Sleep is often one of the most talked-about subjects with new parents, especially when they and their babies wake up a lot at night! Every parent wants to make sure that their baby gets a restful night’s sleep or nap. And every parent wants to know what can help their baby sleep soundly and safely.
Many ask themselves the question: “When can babies sleep with a blanket?”
Baby blankets: A danger for babies under 12 months
Baby blankets may seem cute, cozy and warm. However, most pediatricians and experts agree: baby blankets, including quilts, comforters, standard baby blankets, sheets, soft toys, etc., are not recommended for babies until they reach 12 months and ideally 18 months.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and Canadian pediatricians, baby blankets can be serious hazards that cause injury and even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) due to suffocation and strangulation. In other words, baby blankets are unsafe for babies.
While there is no guarantee that parents can prevent SIDS, baby sleep specialists strongly suggest that babies sleep in a playpen, crib or bassinet without any baby blankets, comforters, sheets, or stuffed toys. They should also sleep flat on their backs, even if they have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), as they are less likely to roll on their sides and stomachs. According to HealthyChildren.org, babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to die suddenly than those that sleep on their sides or stomachs.
If infants cannot sleep with baby blankets, what can they sleep with? Let’s look into alternatives to baby blankets for newborns and young infants.
Sleep sacks for babies: Alternatives to baby blankets
What is the best alternative to baby blankets? Sleep sacks for babies! Baby sleep slacks are like wearable blankets or baby sleep bags for infants and toddlers that keep them warm without them requiring baby blankets.
Sleep sacks for babies have many different benefits. Some of them include:
- Better sleep patterns at night and during both travel and naps
- Temperature regulation
- Calming effect when babies are agitated
- Consistent sleep routines
Baby sleep sacks should be introduced as soon as possible when a baby comes home from the hospital or birthing center.
One caveat. Baby swaddle blankets can replace baby blankets to promote restful sleep, but keep in mind they are designed for very young newborns and infants that don’t move around a lot and turn over on their sides or stomachs. In addition, many parents prefer swaddling their babies under their supervision only or stop swaddling when a baby starts to roll over. The timing may be different for each infant, yet if a baby starts moving around in various positions, transitioning to a sleep sack for babies will prevent unsafe sleep situations.
As babies continue to grow past 12 and 18 months, parents often ask themselves when they should transition from sleep sacks to baby blankets. The right time for your child depends on them! If your baby outgrows their sleep sacks for 18-month-olds? Are they quite agitated when they sleep? Do they like to wiggle or move around a lot? They may be ready for a baby blanket and transitional bedding. But don’t rush it! If your baby sleeps soundly with their sleep sack, carry on!
Different baby ages, different sleep products!
We’ve put together a quick guide for parents to determine the best baby sleep products for your infant, depending on their age:
- Newborns (0-2 months): Baby swaddle blankets and newborn baby sleep sacks
- 1-month old babies that start to roll on their bellies: Regular sleep sacks for babies
- 3 months to 18 months: Baby sleep sacks can continue to be used! Switch them up with different materials, like bamboo, cotton, muslin and plush or velour sleep sacks
- 18 to 36 months: It’s time to observe your baby and think about the next steps to their sleep: baby blankets!
Disappointed that you can’t add baby blankets, plush toys or a comforter to your newborn’s nursery decor? Why not consider coordinating other accessories, such as changing pad covers or crib bedding sets, that match the room’s paint palette.
Make sure you conduct research on nursery room safety. For example, anchor heavy furniture to prevent them from falling on your infant when they start to try to climb out of their crib. Mobiles and window blinds with cords should be avoided at all costs as they can cause strangulation or suffocation. Other decorative items that you should steer clear from: cot canopies, wall decorations, fairy lights, garlands, sleep bumpers and wicker bassinets.
Beware of dreamy nursery pics on social media; parenting influencers are increasingly raising concern among doctors that point to dangerous nursery interior decorating trends that may be a risk for babies. Much as you may love a Pinterest pic, Instagram story or TikTok video, talk to your pediatrician or healthcare professional before you embark on a major nursery decorating project that could rival a home reno TV show!
For more information about safe nursery decoration, visit Nationwide Children’s website.
Best blankets for babies
Once you are certain that your baby is ready for a baby blanket, you now can let your imagination run wild! There are many different types of baby blanket sizes that can be used for a variety of uses:
- Receiving baby blanket – From newborn & up
- Swaddle baby blanket – From newborn & up
- Crib baby blanket – At least 18 months old
- Multi-use baby blanket –At least 18 months old
The best baby blanket materials are breathable and gentle for sensitive skin. Bamboo baby blankets and muslin baby blankets are lightweight and great for use all year round. For colder seasons or weather, your baby will love plush baby blankets.
Interested in learning more about our best-selling baby blankets?
Muslin baby blankets
- Perfect for first months
- Can be used as a nursing cover
- Ideal square size for swaddling: 48'' x 48''
- Easy care thanks to 100% cotton
Plush baby blankets
- Made from recycled plastic bottles
- Perfect blanket to take everywhere
- Generous size 30'' x 44''
Bamboo baby blankets
- Outstanding breathability
- Hypoallergenic and regulates body temperature
- Ideal for delicate skin