The lack of sleep we hear once we become newly-minted parents always sounds like a "panakot," which is easy to shrug off. But our babies not getting enough quality slumber? That can drive us to anxiety, so when we hear about products that ensure our baby a good night's sleep, how can we not buy? We're here to tell you shopping for your baby's sleep doesn't have to break the bank. Here's your cheat sheet of where to splurge, where you can save, and what you don't need to give the comfort your baby needs when she sleeps.
MATTRESS While “breathable,” “bug-busting,” or “cooling technology” may sway you to purchase a mattress with a high price tag, all a baby needs is a firm mattress that is at least four inches. A mattress that is too soft can conform to your baby’s shape and becomes a suffocation risk or result in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). You can pick your preferred foam and have it cut-to-size for your crib at Uratex, and even choose your mattress cover (it’s not as pricey as you presume!)
Before you buy: Test mattress firmness by pressing its center and edges. If it snaps back immediately and doesn’t conform to the shape of your hand, it’s a go!
CRIB The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends room sharing for the first six months of baby’s life, which means the baby is in her crib or bassinet in your room -- not on your bed. Many Filipina moms do buy a crib, but they eventually don’t use it because they end up co-sleeping even past the 6-month mark. Your baby’s sleep arrangement is your personal choice. Until your baby comes, you probably won’t be able to decide the ideal sleeping arrangement for you and your baby. So best to delay the expense of a crib until you’re certain about how you feel about your little one sleeping on her own.
For the first six months, consider a co-sleeper you can put next to your bed, or get a play yard that has a bassinet attachment (it’s smaller than a standard crib and is double-purpose), or purchase a preloved crib (there’s always one for sale in online baby selling groups).
Before you buy: Whether purchasing new or secondhand, make sure that your crib has strong slats, good quality hardware, and excellent mattress support.
SWADDLE You don't need to get so many swaddles because your little one will outgrow them fast. You also need to check if your baby will agree to be swaddled (you'll get what we mean when you're at that stage). Get one in a newborn size and another in 0-3 month size. If your baby likes it, consider getting a pre-loved second set. Remember zip-up or velcro swaddles must be sized right for your baby.
Tip: You can skip the swaddle once the baby is able to roll over.
ORGANIC / HIGH THREAD COUNT SHEETS Your baby won’t know the difference. What’s important is you keep the crib clean, and you change the sheets often or as soon as it is soiled. For your baby’s safety, remember that sheets must fit the mattress snugly.
Tip: Use only baby-safe detergent and wash baby’s sheets separately from the rest of the household.
PILLOWS, BOLSTERS, and BUMPER PADS A clean crib is all you really need. Skip soft objects like pillows, bolsters, and bumper pads as they increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation for your little one.
Tip: If you feel your baby needs a head pillow because you're worried about flat head syndrome, just make sure your baby does tummy time daily. It helps with baby’s motor development and reduces gas, too!
BLANKET A blanket isn’t necessary if you dress the baby well and if you regulate the temperature in the room he/she sleeps. Your baby should be dressed with only one layer more than you are wearing.
Tip: Consider a sleep sack or a wearable blanket if you really feel your baby needs extra warmth. Remember babies easily overheat, too.
WHITE NOISE MACHINE The whirring of the fan or the air-conditioner in a baby’s room already generates enough white noise. You don’t need to set up a different machine! If you like some variation on the sounds, you can easily download a free app that plays lullabies; Johnson’s Bedtime app has a great selection. Or get a white noise app like Relax Melodies that lets you choose and combine different types of white noise. Spotify also has a white noise playlist.
Tip: You don’t want to keep the white noise going on the whole night as the baby might become dependent on this to sleep. You want to allow baby to unlock his own self-soothing prowess, not create another sleep crutch.
MUSICAL MOBILE Your baby has to know that when it’s time to sleep, it’s really time to sleep. A musical mobile might just stimulate him further, instead of making him drowsy.
Tip: If your child has a play yard or a fenced-in play mat, use a mobile there during moments of active play.
TEETHERS Teethers come in all sizes and shapes. But we like the ones that have some liquid inside, so you can cool in the refrigerator (not the freezer) before offering to your baby. These are inexpensive, and you don’t need to buy so many.
Tip: You can easily make your own. Just get a fresh wash cloth, soak in clean water and freeze in a resealable zipper plasic bag (make sure it's freezer-safe), so it’s always ready when your baby becomes fussy.
NIGHT LIGHT While it’s important to have a dark room to set the mood for sleep, your baby still needs a source of light. Mom and dad will also find it useful for middle of the night nappy changes. It doesn’t have to be a fancy one; you can easily get a simple plugged-in light.
Tip: Check your local hardware store for inexpensive and practical night light options.
Em Somera-Chua has previously written about her experience with a sleep coach for her baby. Read it here and here.