Cuddle up! How comforters can help kids sleep better

sleep

Everyone needs something to snuggle and love at night- even our babies. For babies, a comforter like a toy or blanket helps them with self-soothing.  Sleep Coach Cheryl Fingelson shares her tips and tricks to make a Lovey a part of a healthy sleep routine for your child.


When a mum gently lays a sleeping baby from her arms into the cot, it is often at that time the child awakes and cries until, out of desperation, the mum cradles the baby in her arms and comforts the baby back to sleep once again.  Babies quickly work what makes them feel secure and in the arms of a parent is a perfect spot.  Who wouldn’t?! This is when a comforter could step in – and can be most helpful to save mums with sore arms and who might be suffering from sleep deprivation!

Baby Comforters (‘Loveys’)

Sometimes a baby may find and develop an attachment to a comforter by themselves.  It may be a soft toy or even a satin edge on a special blanket.  However, if not, there are several comforters (or Loveys) readily available to buy and encourage your child to keep with them.  Once at attachment is formed, I have known children to hang onto their special ‘blankie’ for years. One girl even framed the last remaining tiny, ragged square of her blanket to keep it from disintegrating and keeps the frame next to her bed.

Comforter Tips

  • When your baby has decided on a comforter, the most important thing to do is ensure you have at least 3 identical items!  This will prevent dramatic scenes when one sails off into the sea after a wind gust or gets left behind in the park.
  • Make sure the Lovey is safe for your bub or toddler – especially if it is a soft toy – and that there are no removable parts like buttons or eyes that could work their way loose.
  • A baby’s sense of smell is strong so rub the comforter against your skin, and even sleep with (all three!) comforters in your bed for a few nights prior to presenting one to your child. This way the transference of your scent will make it familiar and more easily accepted.

Sleep time

A comforter of any sort should NEVER be given to a newborn. It is recommended by most doctors to be introduced between 4 to 9 months of age.  When accepted it often provides comfort for many years to come. And this is what it is all about.  Sleeping children have rested and happy parents.

Self-soothing to sleep is a learned skill and the comforter can help with this if it becomes part of the bedtime routine, whether it is  a daytime nap or night time sleep.  I have often suggested to parents that the child should take it to day care if they are there for day long stays that usually include rest time.

 

Cheryl Fingleson is a paediatric sleep consultant. As a mother of two, she very well knows the feelings of agony and desperation when you have a child that struggles to settle and sleep. She doesn’t believe in leaving babies or children to cry it out, nor in the practices of controlled crying. Her approach is to empower parents with the right tools and techniques to teach their babies and children to go to sleep calmly, happily and independently. Cheryl is available for in home and Skype consultations at The Sleep Coach.

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