Here, we break down how to get the most out of, and safely using your Kippin at various ages.
A Kippin isn't a toy made solely for sleep. Kippins can be a comforting and soothing tool for babies while supervised. If you are thinking about using a baby comforter for sleep, please follow these guides.
We strongly advocate that all parents follow the safe sleeping guidelines as advised by the country in which they reside. Here, we summaries the safe sleep guidelines provided by the Red Nose Foundation in the country in which our business operates - Australia.
These guidelines are recommended to be followed with children until they are more than 12 months old (please see our note below regarding Red Nose and the information they provide on the use of soft toys from 7 months of age).
These are evidence-based safe sleeping steps:
- Sleep your baby on their back: not on their tummy or side.
- Keep your baby’s head and face uncovered: Covering a baby’s face or head with clothing such as a hat increases the risk of sudden infant death
- Keep your baby smoke free before and after birth: Help to quit smoking is available from your doctor, midwife or by contacting Quitline
- Have a safe sleeping environment night and day: Make sure the mattress is firm, clean and flat, in a safe cot that meets industry standards. Make sure there are no blankets, toys, pillows, or bumpers in the cot.
- Sleep your baby in your room: The safest place to sleep your baby for the first 12 months is in a safe cot next to your bed.
Please note that Red Nose advises that a small soft toy can be left in the cot from 7 months of age, however the ACCC recommends supervision until 12 months of age. Please contact each of these organisations directly for more information or clarification.
Red Nose cites research that demonstrates a child only needs to see a toy to be comforted by it.
Again, please always refer to the safe sleep guidelines as recommended by the governing bodies in your local country.
If you need any further information, please contact our team firstname.lastname@example.org or Red Nose/ the ACCC directly.
Birth to 4 months
Welcome to the party, Dreamer! Have you heard of the fourth trimester? When babe first arrives earthside, it can be quite overwhelming. For the first 12 weeks of baby’s life, babe is adjusting to life outside the womb, and you’re adjusting to life with a new baby completely dependent on you for…well, everything.
This is the time you need to be kind to yourself, and to largely go with the flow when it comes to sleep. It’s all about maximising the amount of rest you can both get – and that means not being too hard on yourself when it comes to strict routines and rules.
Here’s a few ideas for the first four months:
- Separate your days and nights as early as possible. That means lots of fresh air and sunlight in the daytime, and cosy darkness and quiet in the night-time. If babe wakes through the night – keep the lights off and try to resettle them as much as possible.
- Baby will be most likely to settle and sleep through high contact forms of settling – cuddling, shushing, patting, feeding.
- Don’t be worried about establishing ‘bad habits’ (1. We don’t believe in bad habits, 2. Any habit that’s established in the early days need not become a life-long requirement for sleep).
- It’s never too early for a Sleep Ritual. We believe in rituals over routines – patterns of behaviour, not clock watching, to help establish healthy sleep habits without the stress. Start to develop patterns of behaviour that occur at each and every sleep and nap. A simple routine for naps is story – feed – cuddle – sleep. For nights it might look like – bath – dress – story – feed – cuddle – sleep.
- Consider swaddling. Wrapping younger babies can prevent their Moro Reflex from starling them awake. Wrapping mimics to tight feeling of the womb, and can lead to a longer and deeper nap.
How to use your Kippin from birth – 4 months.
Keen to use your Kippin? Don’t worry, there’s loads of time yet. It’s unlikely that a baby as young as 4 months and under would find any comfort from a transitional object like a Kippin, and it’s not recommended by Red Nose to use a comforter alone in the cot until after 7 months of age. The ACCC advises not to use a sleep toy until after 12 months of age. However, including your Kippin as part of your nap and bed-time routine can be an important step in developing an unbreakable bond. You can do this by snuggling with your Kippin in between you during cuddling and feeding. You can also show babe their Kippin and tell them “Banjo says it’s to go to sleep now, night night.”
And despite the myth, letting your baby play with their Kippin outside of sleep time won’t ‘ruin’ it for bed – if anything, letting babe become familiar with their fave toy outside of the cot increases the chance for bonding and familiarity. Kippins are great for walks in the pram, car rides and tummy or playmat time! If you’re using a dummy, Kippins are the perfect dummy holder while you’re out and about.
