Introducing & using a comforter
What is a comforter or blankie?
A small blanket or soft toy specifically designed to be used for settling babies and providing comfort.
"A cuddly stays with your baby like a piece of parental love." Penelope Leach.
They can be a very useful sleep association, which tells your baby it is sleep time. Babies can easily find a blankie and use it to resettle themselves during the night...therefore helping your child sleep through the night.
A comfort blankie can really help settle your baby or toddler both at bedtime and other times when she is upset. During sickness, the arrival of a new sibling, times away from home and in child-care are extra useful times for your little one to have a comfort item.
As babies go through phases of separation anxiety (usually around 9-12 months and again at about 2 years), having a comforter can be especially helpful.
If you are starting sleep training with babies over 6 months, we highly recommend you include the introduction of a comforter in your plan. It will make the sleep training much easier, particularly if you are weaning your baby off a strong sleep association such as feeding, cuddling or rocking to sleep.
This really depends on what you choose as a comforter.
Any item introduced before 6 months of age must be made from a breathable fabric, such as the Cuski or made from muslin.
If using a comforter under 6 months of age, we recommend attaching it to your baby's swaddle or sleeping bag with a safety-lock safety pin, so it can't get up over their face.
If you are introducing one after that time, then any small, breathable comforter should be fine provided it has no loose stitching or any small pieces that can become unattached.
What to choose:
You may want to choose something you like for your baby's comforter, as it may be around for a while.
Here are a few tips:
- Choose breathable fabric if possible, such as cotton, muslin or bamboo.
- See if your baby is interested in satin tags, as our Taggies are good for that.
- Choose something that you can get a spare of later or buy 2 at the same time.
- Machine washable, as the comforter will get sucked and dribbled on!
- Small is a good idea, so they can be easily handled by little hands.
- With toddlers you may prefer more of a toy, such as a snuggly soft bear or bunny. Your toddler may want to choose their own.
We highly recommend the wonderful Cuski range - these are made from breathable fabric and are in a very easy to manage shape.
Babies almost without fail become very attached to their Cuski!
"I had read that it was quite important to have a comforter in the cot, something he could snuggle with that smelt of Mummy, so when I saw the Cuski I thought 'perfect'. Well, he ADORES it (we have 2 now of course!) It is the first thing he grabs when he is put in his cot and he loves holding it and chatting away to it before and after his sleep." Cherie Martin
Introducing a Comforter:
Here are a few ideas for getting your baby attached to their new friend:
- Start by putting the comforter between you and your baby during feeding. Let your baby hold it while feeding, as they will be relaxed and cuddled up to you.
- Pop the comforter up your top for a few hours or overnight, to get your scent onto it.
- If your baby has been swaddled, you can start leaving one arm out of the swaddle and put the comforter in reach.
- Tuck the comforter in with your baby.
Facebook Live Guide to Comforters & Blankies
Lulla Dolls - Are They a Good Comforter?
Lulla is a soft doll, small enough for babies or toddler to cuddle. She contains a small sound box that plays a recorded deep breathing sound for up to 8 hours. Typically the dolls batteries last about a week on normal use before needing to be replaced, good quality rechargeable batteries can also be used.
Lulla uses two well-known forms of sleep association, both of which can help babies fall asleep and resettle during the night. These are white noise and use of a sleep comforter.
Lulla Doll has been quite a phenomenon in New Zealand in recent times, and we have had an increasing number of questions about her. We are delighted to stock Lulla at The Sleep Store, and have had a great deal of good feedback about how babies and toddlers have responded to their new sleep companion, Lulla.
Will Lulla help your baby or toddler sleep better? The reviews of Lulla have been good overall, or we would not be selling it! Many families have reported that Lulla has made a difference both to settling and improved sleeping overnight. However, there are also families who have bought Lulla and found no difference in their child’s sleep as a result of introducing Lulla.
Lulla uses white noise for soothing, along with the soft doll as a comfort item to cuddle. Both white noise and comforters are well known to help children sleep better and are two of the things we frequently recommend as part of our sleep advice and article.
BUT we are not suggesting that Lulla is a magic bullet that will miraculously improve sleep just by adding the doll to your child’s bed! Lulla will work most effectively when you are also addressing factors leading to night waking or poor settling skills, including teaching your baby to fall asleep without help.
Some parents chose to purchase a comforter, like a Cuski or Kippins and white noise machine separately instead of opting for a Lulla. A Marpac Hushh, for example, has a built-in rechargeable battery and is a more versatile device for using as white noise and a Cuski comforter is made with a breathable fabric and is more affordable than a Lulla to replace if it gets lost or to get a second one as a backup, for occasions when one is in the wash or left a daycare.
So yes we do think that Lulla will be a very useful addition to a sleep plan or to your bedtime routine but it is certainly not guaranteed to improve sleep if this is all you change and there are other options that may be more suited to your needs!