How to Create the Perfect Sleep Environment For Your Baby
Sleep specialist Lauren Olsen shares simple tips and tricks to help your baby sleep (so you can, too).
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 those long stretches at night after they arrive? As a certified sleep specialist with Sleep and the City, 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!
A solid and sustainable crib
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 to 6–10 hours. The best possible way to achieve this? Placing your infant to sleep in the same sleep environment for at least one nap a day, if not for all naps and night sleep. If you want your baby to sleep in a crib once they’ve grown out of their bassinet, I recommend 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 assure that your baby is sleeping safely.
Crib mattress cover
Crib mattress covers not only prevent leakage from a full diaper, but also protect baby from breathing harmful toxins that emit from many store-brand mattresses. Organic mattresses are always encouraged, but can 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 keep baby’s air cleaner at night. The Naturepedic Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector is a wonderful option, completely hypoallergenic, and wicks away any possible moisture that comes in contact with it. This option is a safe yet luxurious, and won’t cost you more than a box of your favorite diapers.
This product is arguably one of the most talked-about sleep products in your mommy group, and for good reason. Creating a consistent sleep environment is the key to longer naps, connecting sleep cycles seamlessly at night, and the Dock 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, but also 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 to the nursery.
White noise helps 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. 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 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. Malabar Baby has beautiful sleep bag 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 100% natural cotton fabric used on Dreamland sleep bags is also ideal for children with sensitive skin or eczema, as these conditions can commonly cause irritation while sleeping in scratchier fabrics. The Sleep Bag 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.
- Swaddle (0–6 months) for nighttime and nap times as needed.
- Comfy outfits for nap time.
- White noise is continuously running.
- Room is completely dark for naps & nighttime (nightlight over 2+ years is okay).
- 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.