Blankets, Swaddles & Sleep Sacks
Blankets – Your blankets will get poop, pee and spit up on them, so you’ll like having a lot. I’m a huge fan of the lightweight muslin baby blankets. They are breathable, slightly stretchy and have multiple uses: swaddling, tummy time, nursing cover, blankets, etc. You will use these for many years. There are so many great brands with adorable patterns. *Registry Tip: You will likely receive a lot of blankets that are not on your registry, either at your shower or after baby arrives. For this reason, I recommend limiting the number you put on your registry.*
Swaddles – You will probably swaddle your baby for the first few months. Specific swaddles are not essential because the muslin blankets work great, but it is very nice to have a few that make swaddling easier in those early sleep-deprived days. Everyone will have an opinion on their favorite swaddle blanket. Your baby may be picky and prefer one type over another, so this is another thing I suggest not getting too many of one kind before your baby arrives. *Registry Tip: Register for a variety of types, to see what you and your baby prefer.* There are so many great ones, here are just a few to look at:
•Summer Infant SwaddleMe Pod: A zipper swaddle for newborns (up to 12 pounds). It makes swaddling easy.
•Woombie: Another zip swaddle! They make one for 0-3 months and 3-6 months.
•ErgoPouch Cocoon: This is a breathable swaddle that transitions to a swaddle when your baby is ready.
•Love to Dream Swaddle: It’s often natural for babies sleeping on their backs to have their hands up. This one allows for that position.
•Miracle Blanket: This is a popular one that makes swaddling easy. It allows for a sung swaddle without velcro or a zipper.
•Summer Infant SwaddleMe: A very easy (and more affordable) swaddle. The only con is that the velcro is noisier than a zipper. If you have a touchy baby, you may want to avoid velcro.
•Ergobaby Swaddle: This one is designed to keep baby’s hands over their heart and the hips in an ergonomic position. You can easily pull the legs out for late-night diaper changes!
Wearable Blankets, aka Sleep Sacks – Wearable blankets, also known as sleep sacks, are great to have once you stop swaddling. They aren’t a the suffocation hazard like regular blankets during the first year or so. I find them useful for as long as your baby is in the crib because they can’t kick this off like they can a regular blanket. Here are just a few good ones:
In Between Swaddles and Blankets
Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit (~$40) It is in the title: MAGIC. This really is magical. You start to use it when your baby is about 3-months-old and until they are able to roll over in it. It’s for back sleeping only! This magical sleepsuit is cozy and helps muffle their natural startle reflex and allows your baby to sleep better. It is perfect to use when you are transitioning your baby out of the swaddle.
If you live in a small apartment, this probably isn’t necessary. But if your place is bigger or has multiple levels, it is nice to have. Ask yourself these questions: Do you want an audio only monitor, video monitor or a motion (SIDS) monitor? If going with a video monitor, do you want to be able to view your baby from your phone? Do you want to be able to view when you are not at your house?
The pictured video monitors are arranged from the lowest to highest price. This is based on the average price on Amazon, but note that this price changes occasionally.
1. Uses a dedicated monitor unit; temperature display; can pair up to 4 cameras
2. Uses a dedicated monitor unit; remote pan/tilt/zoom; temperature display; 2-way communication
3. Uses a dedicated monitor unit; remote pan/tilt/zoom; temperature display; 2-way communication; remote camera movement; multi-camera support
4. Uses smartphone for display/monitor unit; 2-way communication; shows breathing rate and receive alert if breathing appears to change
5. Uses smartphone for display/monitor unit; 2-way communication; temperature display; tracks sleep
6. Uses smartphone for display/monitor unit; 2-way communication; temperature display; tracks breathing and sleep patterns;
Indoor Security Cameras Turned Video Baby Monitors
With our first and second babies, we set this camera up in our network to work on our iDevices. It’s cheaper, but you do need someone who is a tech savvy to set it up. I liked that we could put multiple cameras on one app and view both kids at the same time on our iPhones, from our house, and when away. Note: We have it on our internal network with multiple changing passwords so it won’t be hacked like those ones you may have heard about.
