- Take it on a car or pram ride
In the initial days of introducing the baby comforter, the more often it’s integrated into daily life the better as it builds trust and rapport and the comforter becomes a transitional object for when their primary carer is unavailable. This can also assist with object permanent AKA separation anxiety which pops up around 8/10 months of age.
Expert Tip: If needed you can always restrict the baby comforter to sleep time only when they’re older.
Step 4. Include the comforter as part of your baby’s wind down routine. From 7 months your baby can have their comforter in the cot with them so when it’s time to begin your baby bedtime routine head into their room, change their nappy and pop the sleeping bag on, hand the comforter to bub, close the curtains together, turn the white noise on and sing a few songs. Then finally it’s into the cot calm and awake with their bestie comforter to fall asleep.
Expert Tip: The baby comforter may initially look distracting for your baby but this is a good thing as it allows your baby to drift to sleep and between sleep cycles with the comfort of their pal. This helps to eliminate the need to call out frequently for you to replicate something such as feeding, rocking or dummy replacement between baby sleep cycles.
A baby comforter is a valuable tool in your baby’s healthy sleep foundations and can be a lifesaver in moments when your baby needs consoling or additional support.
Many babies and toddlers experience separation anxiety when spending time away from you. We have some gentle ideas to help ease the separation.
Check out the blog here
If you’re looking for help in creating better sleep consistency for you and your baby, we offer a range of sleep support packages. You can find out more here.