Creating An Environment That Actually Helps Your Baby Sleep
I remember it well.
With the exciting news that we would be expecting our first child, came all the dreamy, swoon-worthy, Pinterest-perfect images of what a beautiful nursery looks like.
From matching sets complete with bumpers, quilts, and pillows (ALL of which are a huge NO when it comes to safe sleep, by the way…), to designer cribs and gorgeous neutral accents. An expectants mom’s absolute dream, right?
But the price tag on a lot of that stuff nearly made me fall off my chair!
I couldn’t believe how much this nursery aesthetic was going to cost, let alone the actual needs like clothing, diapers, and a car seat.
But since that day, I’ve wised up - A LOT. There’s nothing like the experience of having multiple children and learning a thing or two about safe sleep. I’m not throwing shade at the moms who love this kind of stuff - I totally get it! But if you think you need all these things in order for your baby to sleep, consider this your permission to leave just about all of that stuff at the store.
In reality, Health Canada recommends that babies sleep in the same room as their caregivers for their first 6 months of life before moving to their own room. So whether you’re setting up your little one’s room, or making changes to your own for the time being, there’s lots you can do to encourage good rest.
So… what do you actually need instead?
Of course an approved bassinet or crib is a must, because baby needs somewhere to sleep, right?
Beyond that, you want a fitted sheet so that it’s tight to the mattress and won’t come off. No blankets, bumpers, or pillows here!
A swaddle or sleep sack is a must! If your babe is a newborn (and not rolling over yet!), then swaddles keep them nice and snug. If they’re rolling, then a sleep sack is imperative. I love Ry & Pen for great materials, colours, and a Canadian option, or Woolino for one that keeps the temp just right no matter the weather.
And you know I’ve got hook ups for both of those! Use code WHOLENIGHT for 20% off Ry & Pen or WHOLENIGHTSLEEP10 for 10% off Woolino.
Keep it super dark in their room by adding blackout blinds to ensure it gets as black as the ocean floor. Who doesn’t sleep well when it’s that dark, right? This helps stave off short naps and early morning wake ups. You know my love for Sleepout curtains runs deep, as they are easy to use, great to travel with, and make the room so, so dark!
And BTW, using the code WHOLENIGHT10 will get you a nice little discount while you’re at it!
White noise = solid sleep is pretty much my life motto. White noise is great for reminding them of noise they heard in the womb (Because, spoiler! There’s actually a lot of racket in there), cut out the sounds of all the things going on outside their room (Think older siblings, barking dogs, or the person at the door with terrible timing), and actually creates a positive sleep association, that when the white noise is on, it’s time to close their eyes.
Now that we’ve got the essentials down, the external environment is a big factor in your little one’s sleep too!
Temperature is a simple thing that makes a big difference! You want their room to be between 19-21 degrees Celsius. Let’s just say nobody sleeps well when they’re too hot or cold, and the little ones in your home are no exception to that!
Keep things boring so that they’re not stimulated by all the cool stuff in their room. Books and toys can be a distraction when they’re falling asleep and just encourage early morning wakings - especially for the 2+ crowd!
This also means not having stuffies in their bed before the age of 1, and keeping all the other safe sleep practices in place.
Keep calm and slumber on. We are alllll about keeping things calm before putting our littles down to bed. I know that bedtime can be the most chaotic part of the day when they’re a bit older, but do the best you can. A calm environment means a calm parent, but it also means having a consistent, soothing routine that signals to your little one that sleep is coming. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just low key. My expert advice is to end your routine in the room they will be sleeping in to create a positive association with sleeping in their room, and creating comfort in their space.
If your child is a bit older and they’re room sharing with a parent, try to create a barrier between yourself and your kiddo for less stimulation. When they’re distracted by your presence (when they should be sleeping!) you’ll run into longer times to fall asleep, night wakings, and early wakings. One option is to (safely!) hang a sheet between your bed and theirs. This method might not make it into an HGTV magazine, but it will help everyone sleep!
If consistent sleep feels like a dream, it doesn’t have to! I help tired parents and their littles get the sleep they need to feel great, happy, and like themselves again.
Remember a time when you felt like yourself, could show up for everyone around you, and enjoyed a little freedom? I’ll help you get back to that in a way that doesn’t feel terrible as a parent. Booking your consultation call with me is the first step.
PS. As always, some of these links are affiliate, but you know I’d tell you about them for free, and they’re only the things I love!