“You’ll never sleep again.” They said.
“Better stock up on sleep before baby is here.” They said.
Ugh. While the constant reminders are annoying, the fact is: you need your sleep (which means baby needs to sleep). And it makes baby sleep a hot button issue for new moms.
I’ve talked about what I wish I’d known about baby sleep. If I had had more idea about it I might have been able to relax and just let it happen as it happened… but we live and learn!
And I learnt that there were certain things that really helped me in both getting my babies to sleep and keeping them asleep – and in helping me relax to sleep, most importantly of all!
When I was pregnant, my husband started to be alarmed at the amount of money we could spend on this little person who hadn’t even been born yet… has anyone seen the mega lists out there of baby gear?!? Yeah. He freaked.
So we went with absolute basics and added in what we felt we needed as we went.
Basics included a cot, with bedding, and baby clothing, with diapers. We hired a newborn car seat. Seriously. That’s it.
The baby bath was bought after we got home, as was the diaper change mat… bottles and formula… quite a lot!
The advantage to this is that we never had things we didn’t use. And we were able to see things that really would help us as we went along.
The downside was having to buy things with the baby… when we could have done with having them ready to use! (But buying online is SO convenient, easy and safe!)
It worked for us and our very limited budget.
So why am I telling you this here?
The things I discovered that made sleeping easier for us were extremely well researched and had to be proven by a large number of other people before we felt confident to buy them! These are the top products that you definitely need (as voted by the internet at large!)
Note: this blog post probably contains affiliate links, which means we may receive small commissions from purchases made through links in this post (at NO extra cost to you). You can read our full disclosure for more information.
What to Buy for Baby Sleep Heaven
Decent Night Light
I found that I had to persuade my husband on this one, but was glad I did eventually! If we turned on a main light at night time it was disaster for any chance of getting back to sleep quickly. So having a dim light that gave us enough to see what we were doing without waking baby (or us!) up too much was perfect.
We used a simple version of something like this.
Ours did not have fancy colors but it plugged into the wall and made things that bit easier.
They can be moved to anywhere you need them to be without being plugged in and give a warm soft light. I wish I had had this while they were babies since then I could have carried it with us on those nights that I needed extra light while trying to wrestle with changing a wet bed or finding another set of sheets!
But we still use these lights (even now) and they have lasted us so well.
Easy change sleepwear
We were given all kinds of gorgeous baby clothes when our wee one was born. So cute! So tricky to take off when you are sleepy and don’t want to wake your baby up fully!
It didn’t take us long to figure out what kinds of sleepwear we wanted to keep our babies in to make nighttime easier to deal with.
This means something that you do not have to move your wee one around too much to undo and redo. Any buttons that don’t do up quickly are a no! Sometimes zippers are great, but sometimes they are oddly placed… like down only one leg, so that you have to stretch it right over both legs to get them back into it… not good user design, well, not for tired parents in the night in my opinion! And it really frustrated my husband no end…
So I like ones that have buttons down the front and both legs ideally. Like this cute one with ruffles.
Or else I like ones that have poppers just around the inside legs for easy diaper changing.
And of course, Cath swears by the zipper sleepers like these ones.
Our kids were supreme wrigglers. Like they could work themselves out of almost any bedding and hated being tied down. Ok, so I didn’t actually tie them down… even though I was tempted! I mean any kinds of tight bedding or swaddling – it seemed to make them angry.
Yes, I know babies are supposed to want to be wrapped up when they are tiny… and they both did for a very few weeks before they started getting pretty annoyed about the whole deal and losing it with us when we wrapped them up too tight.
Cath’s little ones absolutely loved the Love to Dream Swaddle Up – so what can we learn from this? All babies are different and your only job as a parent is to go with what works for your baby.
Our solution was a merino sleep sack (this is the exact one we had). We were given one with our first baby and after that I kept buying them until I couldn’t find one big enough for my toddlers!
Not only did the kids enjoy wearing it, we loved that it was so easy.
So, of course, I bought the cotton version as well for summer!
I enjoy sewing and for those of you who do as well, this could be a great option. I wish I had found this pattern ages ago, it would have saved me some money!
Music to Sleep To
We had a stereo set up in our little tiny house that was loud enough for the whole house… so we never really needed much more for some time. And then we moved it into the kids’ room anyway…
But I would have been lost without Spotify and their calming background white noise playlists or instrumental quiet pieces.
So I highly recommend getting a white noise maker or having Spotify or something similar set up to play music for your baby.
Something like this would be good (Cath loves it – using it now for every single nap and night with the new baby.)
Anything else that makes feeding quick!
I used formula for my little ones so for us that included a kettle that would boil quietly but quickly so that we could add a tiny touch of hot water to the water we used to make up the formula for night feeds. It seemed to go down much easier if it was lukewarm.
It also meant formula tins that were easy to use the measure from for quick making of milk.
You will figure out the things that you might be able to get to help you make things run more smoothly at night time.
If you’re breastfeeding, you should check out Cath’s recent (detailed as!) post on breastfeeding at night.
For more formula feeding tips, check out these posts:
- Formula Feeding Hacks That’ll Have You Bottle Feeding Like a Pro
- Formula Feeding Must Haves – Essential Bottle Feeding Equipment
System for night feeds
Need to make night feeds easier? Routines are an essential for baby sleep! Figure out your system so you don’t have to think about it in the night…
I think everyone finds their own routine for making night feeds easier and quicker once they get to know their baby and find their rhythms. It does take time to get to know your baby. It takes time for them to know you!
But I ended up actually writing down a basic system for my husband when it was his turn to do the night feeds so that we could make sure our baby was settled into a regular pattern… of course, finding that our child had autism made a lot of sense later on – but it still helped us cope at the time.
When I say basic, it really was. Like this:
- Get baby
- Make / heat milk
- Check diaper – don’t change unless necessary!
- Burp / rock
- Put back to bed!
The advantage of having something like this was that we really didn’t have to think. Big bonus!
But we also were able to begin setting up routines for our babies. They began to learn what to expect and that is the beginning of training your kids in anything. And an important step if you want to try any kind of sleep training later on.
While babies do keep changing as they grow, having settled routines helps them make sense of their worlds and trust the people looking after them more.
You should know that I had to fight myself on this one! I am a go-with-the-flow type of person. Writing a routine for feeding our baby at night seemed rather extreme to me. But I was determined to make things flow more and make life easier for us. And weirdly this worked.
So I would encourage you to think through what works best for your night feeds so that you do not have to do any thinking at night time.
Here’s to getting the essentials for your baby to sleep, and making them work!