When Can Your Baby Sleep With A Blanket: What The Experts Say
Whether you’re feeding your little one in the morning or putting them to sleep at night, keeping them safe and protected is always at the top of your mind. That’s why knowing exactly when your baby can sleep with a blanket is so important.
When Can Your Baby Sleep With A Blanket?
You want to make sure your baby is comfortable and cozy, especially when you’re not with them. But the contents of your little one’s crib might be more hazardous than you think.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), letting a baby under 12 months old sleep with a blanket is strongly advised against. In fact, any loose bedding material or soft objects should stay out of the crib until this time.
In this article, we’ll talk about how to keep your little one warm without a blanket, the risks of letting them sleep with one too early, and some tips on finding the perfect blanket for comfort and safety.
Keeping Your Baby Warm Without A Blanket
If your little one falls below the 12-month mark or your pediatrician still recommends they sleep without a blanket, then you might be wondering about other ways to keep them warm throughout the night.
Here are just a few tips on how to keep your little one cozy all night long without blankets and loose bedding in the crib.
Giving your baby additional layers instead of a blanket is a great way to make sure they’re warm and safe while dreaming. But keep in mind that you should never put more layers on your little one than an adult would wear in the same environment.
Overheating, which we will discuss more in-depth later, is a primary safety concern for young babies, and you should always consider both their body temperature and the temperature around them.
Swaddle Your Baby
Swaddling is a technique that involves wrapping your baby in a special swaddle blanket. This is helpful to soothe your little one, keep them warm, and keep them snoozing through the night.
Before swaddling your baby for the first time, be sure to understand how to properly do so. For example, when swaddled, your baby’s arms should not be outside of the wrap or over their chest. Instead, they should be straight down at their sides.
To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), always place your baby on their back to sleep and do not wrap them too tightly. If two or three of your fingers can fit between the swaddle and your little one’s chest, then you’ve done it right.
Adjust The Temperature
Along with swaddling, one of the quickest and easiest ways to keep your little one comfortable and safe at night is to keep the temperature in the room controlled.
The perfect temperature for your little one is going to fall somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (between 20 and 22 degrees Celsius). Whether it's a cold winter or a hot midsummer day, this should be the room's temperature throughout the year.
With these tips in mind, here are a few risk factors to know to ensure you and your baby sleep soundly.
Risks Of Your Baby Sleeping With A Blanket Too Early
As we mentioned above, temperature control is an important factor when you place your baby down to sleep. In the same way that an adult may have trouble sleeping in unusually warm conditions, babies may also struggle to snooze if they are too toasty.
Also, during the first 12 months, temperatures that are too warm for your baby can increase the chances of SIDS.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
We cannot stress the importance of lowering the risk of SIDS enough. Around 2,300 babies in the U.S. die of SIDS each year, and there is still no known cause for this syndrome. However, we do have a list of problematic practices and their connection to SIDS.
For example, keeping the temperature too warm or letting your little one sleep with a blanket before they’re a year old are two common practices associated with SIDS.
A more direct result that blankets can have on babies when they’re too young is covering their face and making it difficult to breathe. Since newborns and infants still have trouble lifting their heads, blankets in their crib can increase the risk of accidental suffocation.
Any soft objects that might be able to cover your little one’s mouth or nose while they sleep are considered a suffocation hazard. Keeping their crib free of blankets, bumpers, stuffed animals, and the like will ensure a hazard-free snoozing environment.
As a parent, waking up in the middle of the night to care for your baby is nothing new. But if your baby isn’t sleeping enough because they are too warm under a blanket, this can lead to serious issues.
To determine if this is the cause of your little one’s sleeping trouble, you might consider implementing a strict bedtime routine.
By doing this, you can then identify whether the added blanket is the problem or if they are simply overtired, going through a developmental milestone, or are not a fan of their sleeping environment as a whole.
One great way to keep things consistent and ease them into slumber is to have bath time before bed. We recommend using our Bathtime Essentials Set for clean and healthy skin every time you place them in the tub.
At Mustela, we also recommend following bath time with a massage to relax your little one’s body. Our Melting Massage Balm works wonders when added into their nighttime routine, and it moisturizes and nourishes your baby’s skin, leaving it soft and supple.
Whatever you decide to incorporate into their nightly routine, giving them consistency will help them associate that part of the day with bedtime and help you determine any underlying issues.
Utter exhaustion is no good for you or your little one, so taking the time to identify and isolate any issues like a blanket that is too heavy can save you both too many nights of lost sleep!
Once your baby has surpassed the 12-month mark and your pediatrician has said it’s safe for them to sleep with a blanket, here are some tips for letting your little one get snuggled up with the perfect sleep companion.
Tips For Letting Your Baby Sleep With A Blanket
Avoid Choking Hazards
Choosing the right blanket for your baby can seem like a challenge of its own. Thankfully, there are a few simple guidelines for buying a safe and comfortable blanket they’ll be sure to love.
The first thing to keep in mind is that you should always avoid blankets with weaves, ties, or strings that hang around the edges since these decorative features can be a choking hazard.
Choose The Right Materials
Next, you’ll want to make sure that the material is ideal for your baby’s skin, especially if they’re eczema-prone or have very sensitive skin. Lightweight and breathable materials, like organic cotton or muslin, are typically the best options.
If your baby’s skin begins to react, then it’s best to stop using the blanket immediately. Once you’ve verified the source of the reaction, we recommend using Stelatopia Emollient Balm to keep your little one’s skin happy, healthy, and itch-free.
While textured materials can help stimulate your little one’s brain as they interact with the world around them, avoid textures like fur that can become loose and be inhaled by your baby.
Expert tip: For little ones with eczema-prone skin, try our special Stelatopia Skin Soothing Pajamas to deliver skin-soothing moisture throughout the night while keeping your baby warm
Keep Size In Mind
Finding the right size for your baby’s blanket can make all the difference when it comes to both safety and comfort. Something too small can mean cold nights, while material too large can result in risks like overheating.
While size charts are available to help you find the best option, no two babies are the same. So, be sure to consider their specific needs and size when determining which blanket to buy.
An ideal blanket covers your baby but isn’t so large that it could suffocate or strangle them. It’s a good idea to check their growth every month or so to make sure you’re using an appropriate size.
The Perfect Blanket For Your Little One
Knowing when your baby can sleep with a blanket is important. And keeping the precautions we’ve outlined in mind will help you and your little one snooze better.
If your little one is over 12 months old, tucking them in with the right blanket can keep them cozy and even provide mental stimulation. Just be sure to follow our tips for finding the perfect option!
Remember that even when your little one is too young for a blanket, methods like layering and swaddling can help them maintain the right temperature while they sleep.
And if you’re looking for other ways to give your baby the best night’s rest, use our Baby Oil to massage their body, moisturize their delicate skin, and help them have a relaxing transition to bed.
No matter how old your baby is, we have everything you need, from daily skincare to certified organic products like our Water Wipes with Cotton and Aloe. With our range of products and tips, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for at Mustela.