When Can My Baby Sleep With A Blanket?

When can my baby sleep with a blanket? - Header Image

Key Points

  • Babies should sleep alone in their cot with no blankets or pillows until they are at least 12 months old.
  • There are plenty of pyjama and sleeping bag options to keep your baby cosy and warm at night.
  • Newborn babies should be swaddled to sleep, but only for the first two months.
  • Ideally, your baby should sleep in your room (but not in your bed) for at least the first six months.
  • Babies should be placed on their backs to sleep, and never on their side or stomach.

It's a chilly night, and your baby is all zipped up in their one-piece footie pyjamas. You lay them in their cot and they look back at you expectantly. You think of your own cosy warm bed, complete with sheets, blankets, and a bedspread or doona and you start to feel a little guilty. Why do you get to curl up and sleep with pillows and bedding while your baby has to lie alone in a cot with just a fitted sheet?

When can baby sleep with blanket? As tempting as it may be to tuck a blanket around your baby on a cold night, babies shouldn't have any pillows, blankets, or other covering until they are at least 12 months old. .

What About Swaddling Blankets?

This advice might sound a little confusing. Aren't parents encouraged to swaddle their new babies to help them get to sleep? Weren't you taught how to swaddle your baby in the hospital shortly after they were born?

Most babies love being swaddled and enjoy a better quality of sleep when they can't startle themselves awake. Luckily, the answer to the question of when can baby sleep with blanket does not include swaddling a newborn baby.

However, it's never okay to layer an additional blanket over the top of your swaddled baby. Additionally, keep in mind that swaddling should only be done for the first two months, after which your baby is getting ready to roll and must no longer be swaddled.

If your baby rolls over during the night, they need to have access to their hands to help them roll back onto their backs, and a tight swaddle could prevent this. Once you feel that you baby is getting ready to roll - or has already started rolling during the day - it's important to give up the swaddling practice for their safety .

Alternatives To Blankets

Just because it's unsafe to let your baby sleep with a blanket doesn't mean they have to be cold or uncomfortable at night, there are a number of ways to dress your baby to keep warm .

One-piece pyjamas with feet will securely keep your little one safe and snug on cold nights, while a sleep sack or specially-made baby sleeping bag is preferred by other babies.

Safe baby sleeping bags feature fitted armholes and a fitted neck, with no hood. A singlet under pyjamas will ensure your baby doesn't get too cold overnight. As a guide, consider your own pyjamas and add one additional layer, such as a singlet.

Other Safe Sleep Tips To Remember

Where Your Baby Should Sleep

As fun as it is to prepare the perfect nursery for your new baby, your baby should sleep in your room for at least the first six months - and ideally for 12 months. That being said, co-sleeping is not recommended. Your baby should sleep alone in their own cot or bassinette.

If you do choose to co-sleep with your baby, all pillows and bedding (including a fitted sheet) should be removed from your bed. Co-sleeping should never occur if you or your partner smoke, take certain medications, or are severely lacking in sleep.

Soft Toys In Your Baby's Bed

Newborn babies should sleep alone in their cot or bassinette, without any soft toys or stuffed animals. As your baby gets older, they may develop an attachment to a particular soft toy and may find it easier to fall asleep if they can have their toy with them.

Before you allow your baby to sleep with a toy, consider the toy's size, weight, and construction. A large or heavy toy could pose a suffocation risk, while a toy with small parts like buttons, zips, and sewn-on eyes could put your baby at risk of choking. If your baby's favourite toy is unsuitable, offer a special bedtime toy to help get your little one to sleep.

Back To Sleep

All babies should be placed on their backs to sleep. When your baby is old enough to manoeuvre themselves into a side or stomach-sleeping position, they will do so - but in the meantime, babies should always sleep on their backs. Back sleeping has repeatedly been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Curtains And Mobiles

Look carefully around your baby's cot area to ensure they’re not placed anywhere near curtains or blinds, wall or window hangings, or artwork. Cot mobiles may look cute, but they too are not recommended. It's fine to have curtains and artwork in your baby's room but ensure your baby’s cot is positioned away from these potential hazards.

Bumpers And Wedges

Cot bumpers can look adorable and perfectly compliment the style of your baby nursery, but should always be removed from the cot before your baby is put down to sleep. Just like blankets and toys, bumpers can pose a suffocation risk and must never be left in your baby's cot.

Similarly, while wedges and positioners may appear to keep your baby still and in the right position during sleep, they are not recommended. Babies should sleep alone on their backs for at least the first 12 months.

The Right Type Of Blanket For Baby

Once your child has had their first birthday and you and your child's paediatrician feel that your baby is ready to sleep with a blanket, it's important to choose just the right blanket type. Consider the following factors when choosing a blanket for your older baby:

  • A blanket that is too large can create a suffocation or strangulation hazard, so choose baby-sized blankets rather than full-size.
  • Never give your baby a weighted blanket or one made from a quilted material. Muslin and other breathable textures are a safer choice.
  • A blanket with a fringe, strings, or ribbons on the corners or edges is not suitable for babies.

Every parent has felt tempted to tuck a warm blanket around their little baby. Unfortunately, the risks of doing so are simply too great. When can baby sleep with blanket?

Not until they're at least 12 months old. In the meantime, there are plenty of ways to keep your baby snug and warm without resorting to sheets, blankets, or a pillow. After your baby has celebrated their first birthday, it's time to consider how mobile they are, along with the other factors described above. Your baby may be ready for a blanket by that time - but it's still always a good idea to get the all-clear from your paediatrician before making that decision.