I'm so excited to write this blog post! I feel like Oprah, except sadly none of you guys are getting new cars or trips to Australia. Sorry! I hope you find this list helpful whether you're an expecting mom, or a mom looking for recommendations to help baby sleep better. I've also included links to where you can buy these products (and for great prices!)
Motorola Video Monitor
I survived my first child without a video monitor. I didn't even know they existed three years ago. It was on my must-have list for baby #2 and my family thought I was nuts for wanting one (they already knew I was a sleep freak, so it shouldn't have surprised them very much). I have no idea how I lived without one. And all my family now agrees with me. They are amazing. If your kid is sneaky like mine, they will like to lay there in complete silence and trick you into thinking they are sleeping. How about peace of mind if your child has slept 10 hours straight for the first time in their life?? The Motorola camera lets you zoom in so close you can see their chest rising and falling. Baby starting to climb out of the crib? Toddler getting out of their bed and roaming around their bedroom when they should be sleeping? Baby protest crying or is there a leg stuck in the slats? Endless reasons why a video monitor rocks!
White Noise Machines
You know by now how much I love white noise. Read about all the reasons why here if you haven't. Buying a good white noise machine is important. You always want to be sure that the noise machine plays continuously, and that the noises are soft and soothing. I have tested some machines that have the most awful noise settings. The two I have linked are tried and tested by yours truly and I give them my stamp of approval.
These are my favorite sleep bags for babies AND toddlers. They range in sizes from wee babies all the way up to 7-9 year olds! My daughter wore a Gro Bag until she was almost 3 years old and we never battled with her trying to climb out of the crib and we always knew she was toasty warm. In addition to the great range of sizes, Gro Bags also come in different 'TOG' ratings (temperature ratings) so you can have a lower TOG for the warmer months, and a higher TOG for the cooler months!
Aden & Anais Receiving Blankets
These are the creme de la creme of receiving blankets and are the perfect way to swaddle baby up tight. Made of muslin cotton they are super breathable and super stretchy (and not to mention huge!) In addition to making great swaddle blankets, they also make the perfect 'lovey' for an older child (my son won't sleep without his blanky and because it's breathable I never worry about it covering his face!)
Aden & Anais Crib Sheets
These crib sheets are so crazy soft and are perfect for keeping baby cool in the summer and warm in the winter. In addition, they are elasticized the whole way around which makes them a breeze to change!
I recommend keeping a sleep log to all my families, especially if you are struggling with baby's sleep. A sleep log helps you to see patterns and to be able to compare your baby's sleep with the 'average' recommended sleep for other babies his age. This can help give you peace of mind as to whether your child is getting enough sleep or not. Trixie Tracker is a great tool to help you log baby's sleep. They have a free trial, and an app that you can download to log sleep anywhere.
A definite must-have for if you plan on doing any travelling with baby. Too often parents get trapped into co-sleeping with baby while on vacation and this is a hard habit to break once you are home! Bringing along a playpen and setting it up in a dark space (walk-in closets and bathrooms work great!) is an easy way to give baby his own space. Check out my blog post here for other tips when travelling with baby.
Aden & Anais Security Blankets
Can you tell I love this company yet? They have such awesome products! I recommend these security blankets to all my families who are new to introducing a 'lovey' to their babies. They are small - about the size of a large washcloth - and made of the same super breathable cotton as the receiving blankets. They are also trimmed in satin, perfect for babies to suck on! They also come in a 2-pack which is very important if one gets stuck in the wash or if one goes missing!
Great Bedtime Books
Everybody has their favorite bedtime books for their children but I just thought I would share mine with you. I absolutely love Julia Donaldson books for my older child, and Sandra Boynton books for my baby. For infants, you want something short and sweet because their attention spans are practically nil and you do not want them to become bored of the bedtime routine. Reading is such a critical part of any bedtime routine - did you know it is recommended that children will have been read 5000 books by the time they reach Kindergarten? That's the equivalent of about 3 books per day. It's easier to get all that reading in if we as parents enjoy the books as well!
Fisher-Price Musical Seahorse
I want to preface this recommendation by saying I know there are a lot of horror stories out there about the seahorses smoking but from what I understand there was an issue with a) the battery compartment which was re-designed and b) people using rechargeable batteries with the seahorse.
Most sleep experts will recommend that baby's crib is 100% boring with nothing in it - no mobiles, toys, etc. For me personally, I think a small object that plays soft music for a short period of time is a great tool to help baby fall asleep calmly and peacefully. I love the Fisher-Price Seahorse because the music is very soft and soothing, the light on his belly is very dim, and the sound only plays for 5 minutes - not long enough to create an association. My daughter at 3.5 years old still sleeps with hers in her bed and I can hear her occasionally in the middle of the night wake up, push his belly, and fall back asleep. The Seahorse is small enough that it is easy to throw in your bag when you travel and it helps to re-create the feeling of home wherever you are.
Got an early rising toddler on your hands? The Gro Clock is (part of) your solution! This handy clock saved our lives when my daughter started waking at the crack of dawn when we moved into our new house. If you think about it, toddlers really have no way of knowing whether it is morning or not. Here in Northern Canada, it is still dark until about 8:00am or later! This clock has a sun that rises in the morning, letting the child know it's an appropriate time to wake up. The success of the clock is 100% dependent on parental consistency. You need to be consistent in not letting the child get out of bed until the sun is up, even if it is only 5 minutes before. If you lose interest in the rules of the clock, so will they.
Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Cradle 'n Swing
I am a swing lover and this swing is awesome! It folds up for easier storage, plugs in (SO important especially if you are using the swing for sleep, I can't imagine how much I would have spent on batteries without this option!), and it can swing both ways (which I found helped my little guy sleep better in the swing). Definite must-have!
Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit
I love this product so much for transitioning baby from swaddle to sleepsack! It is perfectly designed to help muffle the startle reflex while still providing baby with enough range of movement while they sleep. It also helps to prevent baby from rolling in their crib which is a tough phase for baby sleep! You can visit their website here to learn more about their product or to purchase one for your baby.