After welcoming a newborn, it doesn’t take long for you to realize that the mantra “sleep like a baby” is one big myth. Still, there are products and hacks that can help! From bedtime rituals to noise making apps, here’s how to help baby (and yourself) get some serious zzz’s.
1. Learn to swaddle (or faux swaddle).
Soon after baby is born, a nurse whisks her away and wraps her perfectly and snuggly in a blanket like a burrito. Once you’re home, re-swaddling a Houdini baby in two seconds flat (like the nurse) at 3 a.m. is not easy. Enter Swaddle Strap, a swaddle blanket that velcroes around baby’s arms. No folding, tucking or tightening needed.
Photo: Anna & Eve via Facebook
2. Hang blackout shades.
Those block-out-all-semblance-of-daytime curtains worked for you in college when you were trying to take a disco nap. And it will work again for your sleepless babe. Look for something that is lined with black polyester, like these cordless roman shades from Pottery Barn Kids. Word to the wise: Don’t hang all-black curtains, lest you want the nursery to resemble a vampire lair.
Photo: Pottery Barn Kids
3. Add a humidifier.
For nights when kiddo is sick, a humidifier is a must-have (though you really can use them whenever). How it works: A humidifier boosts a room’s humidity, which can relieve congestion, chapped lips, and dry skin — all reasons your cherub wakes up in a panic. One that’s freakin’ adorable with high humidity output is this one by Sunpentown.
4. Give baby a massage.
The proof is in the pudding. Research says that infant massage promotes better sleep. If you’ve never given your bambino a pre-slumber rub down, start with an “I Love U” tummy massage. Simply trace the letter I down your baby’s left side. Then trace an L, starting under her arm on the right side and going across the belly along the base of her ribs from her right side to her left. Next trace a U, stroking from high on the baby’s right side, down and around the navel, and up the left side.
Photo: valentinapowers via Flickr
5. Download an app.
Rain, Rain is a free iPhone app that comes with 25 different rain sounds, including “downpour” and “rain on a tent.” Warning: You might fall asleep before baby! If one baby sleep app isn’t enough, add the Sleep Pillow Baby app to the mix. The new parent fave features some of the most out there lullabies and ambient sounds (think: hypnotic Frère Jacques remixes and soothing night owl hoots).
Photo: Rain, Rain App
6. Get a lovey.
If lights out sends baby into a tizzy, Cloud B’s Twilight Turtle might do the trick. This plush toy’s shell transforms a dark room from scary to starry, by projecting real constellations onto bedroom ceilings and walls. Talk about sleeping under the stars!
Photo: Cloud B via Facebook
7. Paint (or repaint) walls.
Check the shade of the nursery’s walls. Reds, oranges and yellows are stimulating and can keep baby up. Chillaxing shades include blues, green and neutrals.
Photo: The Farmer’s Nest
8. Warm those wipes!
It may seem like one of those vanity items you gratuitously add to your registry, but a wipe warmer (like this space-saving variety) can actually make a difference between baby falling back to sleep after a diaper change and, well, not. Let’s put it in perspective, wouldn’t you be wide awake if you wiped your tush in the middle of the night with a cold, wet wipe?
Photo: Dex Baby
How do you maximize your baby’s sleep time? Share your secrets in the Comments section below.
— Ayren Jackson-Cannady