My transition into motherhood wasn’t exactly a smooth one… Besides falling off a hormonal cliff after giving birth, the sleep deprivation really shook me. Immediately postpartum, I remember being riddled with anxiety and was convinced that I would never ever sleep again. Those first few weeks (and months, really) were tough. But parenting is a series of seasons, am I right? Thankfully, I’m long past that period of sleepless nights. For me, good sleep is a practice, it’s a gift, and it’s a necessity. Since becoming a mom, I suddenly take it very seriously! Getting my little one to go down to sleep and then stay asleep –consistently, night after night– was of utmost importance to me in those early months.
First off, I’m a big fan of sleep “props.” — especially for infants! These are items that some sleep training programs frown upon because they deem them as sleep ‘crutches.’ — Hogwash. Use the tools at your disposal to get the sleep you need, mamas! These babies are growing so fast & always in transition…I’ve just added or eliminated use of them as needed and developmentally appropriate.
Aside from lovies, pacis, and swaddles, here are some amazing products that worked like magic for me:
Dohm sound machine: We’ve utilized some sort of music or white noise to both lull asleep and muffle outside noise from the very beginning. However, I heard a sleep expert advise while it can be nice to fall asleep to soft music, it’s best for the sounds and notes to be consistent in order to support sustained sleep. So, lullabies are good to relax but stick with repetitive white noise, ocean waves, or rain drops as the sleeping soundtrack. Most sound machines I tested sounded harsh in a way…the looped digital recordings of various rainforests or beach scenarios felt too metallic and fake. The fan inside this circular unit creates a natural sound conditioner that’s won all sorts of official sleep awards. Apparently they’re very well made…I know people who’ve had the same unit for decades. For us, it’s super sturdy, travels well, and is an essential part of the sleep arsenal.
Baby Shusher, The Sleep Miracle: When they wake in the middle of the night, I feel like it can be a make or break situation for the rest of those wee hours. When unexpected nighttime wakings occurred and a feeding wasn’t needed, this palm-size device quieted my little one’s cries almost instantly. The consistent, repetitive shhhhhh, shhhhh sound it emits works to “engage their natural calming reflex,” according to the web site. You can set it to go for 15- or 30-minute intervals, too. Trick is, the shush sound must be louder than baby’s cry and you can adjust the volume accordingly. It’s portable and light enough to throw in the diaper bag, too — that little thing went everywhere with us in those first few months! Great relief for car seat cries, too.
Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit: First thing’s first — this is my absolute #1 favorite sleep product! Available in just two sizes because it’s used only from 3 – 9 months of age, this is literally the perfect swaddle-to-pjs transition product. Utilize this sleep suit when they start kicking out of swaddles and before they begin rolling over. The weight of the fabric provides that secure comfort they still crave but the dual zippers keep those little Houdini’s snug inside. A sleep sack alternative, it’s sort-of like coveralls made out of a comforter. It was quite laughable to see my little one zipped up in her puffy pjs…my hubs called it a moonsuit, I referred to it as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man outfit. Call it what you will, it WORKS, period.