As you teach your baby to get into a healthy sleep schedule, consider these seven things as your fundamentals for sleep-through-the-night success.
BLACK-OUT CURTAINS Why it’s worth the splurge: “A baby’s sleep/wake cycle begins to regulate starting three to four months,” says Gabrielle Weil, sleep coach and consultant. You can help set the mood for naps and night sleep by shutting down sunlight with black-out curtains. Tip: Make it a part of your winding down routine to have you and baby say “good night” to the world outside as you close the curtains before putting the baby down to sleep.
HIGHLY ABSORBENT DIAPERS Why it’s worth the splurge: Sleep is so precious for both you and your baby, so you want to make sure there are as minimal interruptions as possible. Having baby wear highly absorbent diapers means fewer chances of you having to go in for mid-nap or early morning nappy changes. Tip: Cut costs by only using highly absorbent diapers during naps and night time. You can use regular diapers/pull-ups during baby’s active awake time.
BUTTON-UP FOOTED SLEEPSUITS Why it’s worth the splurge: Unbuttoning snaps in a single suit makes for quicker nappy changes at night. You don't have to take off the baby’s pajamas then unbutton his onesie just to get to the actual diaper. Footed sleep suits also make sure baby’s feet are nice and warm throughout the night. You also don't need to worry about the baby kicking off his/her socks mid-sleep.
PACIFIER Why it’s worth the splurge:Pacifier use during naps or nighttime can prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Pacifiers are inexpensive, but it’s worth going for one that is orthodontic (so it has fewer chances of ruining your baby’s teeth), or one that glows in the dark (so the baby can easily find it when she needs to soothe herself). There are also fun ones that have a stuffed toy attached, so it doubles as a plaything when your baby outgrows the pacifier. Tip: Make sure to read the labels and get one that is age-appropriate. It will also be best to wean your child from pacifier use before the age of 2 to prevent tooth troubles.
LOVEY Why it’s worth the splurge: A lovey is "transitional object" brings comfort to your child when he is about to sleep. It can literally be a blanket or a soft toy like an animal head attached to a blanket. Something soft and warm like a lovey helps a baby feel secure even without mom and dad around. Some babies grow up attached to their loveys, which experts say is a healthy part of a toddler’s emotional development. A lovey can be a stuffed toy Tip: Look for loveys with tags and silicone teethers attached; some even have rattles and hooks. These multi-function loveys help baby learn to amuse him/herself and be secure in independent play.
TEETHING REMEDIES* Why it’s worth the splurge: Even if you’ve sleep-trained your baby, he is likely to go through a period of fussy sleep when teething. The first two teeth are said to cause the most anxiety, but it’s a different kind of pain -- for both mom and baby -- when molars are coming out. Every mom must have her arsenal of safe remedies to take the bite out of teething. We swear by chilled teethers, chamomile granules, and Baltic amber teething bead because I want to use infant paracetamol only as a last resort. (Editor's note: We must advise caution on teething beads. These are supposed to be worn; they are not to be chewed. It can be a choking hazard if the necklace breaks, and the baby accidentally swallow the beads.) Tip: Other moms use teeth gel, but be wary of the ingredient list. It should not contain benzocaine, lidocaine, belladonna and added sugar before administering. Teething gels are also likely to end up in baby’s tongue and not stay on the gums, so manage expectations when it comes to delivering pain relief. *We put this as a “splurge” because chamomile granules and Baltic amber aren’t always readily available locally and may need to be purchased abroad.
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VIDEO MONITOR Why it’s worth the splurge: Babies sleep better when in their rooms, so best get a baby monitor if you’d like to keep an eye on baby without having to disrupt his sleep by going in and out of his room. You may also want to get a CCTV monitor that connects to your mobile device so you can monitor the baby when you need to be out of the house during nap times or even bedtime.
Em Somera-Chua has previously written about her experience with a sleep coach for her baby. Read it here and here.