Items such as white-noise mobiles, musical stuffed animals and baby sleepbags all may help get your baby to fall asleep, and stay asleep.
It’s a common new-parent problem. You’re a new parent, exhausted beyond belief, almost too tired to function. Your baby has been keeping you up late, refusing to fall asleep and crying well into the early hours of the morning. Or possibly they fall asleep only to awaken an hour later, making it impossible for you to get some much-needed rest. Adding a new baby to the family can be difficult enough without everyone suffering a lack of sleep. There’s probably a million and one different parenting theories in the world about how to get a child to sleep, but there’s certainly one thing all parents can agree on. When the baby sleeps better, you also sleep better.
So, what can you do to help your child get asleep and better yet, stay asleep? Read below for a few suggestions on accessories and toys to help your baby sleep great during nap time or at night.
Glider or Rocking Chair: A glider or a rocking chair provides comforting movement to your child, mimicking the rocking they experience while being held. Rocking chairs and gliders can be a vital part of your baby’s sleep routine; an important step towards developing your child’s healthy sleep habits. One of the keys to a good sleep routine is to establish a safe, calm, and quiet environment (and maintain this environment while they rest). Consider rocking while reading or while telling your child a soft, simple bedtime story.
Aromatherapy: Use scented sprays on your infant’s pillow or sleeping clothes, and apply scented creams or baby massage oils before bedtime to help relax your baby and let them fall asleep. These products typically include the scent of lavender, which induces relaxation by lowering heart rate and blood pressure. When shopping for a product, verify that it is meant to be used on infants, and that it is also safe for newborns.
Help Your Baby Get to Sleep
Noise Machine: Noise machines mimic shushing, provide white noise (such as fan noise), or even play a mother or father’s pre-recorded heartbeats. These machines can help block out external noise and provide comforting sounds to your infant while they fall asleep. When searching for a noise machine, search for items that have adjustable volume. It’s also important that it can be secured safely out of the way of your child (or can be taken out of the crib after the baby is asleep). You may also consider a machine that has a timer or can be shut off via app.
Stuffed animals: Soft, cuddly cute stuffed animals can provide comfort to your child, especially after you leave the room. The best stuffed animals for sleep play gentle music, and often contain soft but comforting glow lights inside. Many of them run on a self-timer and will shut off after a certain number of minutes (listed on the packaging, but often between five and ten). Consider keeping the toy close to you for several days until it has your scent, a proven comfort for babies. If you choose to purchase one of these stuffed animals, ensure you don’t have too many in the crib at one time. This might encourage the baby to play and cause your child further sleep problems.
Musical Mobiles: Mobile machines provide a gentle distraction while it blocks noises outside of the nursery. Mobiles often play music or produce noise (such as nature sounds or white noise), and some may even project comforting images onto a nearby wall. These products include not only the type of mobiles that hang over the crib, but also those that attach to the side of the crib or rest nearby on a nightstand or table.
Help Keep Your Baby Asleep
Positioning Aids: Positioning aids help keep the baby’s head and/or body in place, allowing your baby to maintain a comfortable (but stable) position throughout the night. Positioning aids include accessories such as sleeping wedges, sleep pods, sleep suits or sleep bags. All of these aids gently limit your child’s movement, ensuring they stay in the optimal position for the best sleep. The sleep bags and suits can also be used to swaddle a baby and maintain a consistent body temperature.
Neck Rests or Infant Pillows: Neck rests and pillows for infants help support the child’s head and neck, especially when taking a nap while sitting up. Neck rests may be used for infants, but if you’re considering a pillow, the National Institute of Child Health and Development recommends waiting until the baby is at least a year old before introducing a pillow. When purchasing one of these products, look for something that is machine-washable and easy to transport. This allows you to use it during nap time in various rooms or at night.
Help Your Baby’s Sleep Timing
Sleep Trackers: Knowing when your baby falls asleep, how long they stay asleep, and how long it takes them to doze off is valuable information for planning your daily routine. Aligning yourself with your baby’s optimal bedtime means a happier child overall. Working with your baby’s natural sleep pattern means your baby will fall asleep faster after putting them down, making them more likely to sleep through the night. The most complicated sleep trackers on the market track the baby’s sleep data and provide suggestions as to the best times to put your baby down to nap, sleep at night, and wake up. These products may involve a wearable tracker or an overhead camera. Some can also function off of sound and look like a typical baby monitor.
Ultimately there is no single, perfect solution to your baby’s sleep problems. With the assortment of available accessories, plenty of choices are out there. Products can be as simple as a security blanket with a music box, or as complicated as a noise machine that can be controlled by an app. What you choose will depend on you and your baby’s individual needs and wants. But by establishing a safe, calm, comforting environment for your baby to sleep in, as well as approaching any problems from a variety of angles, you can create an effective, natural sleep routine that is sure to have your baby (and you) sleeping soundly well into the night.
Author Bio: Sandy Getzky
Sandy Getzky is the executive coordinating editor at The Global Nail Fungus Organization, a group committed to helping the 100+ million people suffering from finger and toenail fungus. Sandy is also a registered Herbalist and member of the American Herbalist’s Guild.