When can my baby use a blanket?

Before you reach for those adorable baby blankets, it's very important to learn when it’s safe for baby to sleep with a blanket.

As a new parent, you’re probably no stranger worry. Is my baby feeding enough? Is my baby sleeping too much? Are they warm enough at night?
But before you reach for those adorable baby blankets, it's very important to learn when it’s safe for baby to sleep with a blanket.

Here’s what you need to know.

Can my baby sleep with a blanket at night? 
If your child is under 12 months of age, blankets should stay out of their cot. Whether your baby is playing or napping. Blankets can increase the risk of smothering, suffocation, or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The same rule applies to pillows, comforters, bumper pads, sheepskins, soft toys, and any other soft objects. In short, the only thing that should be in your little one’s cot is them!

Will they be cold?
It’s completely normal to worry that without a blanket, babies will get cold at night and won’t sleep as much as they need but infants can get the proper level of warmth from what they wear to bed alone. Keep your little one’s room at a comfortable temperature (between 16 degrees C and 20 degrees C) and dress them in no more than one extra layer than you would wear to bed. Soft fabrics that breathe, such as cotton, work well and should fit your child snugly. Swaddles or Grow bags work well. Check in on your tot every now and then to make sure that he isn’t getting too hot or cold. Your baby may be too warm if his chest feels hot, his face is red, he’s breathing quickly, and/or he’s sweating. If your baby’s chest feels cool, he may be too chilly.

When can I introduce a blanket?
After your little one's first birthday is a good time to introduce a blanket or a comfort in their bed. At this age, most babies have the strength and ability to roll over and move blankets away from their face if needs be, which reduces the risk of SIDS dramatically. But talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about whether or not your baby is developmentally ready.

Can I safely co-sleep with my newborn?
The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in a cot or Moses basket. However, some mums find when they’re breastfeeding it helps if their baby sleeps in the same bed as them. Some mums feel co-sleeping is the most natural way to sleep with their baby.
If you choose to co-sleep with your newborn, make sure that your mattress is firm and the bedding is light and minimal. Never leave your baby alone on the bed, as she could easily fall out. 
You should never co-sleep with your baby if: 
  • you or your partner smoke
  • your baby was born premature or had a low birth weight
  • you or your partner have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medication or drugs
You may find co-sleeping with your baby reassuring, but still be aware of the risks. In this case, a co-sleeper that attaches to the side of your bed may be a good option.
What's the safest temperature for my baby's room?
As a general guide, try to keep the room your little one will be sleeping in temperature between 16 degrees C and 20 degrees C. A basic room thermometer will help you to keep an eye on the temperature. 

On very warm days, keep your baby cool by closing the curtains or blinds and opening a window in her room. She may only need to wear a nappy and vest. 

You can check your baby's body temperature by placing a hand on her chest or tummy. If she feels hot, or if she's sweaty, remove some layers. It's normal for your baby's hands and feet to feel cool, though. 

In colder weather, try not to cover your baby with too much bedding, or wrap her in lots of clothes. 

Laura Doyle, Mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired in the chaos of it all. Writter and blogger at www.lovelifeandlittleones.com.

Laura Doyle

Mum of four, Gentle parent living on coffee and trying always to stay positive and motivate in the midst of the madness.

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