Category - New Parent Tips

The Top 5 Things to Help Your New Baby Sleep

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, 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!)

$29.95 on Amazon, but I bought it for even less on eBay.

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 (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.


Tandem Stroller Recommendations — Straight from Moms’ Mouths

Actually, straight from their fingertips.  When I was expecting Baby #2 (you know, waaaaaaaay back when, eleven weeks ago) and was researching tandem strollers for the baby and my almost two-year-old, I was totally overwhelmed with the choices.  I wanted something lightweight — as lightweight as you’re going to get with a double stroller — and back-to-back, making navigating the city a bit easier than a side-by-side stroller that would make it impossible to get through Starbucks’ doors.  (And mama needs her triple-shot latte!)  So I called upon the expertise of those who know strollers best:  my fellow moms on Facebook.  Their suggestions were helpful, not surprisingly, so I thought I’d pass along their thoughts for your consideration.  With names removed to protect the innocent.

Well, the somewhat innocent.

Fellow parents: Any tandem stroller recommendations for walking around the city with a two-year-old and newborn? (Bonus points for suggestions featuring a nav system, sweet diamond rims and on-the-go margarita maker.)

>>We bought the Phil and Ted’s 3 years ago and have been really happy with it. Love the front back seating and the flexibility to be either a single or a double stroller. Cool newborn sleeping/strolling feature too. Since then, UppaBaby and Baby Jogger have come out with similar styles and look cool. I think in the city, much easier to navigate with a front/back versus side by side. Can still get through the Starbucks door for the several lattes a day you will need. :)

>>BOB sport utility stroller, I have twins and it is great. My friend has one and her kids can still sit in it now if they want and they are 5 and 7.

>>E just turned 2 when Z was born and never wanted to sit again, that was for babies. I am really dating myself here, but we used the Peg Perego Venezia (I think they call it Uno now) and E rode on the built in toddler step. It was well loved by all.

>>We have a Joovy Caboose, which is good for short rides in good weather. We also have a double jogger from Baby Trends (cheap version of BOB) for longer rides ( like all day at Disney World!). It is not for a newborn, but handy now for a two and five year old, even through the snow!

>>We have a Sit and Stand Stroller (don’t remember brand name) – passed down to us by a friend. We were able to put the car seat in the back and Nathan rode in the front seat. Then, as both got bigger, we put Jason in the front and Nathan sits an stands on the back part. Important thing I was told was that side by side strollers can be awkward to maneuver through coffee shops, etc. Front/ back ones are more convenient that way.

>>i have a graco duo stadium buggy, the seats are 1 in front of the other so not any wider then a single and its quite light and easy to use, and we walk EVERYWHERE!! x

>>Also check out the City Select from Baby Jogger (it’s not a jogging stroller). You can configure it a million ways and it folds up pretty flat (good for those of us with smaller cars).

>>We have the Phil & Ted’s for longer walks and a Joovy Ultralite in the trunk of my car for errands or trips to places like the zoo, where my son (3 yrs) will want to get up and walk. I have to say, I thought I was going to use the P&T a lot b/c I used my BOB all the time when I just had one child, but the Joovy is the one that I use the most. I like that it has a seat belt in the jump seat so that I can strap my 3-year old in if necessary (and it was when the baby was born, b/c he was only 21 months old at the time). It’s also fabulous for traveling — so easy to get around in the airport!

And after all of that…?  We ended up getting — DRUM ROLL PLEASE — um, none of the above.  We bought the Kolcraft Contours Options Tandem Stroller, a modestly priced and well-reviewed option instead.  And in almost eleven weeks…?  We have used the stroller — DRUM ROLL PLEASE — um, zero times, instead opting to use the Bjorn for the baby and a stroller for our toddler when we take our traveling zoo around town.  In the meantime, the monstrosity of a double stroller sits in our living room.  A glamorous decor accent, I know.

But we will use it!  I swear!  One of these days.  Probably.  Hopefully.

For sure if we ever find that margarita maker attachment.

Because Green Suits Any Baby: Design a Healthy Nursery with New iPhone App

The good news:  you have a baby on the way!  The not-so-good news:  you still have five trillion-and-two things left on your “Baby Prep To-Do List.”

Fret not.  We understand you can use all the help you can get to prepare for the arrival of your little bundle of joy, which is why we’re introducing you to a simple tool to help design a healthy nursery for your baby:  an app called The Peaceful Nursery (only two bucks, whereas your sanity…?  priceless!).

Created by Laura Forbes Carlin and Alison Forbes (authors of the book with the same name, as well as, the Web site, Inspired Everyday Living), The Peaceful Nursery steers expectant parents in the right direction when it comes to decorating and preparing for the early months with baby.  And, trust us, better to prepare for those months now than when you’re running on two hours of sleep and three cups of coffee.

Packed with great tips including how to set up the nursery to help baby sleep (hallelujah) and how to keep your home healthy (short answer:  cleaning products, electronics, ventilation) for baby, it provides a ton of useful information at your fingertips.  But most of all, we love the convenience of the handy checklists that help you keep track of all the nursery items you need to purchase.  Not only can you can check off items as you buy them, but you can also tap on products for green shopping guidelines.

Which means only five-trillion more things to do.  Woo-hoo!  (Hey, it’s all about baby steps.)