Baby Essentials for Sleeping
Let’s talk baby sleep, because it’s the topic most likely to be on a new mom’s mind.
The major question for many moms, is how to get your baby to sleep better, and is there a magic product that can help soothe your baby into a blissful 12 hours of sleep?
Unfortunately, there really isn’t any one magic item that will fix your baby’s sleep habits.
There are, however, a few baby sleep product essentials that I recommend to everyone, and that seriously improved sleep for my two kiddos, and helped them eventually sleep through the night.
If you’re looking for the core strategies and advice for getting your baby to sleep better, as well as tips for getting your baby on a schedule, see this post, which covers all of those topics in detail.
So what are the things you should make sure you have for your newborn or infant to help them sleep their best life? There’s actually not a ton – so let’s get to it. Here are my top 5 must-have products to help your baby sleep.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using one of my links.
Baby Sleep Product #1: A Really Good Sleepsack
Ok, this may sound dramatic, but I’m so passionate about these things — if you buy nothing else for your newborn, buy them two sleepsacks. And yes, please make sure you buy at least two! You’ll want an extra as a backup for those middle of the night blowouts, so you can easily change baby and get them back to sleep asap.
Why Sleepsacks are a Must-Have Baby Sleep Aid
Outside of getting our babies used to a good sleep and eating schedule, sleepsacks and swaddles were probably the biggest factor in helping us get our kids to sleep well as infants.
Well, the main reason is because swaddling can help contain your baby’s startle reflex, which can in turn help prevent them from waking themself up in the middle of the night with the sudden jerky movements that happen because of their still developing nervous system.
Sleepsacks are also the perfect alternative to blankets (which are not recommended for infants at all), keeping them cozy at night as temperatures cool down.
Sleepsacks can also help keep your baby from getting their legs stuck in between the slats of a crib. Though this usually doesn’t happen often, the swaddle sleepsack is another tool to help keep your baby from doing this and waking in the middle of the night.
So which is the best sleepsack to help your baby sleep better? We tried what felt like every single one on the market as we struggled with getting our firstborn to sleep, and these were our favorites.
The Winner for Best Sleepsack:
Halo sleepsacks are one of the best ways to help your baby sleep, and are amazing for many reasons. The main reasons I (and my babies) love them, really boils down to three things.
1. Different Fabric Choices
Halos come in different fabrics to suit whichever climate you’re in, from lightweight muslin, to heavy fleece. Temperature can be a big factor in keeping your baby awake, or keeping them comfortable and asleep, so fabric can be pretty important.
We tended to stick to the 100% cotton version since we were able to regulate our house temp with A/C and heat.
2. Color and Pattern Choice
I’m a sucker for cute baby clothes, and these sleepsacks do not disappoint. There are tons of different patterns and colors to choose from.
3. Overall Adaptability and Configurations to Fit Your Baby
The main reason these sleepsacks edge out the others, is because of their ability to adapt to your baby’s preferences and change with them as they grow.
For example, the sleepsacks in the smaller sizes come with velcro wings that you can use to swaddle your baby’s arms, really helping to keep that startle reflex at bay, but also giving you flexibility to customize it to your baby’s wants.
Have a little one who likes to suck on their fingers? No problem – just swaddle them with arms up, and hands just above the edge of the swaddle, so they have easy access.
Have a Houdini who can seemingly bust out of any swaddle? Wrap them up nice and snug in this, with their arms down by their sides.
Or, do you have an infant who likes one hand free and one hand snug? That works too. You can also just wrap the velcro swaddle around their middle, and leave both hands completely free, while still giving them that snug feeling against their middle.
Other Great Sleepsacks and Swaddles to Try
- Love to Dream Swaddle Up – keeps baby’s arms enclosed but up near their face.
- SwaddleMe Pod – a good one to try with newborns; makes them look like a pea in a pod, because they’re completely enclosed in the swaddle.
Baby Sleep Product #2: White Noise Machine
A white noise machine is #2 on my list of most important tools that can help your baby sleep.