When our third baby came, the previous cameras had both crashed, so went ahead and got this one. It is much easier to set up! I like the design and that in addition to viewing it on my phone, I can also use our Google Home Hub.
Movement and SIDS Reduction Monitors
A movement monitor or oxygen/heart monitor is not a necessity. Go with your gut here and decide what level of monitoring will be ideal for you. If you are a worrier and must know at all times that baby is okay in order for you to sleep, this is worth the purchase. If you sleep better without all this extra information to think about, don’t spend the money! Personally, I’m paranoid about SIDS and the people who create the monitors are definitely profiting from my anxiety. Many of my friends think it is way too much information and it would just give them something extra to worry about when they don’t need to.
Owlet Sock Monitor: This is not a video or audio monitor. It tracks heart-rate and oxygen levels. This sock monitor will notify you if anything seems wrong with your baby’s heart rate or oxygen level.
Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor: This monitor alerts you if no movement is detected for 20 seconds.
White Noise, Nightlights and Soothers
Your newborn is used to loud “shhh” noises from being inside the womb. White noise can provide comfort and help your baby sleep. Many (possibly even most or all) sleep consultants recommend white noise to help your baby sleep.
I have read about the negative impacts of always using white noise for sleep. Among those: the baby doesn’t learn to sleep through other noises, and they become addicted to the white noise. If your baby isn’t sleeping well you will do ANYTHING to get him/her to sleep! You can worry about gradually getting them used to sleeping without it later. A legitimate concern is that the white noise can damage their ears. Loud noise can cause hearing loss over time. Keep the sound on low if it is close to their head. I downloaded a decibel reader on my phone and measure the white noise there before leaving it with my baby for too long. Check out safe sound levels from the CDC here.
Portable Sound Machines
Hushh: This comes highly recommended. It is great for portability. It plays constant white noise, and can play all night on a single charge. I keep this one in our diaper bag for when we need a nap and we aren’t home. Just be sure not to have the volume all the way up if it is next to your baby. It has a little nightlight and a child lock.
Sleep Sheep or Alligator with Sensor: This does not play all night, so I don’t recommend it as a source of constant white noise. When it shuts off, it may wake a light sleeper. But we love this as a way to soothe a baby who does not need constant white noise if they start crying in the middle of the night. It plays the soothing sound of your choice for either 23 or 45 minutes. It has a sound-activated sensor that automatically restarts its soothing white noise when the baby startles or cries. Often the sound-activated white noise got our first two babies back to sleep before we got up to comfort them! Not everyone loves the sensor because they think it is too sensitive or not sensitive enough, but it is like $5 more than the one without and you have the option to turn the sensor off. If your baby needs constant white noise, or is a light sleeper that will wake when the sound turns off, this is not the sound machine for you.
Baby Shusher: The Baby Shusher is a good thing to have on the go, in case your little one takes a nap in the stroller somewhere and you need to drown out the noise. It has a 15 – 30 minute timer.
Smartphone apps: When necessary, we just use an old iPod touch (in airplane mode) with a white noise app.
Hatch Baby Rest Night Light, Sound Machine and Time-to-Rise: This 3-in-1 product (night light, sound machine and time-to-rise) grows with your child and can be controlled with your phone!
Project Nursery Sound Machine with Nightlight (Lion)
REMI Child Sleep Companion: This helps create an ideal sleep environment for your child. It evolves with your child and is helpful for children through age ten. It’s a nightlight, clock, sleep trainer, walkie-talkie, and music player all in one.
Dreamweaver Smart Night Light & Sound Soother with Bluetooth
QuickZip Crib Sheet: Changing the crib sheet is a pain in the ass, so if your baby has frequent or excessive blowouts or spit-ups you may want to look into. If you are changing the sheet after a midnight blowout or stomach bug, this would be helpful!
Note: Having 3-4 crib sheets is a sufficient number for most babies.
Other Sleep Stuff
The Aden + Anais Bed in a Bag is a wonderful alternative to the wearable blanket once your baby is old enough that a blanket is not a suffocation hazard – around 1 or 1½-years-old. It will fit a crib or toddler bed. The flat and fitted sheet are connected at the bottom to prevent your child from kicking the sheet off the bed.