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Let’s talk about comforters, every baby seems to have one, and they can range significantly in what item can be deemed a comforter in both your children and your eyes. Some of the most bizarre comforters I have seen a baby use are mums padded bra, dads silk boxers, a hairpiece (that after several months of loving looked like a piece of roadkill).


So why introduce a comforter?

Well, most babies will seek out some form of external comfort for sleeping, and you can always let your child find a comforter in their own time, or you can guide them towards one that is safe, breathable, easily replaceable and washable. Helping your baby find a comforter can be a very positive sleep association that can help them self regulate over the first few years.


Why do babies need to have any comforter at all?

At around four months of age, your babies sleep cycles change dramatically, and they form more adult-like consistent sleep. They also, for the first time in their life, recognise that they are a separate person to their mother. It is at this time they seek out familiar forms of comfort.

If for example, you feed your baby every time they nap, then this becomes a recognisable and familiar comforter for them and a way for them to fall asleep. As their sleep cycles change, they will then start to seek out this form of comfort more often to reassure them and aid them in linking sleep cycles. The more that they seek it out, the more you relace and therefore re-enforce this sleep association.

Now, if you introduced a soft natural fibre, breathable comforter and use it regularly before this four-month sleep transition, your baby is more likely to be drawn towards this item find comfort and familiarity in it. Because they can manage it independently, it will reassure them and aid them to fall asleep independently.


To assist your baby in forming a bond to your preferred comforter I recommend that parents start to introduce it at around three months and use it consistently. Use it during feeding, playtime, cuddles, going for walks and for sleep. This will help your little one recognise the comforter as an item that represents you and all the lovely things in their life. As they approach four months, they will start to associate this item as a form of comfort and find it easier to settle when it’s around them. When they stir through sleep cycles, they will be able to find this item and snuggle into it and fall asleep unsupported.


Notes on introducing comforters :


*Make sure it small and 100% cotton or bamboo cotton natural fibres and is breathable

*Make sure you have at least 5 of them so they can be regularly washed and rotated

* you don’t need to put breast milk on your comforter, just using it regularly and having it around you all the time is enough to form the association.

* I recommend following safe sleep practices when it comes to introducing toys or comforter to your child’s cot

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