The 4 month sleep regression can make your sleepy newborn turn into a sleepless zombie child. Don’t be too discouraged – it’s actually a sign that babe is progressing and ready to learn new sleep skills. It’s during this period that your baby also develops Object Permanence – the understanding that things continue to exist when you can’t see them. This is where separation anxiety can kick in!
Here’s our tips to thrive during this foundational sleep period.
- It’s time to think about getting baby to fall asleep independently. That means pulling back on parent intensive sleep methods like rocking, and feeding to sleep, and giving babe the time and space to learn to fall asleep on their own. It’s normal for babies to cry a little when they are putting themselves to sleep – pausing for a moment to see if they can resettle on their own can help.
- Take note of the recommended awake windows to make sure babe isn’t getting overtired.
- Look out for sleep cuesthat tell you babe is ready for a sleep – putting babe down at the right time can have a huge impact on their ability to sleep.
Continue using your Kippin using our tips above!
There’s a whole lot happening in baby’s brain from age 6 months that can affect sleep and settling, so be prepared! We’ve discussed Object Permanence and the subsequent Separation Anxiety that this can lead to. It’s because of this, that babies will choose something that comforts them (a transitional object) when their caregiver isn’t nearby – if you haven’t provided them with an object, they will choose one. This can sometimes be something. You don’t want them to be dependent on – like a sleeping bag or particular item/style of clothing, picking at their cot bars – we’ve seen it all!
A baby comforter isn’t a trick or gimmick. It doesn’t use light, or sound, or even really the material it’s made of to ‘make’ baby feel better. What occurs when a baby attaches to an object is that they transfer the feelings of safety and security that come when they are near their parent to the object. So that the same soothing qualities of being near a parent occur when baby has the ‘transitional object’.
Our tips for introducing a comforter for sleep.
- Ensure that the comforter passes our baby comforter checklist– safety first.
- Pop your comforter down your top for a few days before you first introduce it (the natural fibre absorbs your scent). You won't need to do this forever - just for the first few weeks or one baby is attached.
- Include your Kippin as part of your nap and night time routine – hand the Kippin to baby or place near baby’s head so that they can snuggle in.
- Stay consistent and don’t give up. Some babies take more time than others to bond with their comforter. It can take months!
- Wash your Comforter regularly – trust us, they get chewed and dragged around. You will need more than one!
Baby is ready to really work on their sleep now, especially if you’re having some challenges. Learning how to self settle will be the most important sleep skill that your baby/soon the be toddler learns. This doesn’t have to mean hours of endless, distressing crying (for everyone).
There are lots of methods to to help everyone get more sleep, and it's important to consider these first:
- Do they have everything they need in their Sleep Tool Kit? Are they comfortable, is their nursery a calming space without any distractions (no mobiles, lullabies or stimulating objects over the cot. Do they have a comfort object like a comforter? Are they dressed appropriately for the temperature?
- How does baby fall asleep? Are they being assisted by you or another prop to fall asleep (e.g. a dummy, white noise or a song, or other parent controlled methods like rocking and feeding?). If the answer is yes, your little one is looking for this to help them fall asleep every time they wake through a sleep cycle.
- Are you giving your baby the opportunity to fall asleep (or back asleep on their own?). If everything above checks out, stop, pause and see if they can fall back asleep.
- Is your baby ‘tired’ enough ? Do they need to drop a nap, or is there last nap too close to bedtime? Or not close enough?
Around 18m we’ll see another wave of separation anxiety as your little one’s brain develops. Some toddlers will choose a new comfort object around this age, or they might start adding to the friends they like to take to bed! If they don’t have a comforter – you can try to introduce one! Use the methods above, and don’t be afraid to be persistent!
Sleep is not linear, and you will find your child goes through periods where they are sleeping great, and where they might get off track. Ensuring you have built good foundations for sleep – by having Sleep Rituals and Sleep Tool Kits will ensure that you can get back to sleeping right faster!