To answer any queries regarding when babies can start sleeping with a blanket, we asked motherhood mentor and baby care expert Millie Poppins to collaborate on this blog post with us.
When can a baby start sleeping with a blanket? It might seem a silly question — after all, what harm could such a soft, adorable object do? Just as babies are weaned onto solids and move from nappies to using the potty, they need to transition into using blankets.
While blankets are cosy and comforting, adding one into your little ones bedtime routine too early could introduce unnecessary risks to their health.
Motherhood mentor and baby care expert Millie Poppins says “Transitioning your baby to a blanket can be daunting. What if they lose it and get cold? What if it feels foreign to them? What if it is a sleeping hazard?
My best advice is to wait until they have transitioned or are transitioning to a toddler bed. By keeping them in a sleeping bag and a cot for as long as possible you can have the peace of mind that they are safe and warm.”
Let’s talk about when it’s safe for your baby to sleep with a blanket and safe alternatives that will help them sleep soundly through the night.
Can babies sleep with blankets?
Most experts recommend waiting until your baby is at least 18 months old before introducing blankets to their cot.
While arranging pillows, toys and blankets around your little one while they sleep may look cute, it’s best to keep their crib clear of any items beyond their mattress and clothing to reduce the chances of anything harming your baby. Comforters are fantastic for soothing your child to sleep, but you should always supervise their use and remove the item once your little one is asleep.
Expert Millie reminds us “As much as we as adults love pillows they are unnecessary for babies and children until at least two years. They pose a suffocation risk and are best saved for 2-3 years onwards.”
What alternatives are there to blankets?
If you’re worried about keeping your baby warm without a cosy blanket, we’re here to help. Here are some alternative options that are safer than your baby sleeping with blankets.
Swaddling is when you wrap your baby in a blanket, tucking their legs and arms in so only their head is exposed. This method uses a blanket, but swaddling is safe when done correctly because it is so securely tucked in. This practice helps provide infants with a sense of warmth and security. Once your little one can roll over from where you’ve settled them on their back — usually from around two months — swaddling will no longer be appropriate.
Adding one extra layer above what you would wear at the same temperature is an easy and safe way to keep your little one warm at bedtime. However, be careful not to add too many layers.
Good bedroom temperature
If you can control the temperature in your baby’s room with a thermostat, adjust it to 20 to 22 degrees Celsius, as this is the ideal sleeping temperature for little ones.
Use a sleepsack
Sleepsacks are not only safe for sleeping babies but adorable. Essentially a wearable blanket, a sleepsack provides the benefits of swaddling but is easier to use as it zips shut and removes the risks introduced by adding loose bedding to a baby’s crib.
A safe alternative to blankets, sleepsacks are sleeveless so their body, legs and feet are kept cosy within the sack, with their arms exposed so they can roll themselves back over if they roll onto their front.
Millie states “If your baby is taking their own sleeping bag off during the night (fingers crossed they don’t get to their nappy too!) then you can always put this on back to front so that they cannot reach the zip.
When you are ready to transition to a blanket I recommend that you use both the new blanket and the sleeping bag together. This helps them to gently transition and familiarise themselves with having the extra blanket in their safe sleep space. After a few days you can remove the sleeping bag.”
What are the rules for keeping a sleeping baby safe?
- Use baby-safe products and always check the details and safety guidelines.
- Don’t share a bed, sofa or chair with your sleeping baby, for safety purposes.
- Share a room, so you’ll be able to hear any disturbances and keep an eye on them.
- Babies should sleep on their backs for safety purposes.
- Keep any objects out of the crib for safety purposes.
- Use a firm and well-fitting mattress.
- Expert Millie Poppins says “Please remember that a baby should never wear a hat inside for sleep as this increases their risk of overheating.”
When can I introduce a blanket to their bedtime routine?
While you know your baby best, consider avoiding using blankets (especially loose blankets as they pose the highest risk), while your baby is sleeping which would be around 18 months old, once your little one has the motor skills to push objects away from their face. Don’t forget, you can use blankets to swaddle them at an early age however.
Once you and your little one are ready to transition to using blankets, opt for lightweight and breathable blankets. That means no weighted or thick blankets, duvets or pillows.
Millie has some great advice: “Another great tip is for you to sleep with the duvet cover or blanket for a few days and then offer this to your child. They will feel comforted by the smell. You can also include them in the opening and unwrapping process to get them excited about this milestone.”
You have so many adorable options available once it’s time to introduce a blanket (or two) in the colder months. Our beautiful range of lightweight and cosy blankets offers everything from neutral-toned cotton blankets to sweet milestone blankets so that you can find the perfect covering for your little one.
If you are an expectant or new Mum, Millie can provide age tailored masterclasses to help you on your journey – check out her website here: www.milliepoppins.com