Should you give your baby a blanket?
This is a recurring question among new parents. And it seems natural to wonder about it, because we often hear that this object is essential for our baby, that it is a toy of awakening and that it helps him to fall asleep better at night.
All this is true! However, not all children have had one. However, they are just as well off as those who have never had one.
So, in the end, should you give it to your baby or not?
In our opinion, this is not the real question! Where we should focus our attention is rather on the benefits that a cuddly child brings to a baby. Why is it so important for your little one? Why does he need it?
And that’s the question we’ll answer in this blog post. But before we get into the heart of the matter, we think it’s a good idea to first define what a baby blanket is.
So, what is a comforter?
A comforter is something that cannot be defined exactly. So much so, it is very varied from one baby to another. Most of the time, it is a toy or a stuffed animal. However, it can also be a t-shirt, a bib, a quilt, a simple piece of fabric..
In short, a baby blanket can be anything! The only thing they have in common is that baby gives it a special importance. It is his favorite object. He never separates from it. It follows him everywhere. Whether it is to go to bed, to the daycare, to the park… his little companion accompanies him.
In a simplistic way, here is how we can define a doudou child: an object to which baby gets attached from his youngest age.
Good to know: among psychologists, it is also called “transitional object”. Admittedly, the name does not sound very poetic! However, it has a very precise meaning that we will explain in the following paragraph.
What is the purpose of a baby blanket?
If you have come to read this article, it is because you have already heard somewhere that :
- the comforter allows baby to be comforted and reassured;
- it gives baby a sense of security;
- comforters help baby grow up to be more independent;
- it allows baby to face new and difficult situations more easily;
- it helps baby to fall asleep;
- this object allows baby to better live the separation with the parents.
Well, all this is true! And these are all good reasons to give a comforter to a child.
Indeed, if your little one has so much difficulty to separate from this object, it is because it is important to him. Why is this?
First of all, because your toddler will need comfort when he starts to understand that he is not one with his mom. This distinction usually comes at the end of his 6 months. He begins to realize that his mother is in fact a different person from him, and that he is an individual in his own right.
Naturally, this process of detachment is not easy for your baby. He will feel frustrated and will need comfort and consolation. And it is the baby blanket that will help give him all this.
Whatever it is, it will offer reassurance, soothing and gentleness. Hugging or playing with it will give him a feeling of security, as if his parents or the elements that surround him daily are always at his side.
The comforter as a transitional object
In a way, this toy facilitates the transition. That’s why it’s called a “transitional object”.
This transitional object blanket will keep your little one company when you are not there. It will compensate for your absence and help him develop more autonomy.
So don’t hesitate to give him his faithful friend to accompany him when he goes to the nursery or the park. Also, give it to him when he asks for it. Don’t deprive him of it, especially when he goes to sleep, when he’s sad or when he’s been hurt somewhere. He will need his friend to comfort him!
Which comforter to give to your baby?
Your baby has just been born. The birth gifts are going to come flooding in. And for the most part, your loved ones will be offering stuffed animals and toys as usual. Perhaps among them is the future baby blanket of your newborn. But you don’t know yet!
In any case, there’s no need to rush to buy this or that object! When the time comes, your baby will choose his own blanket. And when he does, you must respect his choice.
But don’t worry! Your baby won’t choose an object that could hurt him. Children usually choose something soft and pleasant. Something they can cuddle and hug.
So, in answer to the question “which comforter should I choose?”, the answer is that the choice is not yours. It is up to your child to choose the one that will become his faithful companion. And whatever he chooses, you should not argue with him. After all, there is no such thing as a good or bad blanket. As long as it fulfills its role as a transitional object, it will be beneficial for your little one.
Moreover, it is good to know that each doudou is unique. It is irreplaceable. From the moment your baby designates it as his blanket, it will remain so forever.
Over time, the object will acquire a smell and a texture that will allow baby to distinguish it from any other object, even if it is perfectly identical. He will get used to this smell which will give him a feeling of comfort and security.
For all these reasons, don’t expect to separate him easily from his blanket. There are easy ways to do this and we will talk about them in the following paragraphs.
When to separate child and blanket?
Your baby is getting older and you are now planning to separate him from his blanket. Well, you definitely shouldn’t do that, because it’s a bad idea! Why do you ask? We’ll explain it to you right now!
Remember, your little one adopted his cuddly toy when he felt the need for it. Well, he will naturally part with it when he no longer feels the need for it. And when will that be exactly?
It’s hard to say! But in general, a child will let go of his lifelong friend between the ages of 3 and 5. But that doesn’t mean you should force him to give it up if he refuses to do so even at age 6. No !
You should give your child time to separate himself from his favourite object. If he can’t do without it, it’s because he still needs it. The blanket could still be useful in stressful situations. So don’t force his hand.
Otherwise, here are several reasons why a child may give up his blanket:
- Most of the time, it’s when he starts to take on words and now knows how to express himself in a whole new way.
- Babies will also let go of their blankets as they become more independent. He or she will then be able to cope with stressful situations or changes on their own.
- Your child begins to socialize with friends and engage in activities outside the home. He or she will feel less alone and will not need as much comfort and company as before. He will gradually give up his blanket.
Finally, when your child gradually moves away from his baby blanket, it’s a sign that he’s grown and evolved. But don’t be surprised if he comes back to ask for it. He may be going through a difficult situation and needs his blanket to comfort him. But don’t panic! He won’t get as attached to it as he used to.
How do you separate a child from his blanket to wash him?
When the time comes, your child will never want to be separated from his baby blanket. However, at some point you must take it away to wash it. This is essential to remove all the dirt that has accumulated on the comforter and prevent baby from getting sick. (To learn more about how to care for a plush comforter, we invite you to read our article on how to wash a stuffed animal
So, how to proceed?
First of all, we don’t advise you to take it away suddenly or by force. Baby will certainly not appreciate it! It is better to proceed with tact. And here are some tips that might work. However, you should know that they will be most suitable if your child’s blanket is a stuffed animal, which is most of the time the case.
- When buying a stuffed animal for your baby, get two identical ones. That way, when you go to wash one, you can give him the other and vice versa. If you do this regularly, your baby will see nothing but fire. But be careful, the two comforters must have the same smell. If not, it might not work!
- Is your child already going to daycare? Then it’s the perfect time to wash your baby’ s plush blanket. That said, you’ll have to check the drying time so that the blanket is ready in time for your child’s return. Your child could have a crying fit if he doesn’t see it when he gets home from daycare.
- You can also clean the comforter at the same time as you bathe your little one. You will take advantage of this to make him understand that his companion also needs to take a bath.
Conclusion on why a comforter is important for a child?
A comforter is important for many reasons. For your baby, it is a source of comfort and security. He likes to have it near him when you are away or when he faces a stressful situation. The comforter compensates for your absence by providing softness, tenderness and a sense of security. It is therefore crucial to give it to him when you spend less time together.
Although often presented in the form of a stuffed animal, a baby blanket can be another object that your baby has at hand and that he or she loves. You don’t have to choose it for him. Baby will choose it himself when the time comes.
Finally, although it is possible to help your child separate from his blanket, it is essential to let him get rid of it at his own pace. He will eventually abandon it when he no longer feels the need to hold on to it.
That’s about all you need to know about the importance of a blanket for a child. This transitional object will benefit your child. But always remember that every child is different. While some children have a strong need to have a blanket by their side, others will be able to do without one without worry.