My biggest fear about having a baby was the fear of losing sleep. In fact, it absolutely petrified me. This fear, quite frankly, is a huge part of why I waited until I was 33 to have a baby. I had heard horror stories of the cluster feeders, and co-sleepers, cat nappers and refluxers. I had heard the misery bleed from their mother’s words as they made light of their exhaustion. I watched friends and relatives age 5 years in 6 months. I’ve suffered chronic migraine for the past 8 years. I know my triggers; disrupted sleep and stress. A bad sleeper would break me.
I got lots and lots of advice about baby sleep hygiene while I was pregnant. Most of it I can’t even remember, never mind regurgitate. However, there was one piece of advice that I am so glad I followed: Have baby sleep in her crib from day one.
I know this isn’t what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends. I’m usually a golden girl of AAP rule following. But this one encouraging parents to room share for a minimum of 6 months up to a year…I call bullshit. The AAP believes room sharing decreases the risk of SIDS. I’m sure it does…..because when you’re room sharing with a newborn/infant, no one is really getting good sleep. So mom or dad is more likely to wake frequently and notice something is wrong when it’s wrong. Anyway…the hubs and I devised our own solution to preventing SIDS (more on that further down).
So here I am, a year into motherhood, and praise the Lord….I have a good sleeper! Every family out there is going to do what they need to do to keep baby safe, and to make sure everyone is getting the sleep they need. So my “good sleeper baby bundle” definitely won’t be the answer for everyone. I just have such a great sleeper I wanted to share the products that I love.
As previously mentioned, the absolute best pre-baby advice I got was to have baby sleep in her crib from day one home from the hospital (all naps and nighttime sleep – this of course is only appropriate if you are bringing home a completely healthy newborn). I didn’t even register for a cradle or co-sleeper. Instead, we set up the nursery with a SUPER comfy rocker-recliner and a TV. Sure, having baby in bed with you or directly next to you makes nursing super convenient. But newsflash….babies are incontinent. So chances are you’ll be climbing out of bed to change a nappy a few times a night anyway. Another little newsflash….newborns are noisy little buggers! They snort and grunt and squeak and have an alarmingly irregular breathing pattern (totally normal by the way). Like I said above, no one is sleeping well with a newborn in the room! We put baby in her crib from day one, and never once regretted it.
Okay, so on to the product list:
- Video monitor with night vision. We used the Anmeate Monitor found on Amazon. Not only was it inexpensive (around $75), but it has a great battery life, good range, two way microphone, temperature gauge and decent resolution. It also has a zoom feature, which is great for a psycho like me who wants to see that their baby is breathing. You can find this baby monitor here
- Owlet Smart Sock. The Owlet in combination with the video monitor became our work around on the APP recommendation to room share. As a nurse, I used to love when my patients were on a heart monitor during night shift. I could sit at the nurses’ station and see right there on our screen that they were alive. The poor souls who weren’t on heart monitors were frequently startled awake to find me standing in their dark room staring at them to assure they were breathing. Yeah, I’m a creep. But heck, my patients were always alive when I clocked out! Anyway…This little treasure paired with the video monitor made my fears of SIDS practically vanish. Between being able to see my baby on the monitor screen plus see her heart rate and oxygen saturation on my phone, I rested easy at night. I love this product so much, that I donate to Knox Blocks, a charity that works to put an Owlet on every baby. For every smart sock purchased by the charity, Owlet donates an additional unit. So if you simply cannot afford this device, it may be worthwhile to fill out an application to see if Knox Blocks will help you. You can visit Knox Blocks Foundation here. I would also ask those in a position to make charitable contributions to consider donating to Knox Blocks Foundation. Their mission is an important one. Anyway….The unit is pricey, but I’ve recently learned that you can use an HSA/FSA to purchase it or finance it thru the Owlet website here. It makes for a great “group gift” on your shower registry.
- Sound machine. We use one with a white noise option. The ocean sounds were whimsical at first, but eventually became torture. The only advice I have for picking a sound machine, is to make sure the sound is continuous and not limited to a timer. You also want to find one that is small and has the option to plug in or use batteries. This device has been a god send when traveling. It helps recreate baby’s home sleeping environment, so ya know….she actually sleeps while we’re vacationing! We purchased the The Big Red Rooster sound machine here.
- “Cocoon Style Swaddles”. I say “cocoon style”, meaning a pouch with a zipper. No flaps, straps, wraps or Velcro. Sleep experts all over the world will tell you to swaddle your little human for as long as they display a moro reflex (startle reflex). Newborn sleep cycles are only about 15-20 minutes. With the end of a sleep cycle, most babies under 4 months will “startle” awake, and or start clawing at their face. Whatever it is they do, if they’re not in a baby straight jacket, chances are they’re going to wake up and do something to themselves that induces crying. I swaddled our baby girl until she was 5 months old. I stopped when she learned to roll over and/or break out of the swaddle. But the break outs were few and far between because I discovered the Woombie. Holy hell ballz. If I could buy stock in the Woombie brand I would! I’m sad that it took me a few months to discover their products. But I sure am glad I did. I particularly liked the Convertible Woombie designed for transitioning to arms out sleeping. It has snaps to keep the arm holes closed until you’re ready, and it worked great for us. The quality of this product was also fantastic. It held up to MANY washes and remained in like new condition. I recommend shopping and purchasing directly from Woombie here. Although I’m an absolute whore for Amazon Prime, I found selection and sizing to be much better on the Woombie website.
- Pajammie ZipSuits. Here’s another product I would buy stock in if I could. I was originally turned on to Kickee Pants pajamas by a co-worker who shower gifted a pair to us. But with a baby who was growing out of pajamas every 5 weeks, $40 a pop got harder and harder to swallow. So I started looking around, and I found Pajammie Zipsuits. These lovely little duds have fold over hand mitts (up to size 12 mo), fold over feeties and a two way zipper. Add super soft organic cotton and bamboo viscose fabric, and you’ve got your all day everyday baby outfit. My kid literally lives in these. They’re warm, they’re cool, they’re whatever you want them to be. The fold back feeties are especially great for toddlers; no bunched up fabric to trip on. And the two way zipper makes diaper changes an absolute breeze. These jam jam’s are generously sized, so my gigantic child has managed to wear the same size for almost 4 months now. I’d also add that theyre of fantastic quality. They’ve held up to lots and lots of washing, drying and bleaching. I feel like these are structurally bulletproof. You can find zipsuits here.
So that’s what I’ve got for product recommendations. I’d like to just add quickly that products alone are not going to make your baby a good sleeper. Some babies are naturally good sleepers. Some babies are naturally nocturnal demons committed to your demise. I’m a one and done stay at home mom that had the time and the resources to commit to sleep training (which doesn’t work for everyone). I understand not every parent or family can accommodate their lives around a baby’s nap and bedtime schedule. But these products definitely made our lives easier, and definitely helped us get good sleep as well. Ultimately, I just want to help all you tired mama’s and papa’s out there get some good rest for yourselves!