Why Teddy Bears Help Babies Sleep

Your child’s blanket or teddy bear may be the ticket to a good night rest for your child, and for yourself!

Although by six months of age most babies are capable of sleeping a solid eight hours without a feeding, the fact is many don’t. The reason is quite simple…babies just haven’t learned the fine art of sleeping soundly.

Many parents will tell you that unless they’re holding or rocking their infant, sleep won’t happen for either the baby or the parent! Yet believe it or not, babies who regularly fall asleep in a pair of loving arms can have a lot of trouble learning to sleep soundly. Pediatrician Dr. Donald Shifron says when we rock our infants to sleep, we become their sleep association. “A sleep association is what we identify as the last thing we remember before we go to sleep. And if the last thing I remember is being in my parents arms or sucking on a bottle, then when I awake or have a partial awakening in the evening, that’s what I’m going to need to get back to sleep.”

A sleep association such as a blanket or teddy bear can help a child learn to sleep on her own. But if a youngster is stuck on mom or dad, then Dr. Shifron says you may have to cut back on those midnight cuddles. “Parents can help their youngsters by decreasing this sleep association gradually so they can learn to comfort themselves and get back to sleep. Many youngsters will wake up, rub their eyes, turn over and go right back to sleep. But other youngsters will wake up and rub their eyes and say “where’s my sleep association?” Good sleepers are made, not born.”

So help your baby find a favorite teddy or blanket. Ensure that it isn’t a choking hazard by regularly tugging on any eyes or buttons that could come off and find their way into your child’s mouth. If it passes the test, encourage your baby to take it to bed and to hold it whenever he needs a little comfort. A soothing teddy or blankie could be the sleep association that will make or break a good night’s sleep for both your baby and you!

Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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