How to Create the Perfect Sleep Environment for your baby
Simple tricks and products to help your baby sleep
You’ve read all the pregnancy books and shopped all the aisles at your local baby boutique, but what products are essential to help your baby begin sleeping through those long stretches at night? Hi, I’m Lauren Olsen, certified Sleep Specialist with Sleep & the City, and I’m highlighting some of my top “Must-Have” products featured on TheTot.com to create the ideal sleeping environment for your little one! And just for Tot Readers, I’m including some of my secret sleep tips to help your child ‘sleep like a baby’.… So let’s get started!
By month two, a healthy full-term baby is capable of 4-6 hour stretches at night, and by month three, some parents will see that stretch up to 6-10 hours. What’s the BEST possible way to achieve this? By placing your infant to sleep in the same sleep environment (a crib, dock, bassinet, nursery, etc.) for at least one nap a day, if not for all naps and night sleeps. Ultimately, if desire your baby to sleep in a crib once they’ve grown out of their bassinet, I love the Oeuf Classic Crib in Walnut, which gives your room or nursery a clean yet timeless look, and matches nearly every decor option. This crib has a solid wood base, three adjustable heights as baby grows, and features non-toxic finishes so you can rest assured that your baby is sleeping safely.
Note: The AAP now recommends that infants sleep in their parent’s room or under parental supervision at night up until 12 months, and always placing baby to sleep on their back
This recommendation isn’t only to prevent leakage from a full diaper, but also to protect baby from breathing harmful toxins that emit from many store brand mattresses. Organic mattresses are always encouraged, but could be slightly more than you’re willing to spend, so I always suggest covering a crib mattress with a mattress cover to reduce allergic reactions and ultimately keep baby’s air cleaner at night. The Puregrace Crib Mattress Protector is a wonderful option. It’s completely hypoallergenic, and wicks away moisture. This option is a safe yet luxurious option, but it won’t cost you more than a box of your favorite diapers.
The Dockatot is probably one of the most talked-about sleep products in your Mommy group, and for good reason. Creating a consistent sleep environment is key to longer naps and for connecting sleep cycles seamlessly at night. The Dock provides the perfect sleep environment that you can move around with you during the day (or even while traveling!) I receive weekly calls from parents looking for advice on this innovative product and let me assure you: you won’t be disappointed! The Dock is not only eco-friendly, breathable and portable (hello naps on vacation, finally!!) but serves as a perfect place for your child to learn independent and healthy sleep habits while feeling safe AND secure. This product can also double as a safe play area for baby to practice tummy time while acclimating themselves with their nursery.
White noise is imperative in your baby’s nursery to block out unsolicited noises such as Dad leaving in the morning or your neighbor’s barking dog. A portable white noise option like The Baby Shusher, is highly desired among my clients because of its portability, similar to the Dockatot, you can take the Baby Shusher on vacation or to Grandma’s house for the afternoon. Parents can introduce white noise as early as birth, which is helpful to keep infants sleeping more soundly (due to mimicking sounds of the womb) or to help calm a fussy baby.
And finally… The sleep sack
There are some great pajama outfits out there, but in warmer climates babies can be uncomfortable in more than a onesie and swaddle/sleep sack. The Kyte Baby brand has beautiful sleep sack options that will keep your baby cool but comfortable, and can be the perfect solution for when your infant is ready to transition out of his or her swaddle. The bamboo-rayon hypo-allergenic fabric used on the Kyte Baby sleep sacks is also ideal for children with sensitive skin or eczema, as these conditions can commonly cause irritation while sleeping in scratchier fabrics. The Sleep Sack provides a cozy sleep option without the use of blankets, and can prevent baby from becoming overheated at night.
In the end, always be sure to use my ‘Sleep and the City’ rules for successful sleep shaping:
- The same sleeping environment is encouraged (meaning use one place over and over, or to start, at least, let your baby have at least one nap in the desired sleep place per day). We LOVE the Dockatot Grand for my toddlers to achieve this no matter where we are!
- Swaddle (0-6 months) for nighttime and nap times as needed; we love how easy this is with the Little Unicorn or LouLou Lollipop Swaddles; use a Sleep Sack thereafter
- Comfy outfits for nap time (who wants to sleep in tight pants or a dress?!) We love pajamas from Roberta Roller Rabbit
- White noise is continuously running; a one with low rumbling is best from Baby Shusher
- Room is completely dark for naps & nighttime (nightlight over 2+ years ok)
- Understand the wake windows by age (download at sleepandthecity.com)
- Pause before rushing in to see if child can resettle on their own first if nap is less than 45 minutes
- Feed upon WAKING from sleep, not before (bedtime is the exception)
For more professional Baby & Toddler Sleep Ideas and Help, visit sleepandthecity.com