It is a truth commonly acknowledged that getting a baby to sleep is a difficult task. Except for when you don’t want them to, of course. They’ll fall asleep in the car, while nursing, in their swing – but not at bedtime or naptime. This is the frustration that all parents experience at least to some degree! My little one does many things well, but sleeping is not one of those things. I’m afraid she probably has a severe case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out!) so she tries to stay awake to get in on the action. So I’m one of those parents that have researched the plethora of ideas on how to get your baby to sleep. I even wrote a post about what I thought was most helpful to keep in mind, Baby Sleep Tips, and this post is about products you can purchase (or inherit, or borrow) that may help your baby (and you!) as you go through this journey/battle together.
Each of these products has proven helpful for my baby to get to sleep, but this is not an exhaustive list. For example, I know that swaddles are a huge thing with newborn babies – but my baby hated being constricted in any way, so I am not going to pretend to be the expert on swaddles! This post does contain affiliate links to products that I personally own or have researched so that if you do decide to purchase these, you’re just one click away from doing so!
1. Sleep Sheep/Sound Machine
This little guy is magic! We got him when Lilly was about 7 months old and it completely changed our naptime – which was basically non-existent before this blessed sheep came along. Lilly now takes two 1-2 hour naps every day, and that began as soon as we started using the Sleep Sheep! Now, you really can use any kind of sound machine, but I like the Sleep Sheep better for a number of reasons. He’s got a strap so that you can attach him anywhere, and he just looks like a stuffed animal that you can throw into the wash, once you separate the electronic part! Also, he’s on the lower end of cost for sound machines, and has several options for sound. It does run on batteries (AA) and can eat up about two a month, but it’s so worth it! The best thing I love about the Sleep Sheep is that you can set the sound to run for 30 or 45 minutes before it cuts off. Babies will generally wake up from a nap 30 minutes in, but if you can get them past that mark they may sleep for another hour or so. With the Sleep Sheep set to 45 minutes, Lilly knows to go back to sleep when she wakes up after a half hour!
2. Sleep Sack
Sleep Sacks work especially well for babies who dislike swaddles (like mine), but still like to feel warm and snug when they sleep. Generally these are used when a child can no longer be wrapped in a swaddle, usually around 4-5 months of age (whenever they are able to roll over it becomes dangerous for them to be swaddled). I think putting a sleep sack on is a great way to signal to your baby that it’s bedtime or naptime without having to completely change their diaper and clothes beforehand. Also, sleep sacks are supposed to be loose, so even though they do come in different sizes, there’s no need to buy one for every month of life. Just buy 2-3 so you can always have one that’s clean. 🙂
This is also something I wish I had gotten Lilly earlier rather than later. Babies love to grab and cuddle things to go to sleep and be comforted. It wasn’t until Lilly kept yanking and grabbing at my hair every time I put her to bed that I really understood this fact; she wasn’t trying to rip out my hair, she was just trying to be comforted.
I absolutely love this one lovey that Lilly has, because the bunny’s ears are so long and are her favorite thing to grab a hold of. It’s also gender-neutral but very cute.
This may seem like a no-brainer but some parents don’t think children should have pacifiers when they go to sleep. This is another way for your baby to self-soothe! My little one now knows the pacifier will not give her milk, but the sucking movement is comforting to infants, and she really only uses her pacifier when she feels she needs it (which is generally just naptime and bedtime!). Use a pacifier clip to clip it onto your baby while she sleeps so she can find it if she wakes up in the night!
5. Blackout Curtains
I never knew how much my child needed complete darkness to sleep in until we temporarily moved her into a room with no windows to sleep in for a few days. She slept so well during that time! Usually we think children are afraid of the dark and may need a night-light, or the door cracked, but babies generally need complete darkness. They haven’t learned to be afraid of the dark yet, and it was quite dark for the first nine months of their life! I thought at first that blackout curtains had to be thick and black, but to my pleasant surprise there is a nice array of blackout curtains of many colors to choose from! Here is my favorite set found on Amazon:
So that’s that! Please let me know in the comments if you have any other products you’ve used that have proven helpful in getting your little to sleep (ahem, swaddles anyone?). Sweet Dreams!