How to Introduce a Security Blanket or Baby Comforter

Published: 05th August 2009
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Studies have proven that babies and toddlers who use a comforter or security blanket are significantly more likely to sleep through the night than those with no comforter.

When your child forms an attachment to a comforter (such as a security blanket or soft toy) she's able to use it to self soothe, which is essential if she is to learn how to sleep through the night without calling for you. So everyone gets a good night's sleep.

If you currently rock, cuddle or feed your baby to sleep, you are probably finding that you need to do that several times throughout the night to help your baby go back to sleep after she wakes.

A baby comforter helps your baby to fall asleep, just as you do when you rock, feed, or cuddle her. The difference is that she can use the comforter independently, without calling for you. Her comforter will provide reassurance during times of stress, change, or separation.

Studies have also found that baby comforters play a major role in helping children to cope when anxious or concerned.

Baby comforters have been found to be as effective as mum in helping babies to soothe themselves when moderately distressed.

A baby comforter could prove to one of your best baby buys if your little one is struggling to sleep through the night.

Choosing My Baby's Comforter

I recommend choosing your baby's comforter for her.

Pick something that's easy to replace if lost and designed especially for infants. Buttons on the eyes or nose could come loose, representing a choking hazard so choose a baby safe comforter only.

Something soft and tactile is perfect for stroking as your baby drifts off to sleep, but make sure there's no loose fur pile that your baby could breathe in. And keep the colours pale.

Babies are easily stimulated by bright colours and you want your baby to be soothed by her comforter, not ready to play!

Also, make sure it's machine washable. Your baby's comforter will definitely get pretty grotty at times!

At What Age Should I Introduce a Baby Comforter?

Before giving the comforter to your baby, keep it close to your skin for a few hours or overnight so that it smells of you. From infancy, you can pop the comforter in your baby's basket or cot so that she can smell or see it nearby.

Even just being able to see the comforter at this early age can give your baby the security she needs to fall back to sleep, especially if it smells all yummy like you.

But make sure it's safely out of the way. Some comforters (such as the Sleepytot baby comforter) can be attached to the cot in the early days for peace of mind, and later given to your baby to cuddle when you feel it's safe.

Your baby will start to form a strong attachment to her comforter between 6 and 12 months which is when she will start to use it to help her fall asleep.

This is when separation anxiety begins as your baby starts to understand that you can go away and leave her. Baby comforters have been shown to make this time much easier for your baby (and you!).

When Will My Little One Need a Comforter?

Children seem to need their comforter most between about 1 and 3 years of age, before they have learned to feel safe when you're not there.

Most children rely on their comforter when they are worried, afraid, or tired. Sleep time is usually when your child will need her comforter, but it's also useful when she's staying with someone else, such as a childminder.

Letting go of the Comforter

I recommend that you let your little one give up her comforter when she's ready to (rather than when other people think she should!). Children tend to let go of their comforter when it loses its special meaning for them and when they feel confident trying new things.

If you make a big deal out of it, you may make your little one worried and need the comforter more. Limit its use in the day but allow your child to have it at night as long as she needs to.


Lucy Fitzgerald created the Sleepytot baby comforter which helps babies learn to sleep independently so everyone gets a good night's sleep. Visit Sleepytot and register for a free baby sleep CD, 'Sounds of the Sea', guaranteed to help your baby sleep through the night.

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