getting-baby-to-sleep_364x200_76127460Is it OK to leave a few non choke able toys in my 18 month old's cot? Letting him play with his favourite plastic hammer seems to calm him down enough to fall to sleep. As a bonus he seems to play with his toys in the morning, giving me about 10 extra minutes in bed. I don't want to start a habit that is not a good one. Your advice is welcomed. Marian

From about 12 months onwards, it is quite safe and okay to leave a couple of non chokeable  and safe toys in your babies cot.  One of the best toys to leave in a cot, is a book or two down one end, and a soft toy that is a comforter and a little blanket.  These items then become part of your babies sleep associations.  If they are there when they fall asleep and there while they are asleep.  They become items that they then look for.

Babies sleep in 40 minute cycles at the end of the 40 minutes you typically hear them momentarily wake, grizzle, cry and it is at this stage that they are doing a quick check of where they are, is it the same place that I feel asleep and do i have the same things?  If not, they will quickly look for them, like a comforter toy, hold onto it and cuddle in and go back to sleep again for another 40 mins.  You don’t always hear them, sometimes it is silent.  Wait 5-10 minutes before you race in and check, chance are they will be back asleep by the time you get there.  This is how you get multiple sleep cycles.

Any little blanket or comforter you place in their cot after 12 months will become part of this.  And as you say, again on waking in the morning your baby will be quite happy to have an extra 10 minutes, playing in their cot quite happily.  This I believe is ideal, rather than them waking up and you running in immediately, having to play and wait a little sets the scene for an older child who wakes a little early and is happy to play and read a book quietly until the clock strikes the beginning of the day.  This is a great idea.

Be sure thought that under 12 months, a safe cot according to SIDS is one that has nothing but a fitted sheet.  Dress you baby to be warm or cool enough for the entire night of sleeping instead.  If you really need to use a blanket it can be tucked in down the bottom of the cot so their feet are against the bottom and they wont slip down and under.  No toys etc under 12 months.

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