While in the womb your baby is cocooned in a safe and comfortable zone that surrounds every second of the growing stage in preparation for being born into a world that is unfamiliar with sights, sounds and tastes and the introduction to a new comfort may have to be given in one form or another.
The first smell a new born baby will relate to is mum and when placing your child onto your chest they will hear what has become familiar to them while in the womb which is the beating of your heart.
When you lay your baby down to sleep he may feel that his little world of safety has been snatched away and become alarmed and upset at this and you could end up having a baby that needs to be held most of the time.
Many parents feel they are going to be different and bring up their child without the need of any form of comforters and those lucky enough to have a baby that feels calm and strong enough to go without one can be few and far between.
The most popular choice of a comforter for a new born baby is the dummy which to a baby gives that extra feeling of suckling on a mother’s breast.
Dummies have found many parents in the ‘will we, won’t we’ discussions. Some find the thought of one disgusting while others buy one without hesitation as they feel they could not cope with sleepless nights or having an upset baby.
History of Dummy’s
Dating back hundreds of years the dummy has been top of the list even before the modern day version of rubber dummies were invented over a hundred years ago.
Fruit tied inside a cloth and given to babies to suck on was one method or a strip of cloth was dipped in honey and milk, fingers dipped in honey or sugar were also given as a comforter aid.
A painting of Madonna and Child by Albrecht Durer that dates back to the 16th century has the baby holding a ‘rag bag’ and clay dummies not unlike today’s dinky feeders were found during excavations of ancient infant burials.
The Registrar-General in Britain lists over 2000 children’s deaths caused by teething as recently as 1905 and because of this it soon became clear that the ‘dummy’ helped in soothing a fractious infant while relieving the distress suffered during teething.
Dummy Use Advice
If you feel the dummy is going to be the best comforter for your new born baby a few helpful suggestions are as follows:
- Always have more than one in the house.
- Try and keep a new one in your handbag, your baby’s bag, the car’s glove compartment and parent’s homes.
- Avoid bulky, furry and heavy ones.
- If you have more than one child using a comforter then choose different colours for each of them.
- Stick to the same style/manufacturer once your baby if your baby is happy with it.
- Keep it as clean as possible and sterilise in the same way as a bottle teat.
- Replace often and reguarly check for splits, holes and cracks.
- Try to limit the use of the dummy and use only when baby is upset or cries for it.
- Never dip the dummy into sweet foods.
- Don’t let the dummy become a habit and try and wean your child as soon as possible.
Baby Comfort Blankets
Many babies and children choose the blanket as their comforter, either with or without the added comfort of a dummy.
This feeling of comfort could be formed from the baby being surrounded by a blanket when newborn or the feel of material while snuggling into mum and babies/children use a blanket comforter in different ways.
While some choose to wrap the blanket around their hands and place on their face, others will cover their face, suck on it or lie on it – whichever choice they make that little bit of cloth can become a big part in their lives and it may be many years before they are willing to let it go.
(I have a niece who for many years had a piece of cloth that she would not go to bed without and when she was five her mother started to cut bits off without her knowing. I talked her into letting me have a piece which she was quite willing to do and to this day 15 years later I still have it and I intend to give it back to her the day she gets married).
You may decide yourself to introduce a comfort blanket or your baby may decide themselves which one it is to be.
Generally it’s the bit of cloth that gives your baby the most comfort and recognition with everyday life that will become the comforter blanket as they grow and you will very soon pick up on which one, if any, it is going to be.
Comfort Blanket Advice
- If you choose the blanket yourself sleep with it or carry it around. This will absorb those comforting mummy smells which your baby will recognise and help to sooth and calm as well as giving an added secure feeling to baby when not being held.
- Wash the blanket regularly while baby is asleep and then re-sleep with it yourself.
- If your baby will not let go and feels the need to fall asleep with the blanket you can use by swaddling, securing it firmly and safely on the bars of the cot or remove from hands once baby is asleep. It is not recommended to use/leave a blanket in a cot/crib with a baby under 1 years of age.
- Baby ‘sleeper’ blankets if used can be cut and used when baby grows out of it and it’s safe to leave the blanket in the cot with your toddler.
Modern Baby Comforter Blankets
Today’s parents have an amazing choice of comforters and many award winning blankets have been designed and produced with babies of all ages in mind.
Babies and children all love the feel of softness against their skin and mini blankets that double up as toys and soothers are now available in different materials, colours and styles.
With materials such as soft chenille which is perfect for newborns, to interactive entertainment for small babies and toddlers these are fast becoming a very popular alternative to other infant comforters and sleeping aids.
Satin, fleece and valour bunnies and frogs are all aimed at stimulating your child’s development with the added security that mummy and daddy are always there.
These modern types of comforters are all made to high and strict standards and deemed perfectly safe to be placed in the cot with your child to snuggle down with and drift off to a peaceful sleep.