We all know that babies end up acquiring all sort of “stuff.” I know it is hard to imagine that someone so small could need so many things. The truth is, they actually need very little but as they get older, there are certain inventions of the modern world that can make your life easier and certainly help your little one to get a few more of those zzzzzz’s needed to help retain all the memories being made, boost immune function and, in general, grow. As Chicago’s only Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, I am often asked about the products that I recommend to my clients. Here is a list of my some of my favorite sleep related products.
White noise is very soothing to children of all ages but particularly babies. The sound of rough, rumbly white noise promotes sleep and stimulates breathing. It actually turns on their calming reflex. I recommend using either a continuously repeating app or actual white noise machine (like this one) to provide background noise that can drown out noisy siblings or just provide relief from the silence that babies are not accustomed to sleeping in. I would discourage you from using a toy like the Sleep Sheep that turns itself off after 45 minutes. Often your child will wake up when the noise stops.
The Rock n Play: Before your baby was born, it is likely that you put great thought into where your child would sleep. Maybe you spent hours shopping for the perfect crib, only to bring your baby home from the hospital and learn that he doesn’t really like sleeping in it. Fear not, eventually your child will sleep in their crib (if that is your goal) but sleeping flat is often overrated in the early months. Instead, babies are often more comfortable sleeping at more of an angle. The Fisher-Price Rock n Play is a great solution to those sleepless nights of trying to get your baby to sleep in his crib. I find may parents are using the Rock n Play instead of a bassinet.
The Woombie: This is a foolproof way to swaddle your baby. It is essentially a snug sleeping bag that you zip up around your baby. There is no escaping it but it does allow for mobility of the arms and legs inside the sac while muffling those startles that wake your baby. The makers of the Woombie just came out with a design that allow you to transition your baby to arms free when your child is ready.
Love to Swaddle Up: This is one of my favorite swaddling products because it allows your child to have their arms up. They also offer a product that they call 50/50 that allows you to unswaddle them one arm at a time when you are ready to make the transition out of the swaddle. This type of swaddling product give your baby plenty of ability to move around while still helping them feel the pressure and comfort that the swaddle offers.
Pacifier products: Newborn babies are always losing their pacifiers. Until a baby is close to 8 months old, they don’t often have enough manual dexterity and fine motor coordination to put the pacifier back in their mouth. Here are a few great pacifier products that have a blanket or an animal attached to them so that your child is able to hold onto the animal and keep the paci in or even replace it on their own.
I strongly encourage the families I work with to introduce a security object to their child. The age of your child, their ability to roll and overall strength will determine what sort of security object to introduce. If your baby is less than 6 months and you are concerned about a small blankie ending up over their face, you can tie a knot in it so that it is more of an object and less of a blankie. I love these blankies from Aden and Anais because they come in a 2-pack and also any of the ones found here. For tips on how to introduce a security object and helping your baby become attached to their blankie, check out this article.
Once your child becomes a toddler and is on the way to developing a strong awareness of the world around him, this is also be a time when your child can begin to think it is a good idea to wake up earlier than you would like or is good for him. While there are several causes of early rising, this can be also be a challenge because children who are too young to tell time often don’t understand that even though the sun is up outside, it is not time to wake up. I would strongly encourage you to ensure that your child’s room is dark, even when it is light outside. This will help at bedtime and also in the early hours of the morning when the sun rises before 6am. In addition, there are a few really great behavioral modification clocks that can help your child understand when it is time to go to sleep and when it is time to wake up. My favorite is the Good Nite Lite. Others that will work are My Tot Clock and OK to Wake.