Oh, sleep. It’s a wonderful and rare thing after you have a baby. Luckily there are products available that can help you help your little one get some much-needed sleep. Here are my top must-have baby sleep products for newborns to 6-month-olds.
1. Safe Place to Sleep
When considering baby sleep products, the first thing baby needs is a safe place to sleep. You need to decide if you will do bed-sharing, have a co-sleeper, a bassinet, or have baby sleep in a crib. There are many different options to choose from.
One that I love and recommend is the co-sleeper from Snuggle Me Organic. What’s cool about the Snuggle Me is it’s the first and only baby lounger designed to hug. The center area of the lounger is unpadded and slightly suspended, so when you lay your baby on top of the unpadded space, the sides of the lounger will pull in, giving your baby the feeling of a sweet hug and snuggle.
The Snuggle Me’s tight torso fit contours to your baby’s head and torso while their legs will drape over the bottom end. This tight fit design ensures baby will stay safely on their back while lounging. This is an important design feature that sets the Snuggle Me apart from similar products.
We find that many parents are now looking for solutions that keep baby near to the parents, close and at hand in the same room, but in a safe space of their own. There are so many great options like this for you to choose from:
- Moses basket with a stand
- Halo bedside sleeper
- Sleep-safe stroller bassinet with a stand
- Travel crib with adjustable height mattress and bassinet attachment
- Happiest Baby Snoo Smart Bassinet
- Baby Bjorn Cradle
The quickest way to calm your little ones down when they are upset or restless is to hold them and emulate all the sensations baby felt while in the womb. One of those sensations is being tightly held in your uterus. The best way to mimic that snug feeling is by getting baby in a good swaddle.
As a postpartum doula who has helped hundreds of mothers with their newborns, I have never met a baby who didn’t like to be swaddled. Even when parents swore their baby didn’t like being swaddled. It’s all about swaddling the baby correctly, tightly, and finding the best swaddle for you and your baby. Also, by containing the arms in a snug swaddle, the Moro reflex is inhibited, which then avoids startling your sleeping baby awake. Longer stretches of sleep make babies and parents both happy. 🙂
A swaddle that I recently found that is really cool is the Swado. What makes their swaddle different is the patented Goodcatch fastening fabric they use, making it a silent swaddle. When I say silent, I mean that no zippers or velcro can wake or startle your baby when changing a diaper, etc. It’s a fuss-free, easy-to-do, silent swaddle.
You may want to look for a swaddle that can grow with your baby from both arms in, then transition from one arm out to both arms out for a great wearable blanket.
There are tons of great swaddles on the market, from stretchy muslin blankets for the pros to those that only require that you know how to work a zipper! Our advice is to buy 1 of a few different styles and see what works for your family before ordering more! Here are some of our favorites:
- Nested Bean weighted swaddle
- aden + anais silky soft swaddle blankets
- The Miracle Blanket
- SwaddleMe velcro swaddles
And, remember, once baby is rolling over, you’ll need to transition from the swaddle to a sleep sack for older babies. Here are some of our recommendations:
- Love to Dream zip-up transition swaddle
- Halo SleepSack multi-way swaddle
- Lightweight muslin sleep sack
- Halo SleepSack for early walkers
3. Sound Machine
You may not know this, but it’s very loud in utero. While you were pregnant, your baby heard your heart pump blood, your lungs inhaling and exhaling, your voice as you spoke, the blood rushing through your veins, and food and gases being passed through your body. This is why dull loud noises will lull your baby to sleep. Instead of running the vacuum or your hairdryer to calm baby to sleep, some awesome white noise sound machines can help. A few that I recommend are the Hatch Baby Rest, Marpac’s Dohm. Or if you’re on the go, the Marpac Hushh or the Baby Shusher. A sound machine is on every sleep consultant’s baby sleep products must-haves list.
4. Black Out Curtains
It is essential to establish day and night with your newborn. They need to learn that we are awake and play when it’s light out and go to sleep when it’s dark. Sleeping in the dark helps produce the hormone melatonin, which helps regulate night and day cycles or sleep-wake cycles. Keeping baby’s room dark will help your baby sleep better, so getting some good blackout curtains can help create a good sleep environment for your baby. Here’s a good set if you don’t have some already.
The sucking reflex helps babies calm down and stay calm. Thumb sucking or pacifier sucking lowers the heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels. Also, it reduces crying after shots and blood tests. Once you have baby snuggly swaddled, white noise playing, the lights down low, and a pacifier in their mouth, this can dramatically help soothe an upset baby and help them drift off to sleep. A few good ones are Natursutten, MAM, Avent, or Wubbanubs.
Babies love motion. When they were in the womb, they were rocked to sleep by your movement every day. This is why they fall asleep when being held and rocked in your arms or when you drive around in the car. A baby swing can become your baby’s (and your) new best friend. I must mention that baby swings are not made for sleep, so it’s not recommended that baby sleep in a swing unless you are awake and close by. If it’s daytime and baby naps in the swing, there is no need to wake your baby if you’re keeping an eye on your little one. So many parents swear by them. Two that are great are the Fischer Price swing and the 4moms mamaRoo.
7. Sleep Book
I recommend reading a baby sleep book (or two) before baby is born to determine your family plan for baby’s sleep. There are so many methods out there. For example, Baby Whisperer, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, The No-Cry Sleep Solution, The Baby Sleep Book, and The SleepEasy Solution. Do your research and have a game plan for your baby’s sleep routine.
8. Lotion or Oil
Infant massage is a great way to help baby relax and get ready for sleep. Many parents prefer a non-scented lotion or oil to avoid any possible allergic reactions, chemicals, or dangerous fragrances used inside scented lotions or oils. Good lotions that I recommend for babies are Earth Mama and California Baby. For good massage oils, I recommend coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or sunflower seed oil.
9. Essential Oils
Several essential oils are great for promoting sleep for babies. They are Lavender, Vetiver, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Bergamont, Sandlewood, Marjoram, and Cedarwood. Choose one or two as a combination and diffuse a few drops in baby’s room. It can help baby get into the perfect state of relaxation and peaceful sleep.
10. Baby Monitor
These next two products are more for you than for baby. It’s reassuring to see and hear baby breathing deeply and sleeping peacefully. It’s also good to know when they wake up and need you. You can see if something is wrong, if they are looking for their pacifier or hungry. Getting a baby monitor with night vision and two-way communication is a wonderful tool. The monitors that I love are from Motorola, Eufy, Nest, and VAVA.
We used the Owlet on our son, and I cannot tell you enough how much it helped me and my husband sleep easier at night. This is one of my favorite baby sleep products. It was great knowing that we had the Owlet “watching” our son as we all got sleep. Tons of parents have said the same. It’s a wearable monitor that tracks your baby’s oxygen levels and heart rate and alerts you if either goes outside the range of normal. I can’t recommend it enough. Check it out here.
Here’s to better nights and better naps! 🙂 Let us know if there are any other baby sleep products that helped your little one!