You’re an exhausted new parent and the bags under your eyes are big enough to lug diapers around. Convenient! Except…you’d really like to use that sweet Kate Spade diaper bag you spent too much money on. Not to mention sleep feels soooooooo good. So how to get that darn baby to sleep?
People will give you a ton of suggestions. Swaddle! Swing! Southern Comfort! And they may indeed work — for their children. Look, all babies are different with different needs, so all I can do is tell you what worked for me and my two kids (now 11 weeks and 2 years old) — one of whom was a good sleeper, the other, not so much — and say, “Good luck, man. You’re gonna need it.”
1. White noise on your cell phone
Or some sort of portable white noise. As you likely know, white noise is reminiscent of the sounds made in the womb, thus comforting your wee one. Heck, my two-year-old still likes the sound of “vacuum” option on my iPhone app — maybe because that’s the only time she hears the vacuum around the house. (Hey, it’s not easy juggling two kids!) The portability is nice when you’re, say, in your car — just throw the phone in the car seat with your tired baby and hope against hope it will lull her to sleep. And if it doesn’t…? At least the baby can entertain herself by making some calls.
The iPhone app I use is WhiteNoise Baby, which comes with a variety of noises. My fave: red noise.
2. Fisher-Price Newborn Rock ‘n Play Sleeper
My 11-week-old son is a terrible sleeper (yes, I know a thing or two about those huge bags under the eyes); when I shared this tale of woe on The Laughing Stork, a reader suggesting buying the Rock n’ Play Sleeper, calling it “baby crack.” Well, I can never resist crack for infants, so I hunted down the best deal I could find on the Internet — on sale for $49.95 at Diapers.com, with free shipping — and waited just one day for it to arrive.
Can I just tell you? This sleeper is awesome.
My son is also BIG (all-caps to emphasize just how BIG he is), almost having outgrown the same bassinet that my daughter used until she was four-and-a-half months old. The sleeper, on the other hand, accommodates babies up to 25 lbs. so he’ll be able to sleep by our bed for another few months. (Good for mommy’s sleep, not-so-good for mommy and daddy’s sex life.) It’s also more compact than the bassinet and folds up easily, not to mention MY CHILD ACTUALLY SLEEPS IN IT. (All-caps to emphasize my great relief.)
Before when I would try to transition him from my arms to the bassinet or swing in the midst of a nap, he would wake up immediately. Stinker. Now…? He stays asleep. Hallelujah! At night, he sleeps for longer periods of time because the shape of the sleeper snuggles and comforts him. Not through the night, mind you, but longer. And I’ll take every extra minute of sleep I can get at this point.
Can I get another hallelujah?
3. The Miracle Blanket
After two kids, you’d think I was a Master Swaddler. And if you did, you would be wrong. I finally gave into The Miracle Blanket with Baby #2 and am so glad I did. Makes swaddling ridiculously easy. Like, so easy even a caveman can do it. (Hey! I should trademark that!)
4. Blackout Curtains
This will come as a huge shock to you, but both of our babies sleep better in the — GASP! — dark. I mean, the DARK dark. As in blackout dark. Our two-year-old consistently sleeps in until 8 a.m., a beautiful thing that started when we hung these blackout curtains from Pottery Barn Kids in her room when she was just a baby. (As opposed to the old lady she is now.)
I’ve tried to find similarly effective blackout curtains for our bedroom, to no avail. These PBK drapes rock.
5. Comfy Pajamas
The wee one is no different from you and I (outside of his dining habits) — he likes to be comfortable. And believe you, me, there are no comfier jammies than the Kicky Pants PJs that I bought on a whim from Diapers.com (now on sale, to boot!). I swear our 10-week-old sleeps better in his pair, and my toddler actually requests hers. The bamboo material of these PJs is incredibly soft, as well as stretchy, which makes for quick and easy on-and-off.