Starfish’s sleep is a precious thing in our household – somewhat sacred. We are pretty strict on getting him to bed when he needs to, especially at nighttime. Our close family and friends know that he has a bedtime and we hardly (if ever) divert from it. But we are also fortunate that he sleeps extremely well 99% of the time (we are aware that this is not the same for all mums and dads, and I’m so sorry for that – I promise I’m not trying to rub it in!!). I definitely attribute a lot of this to some of the baby bedtime accessories we use around his nap and bedtime routines, which I have shared below.
(We were gifted a Gro Egg and a Gro Suit which I have included in this post, however my opinions are my own).
Baby Bedtime Accessories Every Baby Needs
Baby sleep has so much controversy that surrounds it – sleep training versus crying it out versus co-sleeping versus do anything to make baby sleep! We have tried almost all of these things, so who can say which of them worked for our Starfish? Of course of the utmost importance is following the Safe Sleep Guidelines to ensure he is safe while sleeping. However, I do know that there are some baby bedtime accessories that have made Starfish’s bedtime a much smoother transition, and I hope they are helpful for your little ones as well.
1. The Right Sleeping Bag
I have met many babies who prefer to sleep in different ways. Starfish likes to sleep nice and snug, so to have a good night sleep he needs a tight-fitting sleeping bag and to be tucked in so he doesn’t roll around. I know friends who have babies that NEED to roll around and flap their arms in their sleep. Every baby is different. And all mums know their babies best. So choose a sleeping bag that suits your baby’s needs. If you’re not sure, check out my Winter Sleeping Bag Review HERE for an in-depth rundown of the different features of the major sleeping bags and brands.
2. Comfy and WARM Jammies
Getting into the cold, winter weather is the worst (I hate cold), and unfortunately it is hard for our bubs to tell us when they’re cold. Make sure you dress your babies up nice and warm so they don’t wake up in the middle of the night freezing. Two tips I’ve learnt: 1) dress them up for the coolest part of the night, and 2) follow the guidelines provided by your chosen sleeping bag (see their packaging) on what to dress baby in. Most sleeping bags have a chart that shows what to dress baby up in during the night (depending on the temperature) to keep them warm.
Our favourite PJs for Starfish is the awesome Grosuit from the Gro Company. What makes these suits so special – and so warm – is their quilted arms. The sleeves are thicker (Polyester filling), plusher, and ultimately warmer, than regular onesies. This also makes them perfect in winter if you have a sleeping bag with short sleeves such as our Grobag (pictured below). They are made from 100% Super-Soft Jersey cotton, making it extremely comfortable for bub in the middle of the night too.
The Grosuit comes in a range of sizes to suit your little one right up until 18 months of age (0-3m, 3-6m, 6-9m, 9-12m, 12-18m). While the sleeves are quilted, the rest of the Grosuit is designed as a single layer to avoid overheating your baby (particularly as you follow the Grobag instructions on what to dress your baby in). This makes the Grosuit perfect for sleeping bags that do not have long sleeves. The Grosuit has been designed with the Grobag Sleeping Bag in mind, as well as the use of the GroEgg (see below). Together, these items create a safe sleeping SPACE (following one of the 5 safe sleeping guidelines which you can read about HERE).
3. White Noise Machine
I’ve heard many mothers say how much their babies love white noise, and we found that Starfish was no different. From almost day one, we were using our phones and iPads to play Youtube clips of white noise (some with heartbeat sounds like they’d hear in the womb), but we found our boy responded most to ocean-style noises. After a month or so, we got tired of being without our phones while our boy slept (typical millennials?!), so we invested in a white noise machine and haven’t looked back. We put it on every time he goes to sleep – either nap time or bed time – and it is a cue for him to recognise that it is time to go to sleep. Works almost every time. Because he has this cue, we can also use it when we go over to the grandparents’ place and put him down for a sleep. He knows that it is time to nap and goes to sleep a lot easier than without it.
4. Thermometer – GroEgg
As it is getting cooler, we are starting to get more and more unsure of what to dress Starfish in for going to bed (lucky we have the Grosuit!). I know many mums are in the same boat, unsure if they should add extra layers for the middle of the night. What we have found to be a lifesaver is knowing what the temperature is in Starfish’s room, and using the Gro Company recommendations to dress him accordingly. Enter the awesome GroEgg.
The GroEgg is a light-up Thermometer that tells you the temperature in bub’s room. It uses a light to indicate if the temperature is too hot (red), a bit warm (orange), too cold (blue), or just right (yellow). The beauty of this thermometer is that you can sneak a glance into bub’s room to check the temperature is okay without walking in, bending down to read the thermometer, and inadvertently waking bub up in the process (as you can see in the photo below, which was taken from the bedroom door). I love the ease of use for the Groegg, plugging it in the wall and having an on/off button underneath so that we don’t have to have it on all day. It only works via power point so no need to worry about batteries around the younger children. It measures approximately 7 x 7 x 10cm, making it a subtle feature in your baby’s bedroom.
The GroEgg can also be adapted with a “shell” (Monkey or Owl design) that sits on the top of the thermometer to add a cute little touch to baby’s room. It is made of a similar material as the GroEgg and also lights up according to the temperature in the room.
This accessory might be another controversial one, but we stick by using it on some occasions. We were given a couple of comforters for Starfish as baby shower presents, and only started using them around the 5-6 month mark (when he could pull things off his face). We have a Teddy comforter that we use to help him to sleep if he wakes up too early in the morning (and mummy wants some extra ZZZZs), if we try to put him down to sleep at his grandparents’ (because he struggles to sleep anywhere except home), or if he is having a bad night and struggling to sleep on his own (which is only about 1% of the time. I know, we are lucky). If we can, and we remember, we usually sneak in and take the comforter off him once he’s fallen asleep to avoid it covering his face, however all comforters should be made from breathable fabric (although with babies, it is always better to be safe than sorry, right?).
Of course, there are other baby bedtime accessories that can be used to help baby to sleep (we occasionally use the dummy), but these ones we’ve found to be a real game changer. What baby bedtime accessories do you use to help baby get to sleep (or stay asleep)? Tell us in the comments below!
If you’d like more sleep tips, read my post on transitioning from a swaddle to a sleeping bag HERE.