A security blanket is a type of comfort object or lovey that young children use for self-soothing. Your little one’s blanket provides a sense of security and assures them that everything is OK. If your child wakes up at night—even briefly—they can turn to their security blanket to help them relax and get back to sleep. To use the security blanket as a powerful tool to help your little one sleep more soundly, learn how to create a bedtime routine with security blankets.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends keeping loose bedding and soft objects, such as toys, out of the sleeping area until the child is at least one year old. The AAP bases its guidelines on scientific data and uses this rule to reduce the risk of SIDS. So until one year of age, your baby’s crib should only have a mattress, mattress pad, mattress cover, and fitted crib sheet. Then, after 12 months, your baby has better coordination and strength. Children can typically get into a sitting position without support at this stage.
However, while your baby cannot sleep safely with a blanket until they have developed adequate motor skills, you can introduce a security blanket when they’re much younger. This is why many parents decide to introduce a lovey when the child is about six months old. Keep in mind that your child will still not be able to sleep with the lovey until they are old enough. However, loveys are uniquely comforting blankets you can use to transition your child to eventual independent sleep. If you want to introduce a lovey into your child’s routine, you can first offer your baby the blanket during supervised awake time. They will enjoy exploring the blanket by squeezing, petting, twisting, and mouthing.
Choosing the Right Lovey
Choosing the right blanket type is key to successfully using it in your baby’s bedtime routine. Consider the blanket’s size and thickness. Large, heavy blankets pose a suffocation hazard even for children over one year old. Similarly, blankets with long strings or ribbons can wrap around a child at night and create a hazard. However, a blanket in a friendly, soothing style can encourage your child to bond with the comfort object in a safe way, preparing them for independent sleep with a blanket.
Each Buddy Blanket from Bunnies by the Bay has a stuffed animal head and arms and a velour blanket body. Our security blankets have a baby-safe design with embroidered features. Embroidered faces are safer because they won’t come off and create a hazard like button eyes and noses can.
Consider your child’s interests as you choose from a lamb, rabbit, dog, or bear stuffed animal. Then, once your child bonds with the blanket, consider getting an identical backup blanket. This way, whenever you need to wash the blanket or if the original gets misplaced, you have the backup to ensure your child’s contentment. Just regularly rotate the blanket in use so that the comfort objects become evenly worn and your child doesn’t suspect the switch.
Where To Keep the Bedtime Lovey
One key to creating a bedtime routine with a security blanket is to leave the blanket in your child’s room as much as possible. This way, your little one will associate the blanket with sleep rather than another activity. And on unique occasions when your child sleeps away from home, the security blanket can help the foreign sleep space feel more familiar.
Keeping the comfort object in the bedroom also makes it less likely to get misplaced. Loveys are an effective way to give your child the sense of security needed for healthy, independent sleep. Avoid misplacing the lovey, so you don’t frantically search for it right before bedtime once your child is old enough.
Tips for Building a Baby’s Bond With the Lovey
Most experts agree that around four to six months of age is the best time to start sleep training babies. Though this can be a confusing process, a cuddly blanket can ease feelings of separation and help your child feel more excited for bedtime. However, as previously mentioned, your little one is too young to sleep with the blanket in their crib if they are younger than one year. Fortunately, you can still make the lovey a part of their sleep training.
To help your child bond with their lovey, let your child cuddle the lovey blanket as you sing or read. If your little one initially seems disinterested, drape the blanket over your arm or shoulder before handing it to your child. When the lovey is an appropriate size and made with soft fabric, it entices your child to hold and cuddle it.
Bedtime Routines With a Lovey
A security blanket can become an effective tool for helping your baby fall asleep faster and sleep better through the night. But to accomplish this, you should incorporate the blanket into their bedtime routine.
Generally, bedtime routines consist of 20-30 minutes of soothing activities that help the baby wind down from the day. A warm bath, changing into pajamas, story time, and lullabies signal it’s time to sleep. These activities help them transition from busy environments and activities to rest. Incorporate the lovey blanket into this routine to give your child something special to look forward to.
Tips for Sleeping With the Lovey
Once your child can safely sleep with a blanket in the crib, the lovey can be a part of the complete sleep experience. Rather than putting the lovey aside while your little one sleeps, tuck them in with the lovey. You can say goodnight to the lovey and hug and kiss it before your little one snuggles it for the night.
Consider making the lovey even more comforting by sleeping with the security blanket yourself for a few nights before giving it to your child. When you pass the blanket on, your little one will appreciate that it has your scent.
Keep in mind that when your child first starts sleeping with the lovey, they might not initially cuddle it through the night. But when you check on your child as they sleep, you can readjust the lovey so that it’s in your kid’s arms. Eventually, your child will cuddle the blanket without prompting.
Select your child’s lovey blankets from Bunnies by the Bay. We design and craft our collection of stuffed animal blankets for your little one’s comfort. Shop with us today for your child’s ultimate lovey.