I won’t lie… sleep and the lack of it was something I was terrified of becoming a new mom (and my husband too!). We were well aware that our sleep would be compromised and we vowed to roll with the punches, but it was still a bit scary. I prioritize my sleep like it’s everything because, to me, it is. Before baby, I would get a solid 7-8 hours every night. EVERY NIGHT! I knew from day 1, I wanted to invest in sleep/sleep products for Leo, so in this blog post I’m sharing our top 6 sleep essentials for the newborn baby (we still use all of these at 9 months).
Side note – for those who already have kids and those who are pregnant, I’m sure you have heard and/or will hear from so many women “enjoy the sleep now because you’ll never sleep once the baby is here blah blah blah.” Those women annoy me haha. I heard that so often while pregnant and while it’s partially true, it’s just unnecessary. Ignore those types of comments.
Sleep, the lack of it and your baby’s sleep schedule can be difficult but it doesn’t last forever so you just do the best you can while you’re in that stage. Remember, it’s a temporary season of life and you will get your sleep back eventually!
As many of you know, Leo inherited our love of sleeping. At 3 months, he was sleeping 12 hours straight though the night and taking 4 regular naps a day. In another post, I’ll go over some “sleep habits” we worked on from day 1 but I think it’s important to remember that every baby is different.
Don’t compare what your baby is doing to another baby. I’m only sharing about Leo’s sleep and sleep products he likes in hopes that your baby could enjoy them too. Here is our sleep essential baby product list!
Alright, here they are…
OUR SLEEP ESSENTIAL LIST
OLLIE SWADDLE (here)
This is hands down the best swaddle out there and if you’ve asked me about products, there’s a 99.9% chance, I recommended this to you. Before Leo was born I heard raving reviews about this product but I passed on it because of the higher price and because they were always sold out (that should have been my clue to buy it when I could!).
After Leo was born, we followed those 5 S’s and swaddling was key for Leo. Yet, our little Houdini broke out of every swaddle. I’m not kidding, I think I’ve purchased 10+ swaddle products (like the Halo Sleepsack , SwaddleMe, Swaddle UP and others); I would find Leo with one or two arms out every time, which is how he would wake himself up. I finally caved about bought the Ollie. The first time we put Leo in it… he didn’t break out and he slept his longest stretch of sleep at night ever. We instantly ordered another and became believers!
If you have a swaddle-loving baby or a little Houdini, I think this pricey swaddle is worth every penny. Plus, I think I got mine using a promo they sent out via email and it lasted so well I can definitely use it for my next child.
BABY SHUSHER (here)
Another one of the 5 S’s. Evidently, the baby shusher mocks the swish-ing sound the baby heard in the womb so it is very comforting. It sounded odd but when you watch your baby pass out 5 seconds after turning it on, you’re into it.
We used it for every nap and I took it with us on every car trip those first two months. Plan B: if yours runs out of batteries or if you don’t’ have it on hand, YouTube has an 8 hr video of shush-ing you can play haha. And just a warning, I’ve freaked out a lot of people walking in public places with shhhhhh, shhhhhhh, shhhhhh playing from underneath the covered stroller haha.
I also believe that because we used this at every nap, Leo knew the sound meant sleep.
BABY MERLIN’S MAGIC SLEEPSUIT (here)
I would say around 3 1/2 months, Leo fought his Ollie swaddle. It was as if putting it on irritated him so much that he couldn’t calm down to sleep. I googled (new mom!) and read this is often the time when babies graduate from the swaddle. I panicked because that’s the only way I really knew how to get Leo to sleep and he was sleeping through the night so I was scared to change.
A reader recommended this product to me and I wish I remember who because I would personally invite you over for drinks to celebrate one of the best product recommendations. This sleepsuit is a swaddle transition product. Leo did take a day or 2 to adjust to it (took him a little longer to fall asleep and he would occasionally wake early from naps) but then he was back to normal.
At 9 months, he still uses and loves this! We have both the cotton and fleece versions; I read the Amazon reviews saying the fleece works “better” because its thicker and I would agree especially during the first week or 2 of using. This product is magic!
WHITE NOISE MACHINE (here)
I would consider Leo a lighter sleeper yet he doesn’t like it quiet when he sleeps. I remember one time he was in his mamaRoo and I vacuumed around him only to watch him fall asleep to the noise haha. This product is great at tuning out startling noises. For example, when you’re doing dishes or something falls, I feel like it muffles those noises that would wake the baby. I read suggestions that moms said to not get a “baby” white noise machine because the normal ones have better quality and strength?!
I also think things like this and the baby shusher give Leo the heads up “it’s sleep time.” Leo sucks his thumb but only when he sleeps or wants to go to sleep. As soon as I turn on the white noise machine or shusher, he puts his thumby in (our little phrase lol) and starts closing his eyes. Overall, I do little “routines” with Leo before a nap and bed which I believe help promote solid sleep habits- the noise machine is one of them.
BLACKOUT CURTAINS (here)
In the newborn, sleepy stage, nap time is “easier.” I would say it got difficult around 1.5 to 2-ish months when Leo become more alert. Leo was napping in our master bedroom and it was very bright in there even with the blinds shut; Leo would just look around at all sorts of things instead of sleeping. We had an idea to put his mini crib in our theater room because it had no windows and was pitch black – all of the sudden, he became a great napper. We let him sleep in there for awhile and then, I wanted him in his nursery and big boy crib.
At this point, I was a little sick of buying all sorts of over-priced baby products so I purchased these inexpensive blackout curtains from Amazon. 1) I needed them ASAP so prime was the way to go 2) I was able to read raving reviews and 3) I ended up loving them too. There are probably cuter options but these are nice and work well.
I saved this one for last because I feel like it is a hit or miss and it’s expensive. When I had Leo, everyone was talking about this DockATot – I bought it as one of those “we will see” products. We got home from the hospital- pretty clueless about what to do now that we were home haha. We used the DockATot because then Leo could nap wherever yet to him it felt somewhat “consistent.” For example, we would have him in his DockATot on the floor of our family room or we would put it in our bedroom while one of us napped in there.
Eventually and almost accidentally, Leo started loving it and slept better in it, so we kept it up. Actually, we just purchased the larger size. My husband kept encouraging me to try to encourage Leo to sleep without it because we didn’t want to pay for the larger one; per usual of kids, Leo resisted big time! We just bought the larger one and Leo is still loving it and sleeping great.
One recommendation – if you’re going all in with the DockATot, I would suggest 2 covers because especially at the beginning, Leo would spit up in it and I was washing those covers constantly.