Our favorite sleep gear, from books to sleep sacks, plus sample sleep schedules we’ve relied on.
Is there a subject more important or pressing than sleep when it comes to life as a new parent? The answer in our household was and is, no. Once the initial shock of bringing home the baby wore off, getting Inez on a sleep schedule was of the utmost importance to me, for two reasons; First, I’m a complete psycho bitch when I don’t sleep, and I didn’t want to see my marriage and relationships crumble because I was a cranky mess. Second, I felt responsible to taking this un-programmed blob and turning her into a functioning human, and getting into a ‘regular’ sleep schedule is key to that progression. Three weeks into our new role as parents, I started ‘sleep training,’which might sound aggressive but was actually just a loose formula for us to follow to feel some (naive?) sense of control.
We began by downloading and printing Babywise sample sleep schedules, and trying to get on a rough timeline that fit her age/developmental stage. While every baby is completely different, it was helpful for Tommy and I (mostly me, to be honest) to have structure in a completely unstructured time. My big takeaways were learning about merges in her sleep cycle as well as the feed-> play ->nap process. I’d highly suggest taking a look if you’re someone that doesn’t do great with unknowns and likes (the illusion of) control.
For the first few weeks, Nez slept in her SNOO Smart Sleeper. We used the 100% cotton sleep sacks that are required for the SNOO with onesie pajamas underneath. Because the SNOO has it’s own white noise machine, we didn’t use anything else to help her in the process. We loved the SNOO in the beginning because it gave us peace of mind when it came to SIDS, helped lull her back to sleep when she had little wake ups, and gave me a safe place to put her when I needed a speed-shower. A few weeks in, we had a rough night when nothing seemed to soothe her and in a 2am freak out, we tried putting her in her crib (because in those moments, you’ll try everything and anything). She fell asleep within a minute or two with her arms and legs out in a spread-eagle style. From there, we did more crib time, testing it during naps, until we decided to move on from the SNOO. We were ready for the crib at 6 weeks and officially retired the SNOO to the attic. It was wonderful and gave us total comfort in the beginning, but ultimately we wanted our space back and felt like Nez was sleeping better in her own room, so the timing was right for us.
For our crib set up, we were fortunate to receive a simple, white crib from a friend. I did some research on organic crib mattresses and ended up going with the Nest Bedding Organic Crib Mattress (straightforward name, I know). We also got two crib sheets from Lewis, a rainbow sheet from Target’s Cloud Island, and cozy jersey sheets from Hanna Andersson. Otherwise, as per every set of instructions under the sun, we kept the crib empty- no pillows, blankets or stuffed animals.
About 3.5 months into Nez’s life, we hired a virtual sleep consultant to help us with some sleep merges and getting into an even better routine. She sent the below guideline to nap schedules, which helped me so much. It’s incredibly confusing to know what’s ‘normal’ or when you’re entering into a period of over-exhaustion that could result in a baby (and parent) melt down.
Awake Windows & Naps by Age
- 9 – 12 weeks: 55 – 90 minutes (4 naps)
- 3 – 4 months: 1.5 – 2 hours (4 –> 3 naps)
- 4.5 – 6 months: 2 – 2.5 hours (3 naps)
- 6 – 9 months: 2.5 – 3 hours (3 –> 2 naps)
- 9 – 12 months: 3 – 3.75 hours (2 naps)
- 12 – 18 months: 3.75 – 4.25 hours (2 naps –>1 nap)
- 18 months – 3 years: 4.5 – 5.5 hours (1 nap)
One big takeaway besides the below awake window & nap list was that it’s very important for her to take her first nap of the day in the crib as it really sets the tone for the day. The second one is often in her stroller or in the car, but I try to make that first nap in a crib non-negotiable if we all want an easy day.
In terms of the process in getting her to sleep, I didn’t want to start things out with 20 steps, instead aiming to have her self-soothe as much as possible, within reason, and without feeling cruel or having an emotional breakdown on my end. For us, that started out as a bath in this tub insert, followed by a bottle with the white noise machine going (we’ve used this travel one for her at home and on the road) and the lights super dimmed. For the first three-four months, she slept in footed onesies like this gem from Kyte Baby in the stretchiest, coziest organic fabric, as well as a fleece Halo Sleepsack. Every once in a while we’ve used this Crane Drop Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, because supposedly humidifiers are good for baby’s rooms. Don’t really know why, but heard it over and over, so…
I’m jumping in our timeline, but from six to nine months, we’ve evolved the sleep process a bit and have some new favorite gear. She still sleeps in a Kyte onesie like this cute printed one or an easy solid, as well as a few options from Hanna Andersson. We also swear by these slightly weighted sleep sacks in a ton of cute colors- she’s used these since we first moved her into her crib. We’ve also incorporated story time into the process because she’s finally at an age that she can sit in our lap and focus for long enough, so I’m sharing a few of her favorite bedtime books below. Otherwise, we’ve kept up with her regular routine.
That’s pretty much it in a nutshell! Any questions about our sleep routine or favorite gear? Reach out on Instagram or leave a comment below!
- Littlest Family’s Big Day by Emily Winfield Martin
- Thank You and Good Night by Patrick McDonnel
- Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
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