The power of the blankie

New moms are always asking me how I get my kids to sleep so well.  My response is that I am a firm believer in the power of the blankie.  Sure, new babies often receive many blankets as gifts.  This, however, is no ordinary blanket.  This is a special security object that simply means, “comfort” to your child.  This is what your baby turns to in the middle of the night when he or she wakes up, as they often do, even for just brief moments.  I find if a baby is securely attached to their blankie or lovey, instead of crying out, the baby will find his or her beloved blankie, snuggle with it, and go back to sleep.

If your baby has already attached him/herself to an object (it doesn’t have to be a blankie, it can be an object like a stuffed animal–it should be something small though that is easy to hold in their little hand), great.  Go with it.  If not, by about 3 or 4 months old, its a good idea to start thinking about what you want to become your child’s security object. For my children, it was a little security blanket–they are about 12 inches by 12 inches.  Very small and not something that could possibly suffocate a child.  It can be a gift or something you have chosen. I have bought them not only for my children but also as gifts for others from a site called What She Buys.  There are some nice ones made by Aden and Anais as well that come in a 2 pack.  It doesn’t really matter so much what it looks like, however, it should be something that can be duplicated exactly (we’ll get to that in a minute).  Before giving it to your baby, sleep with it for a few nights yourself.  This will make it smell like you.  Once you have done this, you can start to give it to your child only at designated sleep times.  This would include naps and bedtime.  Your child will begin to associate the blankie with sleeping. This is not an object that goes everywhere with your child.  It stays in their room for sleeping time.  This helps with the association with sleep as well as for easy location when it is time for bed. When your child is older and running all over your home, it is easy for blankie to end up anywhere and then there is a mad dash all over the house to find the essential blankie.  The only places that our blankie goes outside the house are to the doctor (when my kids were really little and needed a little extra comfort) or in the carry-on bag of luggage on an airplane (because its not worth the risk of losing a beloved blankie in your luggage).

Once your child becomes sufficiently attached to their security object, it is a good idea to get an exact replica so that it can be washed every once in a while or for the dreaded occasion when it is lost (Gasp!). Please note that the replica must be EXACT. Even if it looks mostly the same, except maybe the color is a little different, don’t expect that your child won’t catch on. They are very observant, especially when it comes to something as important as their blankie.  Also, be sure to keep them in the same condition. Your child will know if suddenly their blankie looks much cleaner and smells quite different. Hopefully these instructions will help your children feel safe and secure in their beds and sleep many long hours, giving you, and everyone else, the rest you need.  Sweet dreams…

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