It is not uncommon for babies to put a blanket over their faces.
It’s still OK, and it’s kind of cute when they’re awake playing peek-a-boo or something like that.
However, it is not OK, and it can be really frightening for parents to see their baby’s face buried in a blanket when they sleep.
Blankets, as we know, may pose a breathing hazard, because they may block airflow and increase the risk of SIDS. It was repeated many, many times in the hospital, in NCT classes, during midwife appointments, and during health visitor’s calls.
So why is my little bundle of joy trying to suffocate herself with a blanket on my watch?
Read on to find out the 3 reasons why babies like to get undercover.
Why Do Babies Like To Put Cover Their Faces With Blankets?
Over time babies can develop an attachment to the blanket they sleep with every day. They may want to cover their faces in the blanket for a few reasons. Firstly, a blanket becomes an essential source of comfort and security. So babies use it for self-soothing during brief wakings at night or when they are upset. Secondly, when they pull the blanket over their eyes, it might be a signal that they want to play peek-a-boo. And lastly, the babies who are shy like to hide their faces behind the comfort of a blanket to avoid social interactions.
1. They Use Blanket For Comfort
So, let’s kick this off with the scary scenario when babies sleep with their faces snuggled in blankets.
First and foremost – these are not just any random blankets.
These are special blankets that the babies associate with security, comfort, and sleep. And most likely, they will wake up extremely upset when their cautious parent removes it from their face.
If this sounds familiar to you, then the truth is your baby uses the blanket as a comforter to sleep.
This is likely because babies associate burying their faces with the contentment they get during breastfeeding. Because during breastfeeding, their face is snuggly pressed against the breast. So, they want to recreate this environment when they need soothing.
Therefore, if they need emotional support, they will look for something to bury their face in, like their beloved blanket.
Moreover, babies will often put the blanket in their mouth and suck on it, rub it in the face, sniff it or just snuggle with it. Also, during brief wakings at night, they will look for it to self-soothe themselves back to sleep.
So, in a way, the blanket does a service to you as well!
Unless you don’t mind rocking, snuggling, feeding, or rubbing their back to sleep, of course!
It still, however, poses a suffocation hazard because if the blanket covers their faces, it can make breathing rather challenging.
So, what can I do to reduce the risk of SIDS and let my baby have its beloved blanket?
- Try to swap this blanket for a safer option. So, if you use a loose blanket to tuck your baby to sleep, replace it with a sleeping bag instead.
Your baby won’t be able to wriggle out of this one and pull it over the head.
- Make sure the blanket your little one uses is light and breathable. For example, cotton muslin is a good option. Alternatively, you can opt for an ultralight and a thin loose-knitted blanket.
- If you find that your little munchkin is old enough and would benefit from a comforter to sleep, then introduce a security object – called a lovey.
A good candidate for lovey is a small soft toy or a blankie, which is too small to fully cover your baby’s face. Or any other that doesn’t create a choking hazard.
It is also a good idea if you could sleep with the new comforter before giving it to your baby. Your baby will get attached to the lovey much quicker if it smells like its parent!
After that, you are ready to introduce the lovey into the nap and bedtime routine.
Your baby may also need the comforter during situations that require an extra emotional boost, such as attending a doctor’s appointment or settling into a new nursery.
Related post =========>How To Introduce A Lovey To Your Baby?
How to introduce a baby comforter to your little one
2. They Want To Play Peek-a-boo
Peek-a-boo has been played throughout history by many, many generations.
I bet the great majority of you played it when you were kiddies!
Good old peek-a-boo is not just a game – it is also a great educational tool.
Because when playing peek-a-boo, babies learn the fundamentals of existence. Meaning – babies learn through this game that the hidden or out of sight object still exists even if they can’t see it. Believe me. This is a really complex concept to comprehend, and it will take them around 2 years to fully understand it.
Nevertheless, babies love playing peek-a-boo.
There is an element of surprise, anticipation, and expectation.
When you hide your face behind the blanket (or when you place your hand over your eyes) and then suddenly pull the blanket down, babies can see your face again. It is like a magic trick to them!
End every single time the face disappears and reappears to their delight – it also comes as a surprise. Every. Single. Time.
They simply love it. And frankly, can’t get enough of it!
Moreover, babies love looking at suddenly appearing smiling faces, especially the ones of their loved ones.
So next time your baby is in a playful mood pulling a blanket over her face – perhaps it is an invite to play her favourite game.
*** As a side note or fun fact. Did you know that babies and young kids believe that if they cover their eyes (or faces) they become invisible to other people?
That would explain why they are so terrible at hiding in those early days…
Parents’ Guide to Stages of Peek-a-Boo
3. They Are Shy
It is also quite common for babies and young children to hide
their little faces behind the blankets.
This behaviour usually emerges when they find themselves in new settings or with people they don’t know. That is a typical sign of shyness.
Some babies are naturally shy. Since this trait can be inherited from parents, or perhaps they can pick up shyness from their less confident parents.
Shy babies often don’t want to be held and cuddled by strangers, but only by their special loved ones. They may also feel uncomfortable in social situations.
Hence they may react by hiding their face away, shutting their eyes or clinging to their parent. Sometimes, they may resort to crying. This is so that they do not have to interact with strangers.
Now, there is nothing wrong with the babies being shy or slow to warm up around others. It is just the way they are. It’s part of their temperament and personality.
Moreover, they’ll most likely outgrow the shyness.
With parents’ support, they will learn to be more confident and comfortable interacting with other people.
Final Few Lines
Babies can develop an attachment to the blanket they are sleeping with every day.
Over time it becomes a vital source of comfort and security, and they use it for self-soothing.
It might be a good idea to introduce a lovey to your baby if you are uncomfortable with your baby burrowing her face in a blanket for comfort. Because lovey will become an integral part of your baby’s life. Whenever your baby wakes up, lovey is there to snuggle, sniff it, suck on it to go back to sleep. So make sure the lovey is always with you on travel or during distressing doctor’s visits. Or whenever your little one may need extra comfort.
Other than for comfort, babies like to hide their faces behind the blanket to avoid interaction with others. This is typical behaviour among shy babies.
And finally, if your baby is alert, babbling away and pulling the blanket over her head, it may be the signal to play peek-a-boo. You should definitely accept the invitation to play this fun game with your little one!