Some of the most adorable baby shower gifts are handmade quilts, baby comforters, warm blankets, and knitted afghans. But, before you grab these goodies and drop them in the baby’s crib, hold your horses! Although these accessories are a must-have, they can be a danger for newborns. The question is, when is the right time to introduce blankets for a baby? In this guide, we will answer all your queries. Here is what experts have to say on how to start sleeping safely with a newborn.
When to Start Sleeping With a Blanket?
Many parents are tempted to offer their baby a warm and cozy place to sleep. So, they boost sleep comfort by covering their child with a blanket. But, blankets are not recommended for safe sleep, until the child is at least 12 months of age. That’s because the covering itself could become a hazard for a newborn. Mainly a suffocation risk, experts warn.
According to the CDC, roughly 3,400 American babies lose their lives annually without warning. These unforeseen deaths are often the result of a sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation during sleep, and other unknown issues. Although the rates have dropped since the 90s, it’s still important that new parents take the necessary precautions to keep the sleeping baby safe in the crib.
A baby that’s just been born, can easily get trapped between soft objects in the baby’s crib. Whether that is a pillow, cushion, bumper, quilt, or comforter. Depending on how tightly the object has wrapped around their bodies, it can block the airway and amplify the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). What the baby should have in the crib are tightly fitted sheets and proper clothing.
What Should I Use to Keep the Baby Warm?
It may sound odd, but it’s perfectly normal for the baby to doze off without a blanket. At least while it is still younger than 12 months. When getting a newborn ready for bed, you have a general rule of thumb: dress the toddler in one extra layer than what you would normally wear at night in your room. These include:
In winter, opt for a onesie with long sleeves, swaddle, or a heavy sleepsack. Whereas in warmer periods, consider a onesie with shorter sleeves or a light sleeping bag. The idea is to create a comfy sleeping space without keeping the environment boiling hot or freezing.
Overall, a newborn sleeps 8 to 9 hours during the day and 8 hours at night. But, it may not sleep over 1-2 hours at a time. So, it’s vital that parents or caregivers create the ultimate sleeping environment.
How to Get the Sleeping Temperature Just Right?
Choose the right sleepwear for the proper season. The TOG (thermal overall grade) printed on the baby products you buy can help you make it right. This unit of measurement indicates the warmth and thermal insulation of the textile.
For sleeping bags for babies, manufacturers use TOG to classify which garment is beast meant for what season. For example, a sleepsack with high TOG is designed for cold nights. Whereas, the lower the rating, the better it is to wear it in warmer seasons.
What Should The Baby Wear?
It’s a good idea to choose comfortable and pesticide-free clothes that won’t irritate the skin. These products may seem like an investment, but they can make a valuable addition to your nursery. Here, we will take a closer look at the TOG recommendations based on their ratings to keep the baby warm.
For the Summer Holidays
A light sleeping bag featuring around 0.5 TOG is ideal for hot weather. A product such as this is designed from single sheets of cotton. It doesn’t have padding and can be worn in rooms that are warmer than 75°F.
Standard Sleeping Choice
For all-year-round usage, you need a standard padded sleeping bag. It should be around 2.5 TOG. But, this is not something you can use in the summer. Instead, it is best meant to be used in rooms between 59°F and 70°F.
For the Cold Winter
The cold requires additional layering and extra warmth. That means a sleeping bag with approximately 3.5 TOG. The padding keeps the cold at bay, making it a viable option in room temperatures under 59°F.
What’s the Safest Blanket to Use When the Baby Is Old Enough?
Don’t use blankets that have ties or tiny accessories. They may look visually appealing, but the baby could use the ties to wrap around their hands or put the accessories in the mouth. Therefore, start with a simple, lightweight blanket manufactured from breathable material. Choose a product that’s age-appropriate for a toddler.
Other Tips for Safe Sleep
- If the baby is younger than 1 year, put them to sleep flat on their back, even during napping time.
- Feel free to share a room with your baby. But, avoid sharing the same bed. The baby should have their own bed. Sleeping with adults in the same bed increases the odds of accidental strangulation, suffocation, and SIDS.
- Make sure the bassinet or toddler bed meets the standard safety guidelines. Don’t rely on second-hand products with lopsided ends or broken pieces.
- Avoid smoking near or around the baby. According to experts, babies exposed to secondhand smoke can develop weaker lungs or other health complications and respiratory infections.
- Having stuffed animals in the crib is not a good idea when the baby sleeps surrounded by plushies. So stuffed toys and other objects at a young age could expose them to suffocation. The same thing applies to keeping curtains, cords, or other loose objects close to the crib. They can unknowingly fall on the baby’s face and increase the risk of SIDS.
How to Lessen the SIDS Risk?
Give the baby a pacifier. Pacifiers are known to lessen the risk of SIDS. Since it keeps the baby busy, it will be less likely to reach for objects to put in the mouth. Of course, it may not always go smoothly, since not all babies are eager to accept a pacifier. And that’s completely normal.
If the baby is eagerly using pacifiers, then this is something you can use to your advantage. Don’t forget to keep the crib as bare as possible and don’t overdress the baby. With a comfortable place to sleep, the child will enjoy dozing off into slumber.
Bringing a newborn home can feel downright overwhelming. After all, there are so many things you should watch out for, which could become a hazard. Using the blanket before the baby is 12 months old can expose them to danger. So, before you use blankets to cover the child, remember these expert recommendations and opt for a safer alternative. Options like onesies, sleeping sacks, and swaddles make for a worthwhile choice.
If you don’t think this is something you can handle on your own, consult with a specialist. A doctor will let you know how to take proper care of the baby no matter how old it may be. With the information listed here, you can feel at ease knowing that you’ve made comfortable decisions about using a blanket in the crib. The tips we covered here can give you all the information on how to create the safest sleeping space.