A new baby comes into the family and this can only mean one thing: tons and tons of gifts are going to start coming from relatives and friends who’re eager to meet the newest member of the family.
Even if you don’t get much stuffed animals, chances are (if it’s your first baby) you’ll want to run to the store and buy every adorable plush toy you come across with.
However, there’s a question that every good parent is going to make when they face the baby’s first night out from the hospital: What’s the safest way for my baby to sleep?
You have to pay close attention to everything that will surround your baby, especially in the beginning when their sleep patterns are very irregular and short.
Among some of the many things to pay attention to, it’s important that you answer the question: When is my baby ready to sleep with a stuffed animal?
Keep reading in order to find out how to make your baby’s crib a safe space and when’s the best time to incorporate plush toys into the sleeping routine.
Create a safe sleeping space
When your baby is still very little (newborn to early months), it’s very important that you make sure the crib is far away from any objects that contain ties or strings such as curtain pulls, electrical cords or even loose strings in their bedding.
In addition to this, it's important that you watch out for other items that the baby can pull into the crib such as picture frames, baby monitors, crib mobiles and other electronic devices.
The best way to protect your baby from unpleasant hits and accidents is to place a baby crib bumper all around the perimeter of the crib.
At first your baby doesn’t move too much so it’s fair to say they won’t hit themselves at all, but when they start growing they’ll be able to move more and more, putting themselves at risk from several types of accidents.
Another important step to take is to place your baby in the right sleeping position. When they’re very little they’ll need to sleep on their backs to avoid suffocation, after the baby turns one it’s safe to let them sleep however they feel most comfortable.
Blankets and Pillows in the crib
Blankets and pillows are another major thing to consider when you’re dealing with a small baby or a toddler.
Now, experts say that babies should not be given pillows or blankets because they face a high risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome); once the baby gains more control over their movements (especially with their head) a soft baby pillow can actually help them relax and calm down.
As a fun fact, pillows and plush toys for babies are just for comfort since their heads are still too little and need no neck support whatsoever.
The best recommended age for babies to start sleeping with blankets and pillows is 18 months old. This is a good way to cover them up, but keep in mind that toddlers can use pillows and blankets to escape their cribs!
When’s the best time for my baby to sleep with a stuffed animal?
So, getting to the main point, you’ll still have to wait until your baby is about 2 years old until you can give them their own stuffed animal to sleep with. This doesn’t mean you can’t get cute stuffed animal toys for babies in order to decorate the crib and the whole nursery.
If you put your baby to sleep with a small plush toy when they’re newborn or a few months old, they face the risk of suffocation or using the toy yo climb out of the crib.
Once your baby is old enough the best stuffed animal for the baby to sleep with are soft and fluffy animals such as bears. Plush toys will give your baby a sense of companionship and increase their self-confidence.
The only thing to be careful with regarding plush toys and your baby is not to place extra-large stuffed animals in their crib, because when they’re too little they could end up trapped underneath it.
Picking the best stuffed animal for your baby is actually pretty easy, once you take some factors into consideration.
Check that the plush toy is small and lightweight so the baby can easily manipulate it and get it out of its way if it falls over its face. Of course, a baby plush toy shouldn’t have sharp edges or dangerous materials.
If all of this information doesn’t make you feel safe, you can always turn to the packaging of the plush toy. Most soft stuffed animals have a recommended age printed so you can make an informed decision.
Now that you know the optimal age for your baby to start sleeping with a stuffed animal, you can safely start picking your baby’s new best friend!