White noise helps to simulate just a bit of the noise your baby heard in the womb. Going from the constant soothing sounds of your heart and fluid surrounding them, to a very quiet nursery can be unsettling for newborns.
Enter the white noise machine!
The good part, is there are a ton of great options to suit different budgets. These are some of our favorite sound machines for kids:
1. Smartphone or Tablet App
If you have an old or extra phone or iPad to leave in your baby’s room, you can download one of many available free white noise apps.
We use the “White Noise Lite” app, and it works perfectly. This is normally what we’ll use when we’re traveling and don’t feel like bringing along our larger sound machines.
Related Reading: The Best New Mom Apps You’ll Want to Have
2. The Hatch
It grows with your child, going from a simple sound machine, to an “ok-to-wake” clock for your toddler. It’s completely customizable, allowing you to choose from several different sounds and colors, and letting you schedule when it turns on and off. Their customer service is also top-notch.
3. Portable Sound Machine
This little machine gets incredible reviews. We opted for the app instead, since we weren’t traveling too too much in the beginning, but this one is a great, portable white noise machine option to help your baby sleep on the go.
Baby Sleep Product #3: Blackout Curtains
Blackout curtains or shades can be a complete game changer. Though it’s good to try to get your baby used to sleeping in different atmospheres and different lighting, when it comes down to it, some babies really just love their dark, cool room, and blackout curtains help create a room that’s exactly that.
We have blackout curtains in our house that came with the home, so I don’t have a link for those, but Amazon has quite a few different brands that are highly rated. These have a ton of reviews and the majority rave about the curtains.
When we are in a temporary place or a rental without blackout curtains, we use these pleated blackout shades. They are inexpensive and do a really great job at blocking out light.
The only downside is they are not ideal for moving up during the day to let light in, so be prepared for a pretty consistently dark room.
Baby Sleep Product #4: A Noisy Fan
Fans are great for keeping the air moving and helping your baby stay comfortable at night, but they’re also a great white noise machine.
Box fans are usually the best when it comes to creating white noise, but I’m not crazy about using those once kids are mobile and can get too close.
So, we have these wall mount fans, and have been really happy with them. However, the price seems to be all over the place with this particular fan, so I would recommend this Tornado fan as a very similar, good alternative at also a good price.
In the end, any of these are great for providing just a little extra white noise for your kids’ rooms.
Baby Sleep Product #5: Pacifier
Pacifiers are a tricky one. They can be a great help with getting your baby to self-soothe, and they definitely come in handy if you’re trying to figure out how to soothe your baby without picking them up.
The downside is that pacifiers can easily become a sleep crutch, and they can be tough to manage when your baby isn’t old enough to pick it up and put it back in their mouth solo.
Basically, this means that if they use the paci to fall asleep (I don’t recommend this long-term), and it falls out and wakes them up, they will most likely start crying for you to come put the pacifier back in. Not a great situation to be in!
We did use two pacifiers though, in moderation, for both of our babies.
These are really helpful to have for your newborn. The nipple portion is pretty big, so it’s easier for them to suck on, and these are the pacifiers you’ll usually see used in hospitals.
We definitely used these during those first few weeks when my babies were extra fussy and adjusting to breastfeeding.
The wubbanub is our favorite pacifier, because it’s easy for baby to grab a hold of. The stuffed animal attached does double duty as a cute accessory, while also giving your little one something easy to grasp when they’re reaching for their paci. Our kids LOVED these.
So there you have it – there’s only five items on my baby sleep essentials list, but they are ones we really didn’t want to live without, and completely changed our babies’ sleep for the better.
What are the most helpful sleep products you’ve used for your babies?
Other Baby Sleep and Newborn Care Articles You May Like:
- How to Get Your Newborn to Sleep
- The Breastfeeding Tips All New Moms Should Know
- How to Help Your 2-4 Month Old Baby Sleep
- The Best Sleep Tips for Your 6-12 Month Old
- The Ultimate Guide to What Newborn Babies Actually Need
- The Best Products to Babyproof Your Home
- Diaper Bag Essentials: What to Pack in Your Diaper Bag for a Newborn