Overall, my kids are good sleepers. I am not saying this to brag, we definitely go through phases of sleeping problems. But, since all three kids are pretty good sleepers, I thought it would be useful to share my favorite sleeping gear for babies through preschool age. The sleeping gear alone will not magically turn your child into a good sleeper, but having it can help you get there. Finally, I only write about gear I have personally used. I am not getting paid for any of this advice. Check out the list below and I hope you find it helpful.
The Best Sleeping Gear to Help Your Kids Sleep
- Swaddle blankets or Velcro swaddlers, birth to 3 months – I often hear parents say their babies hate to be swaddled. This might be true, I just have not had this experience. When J was a baby I thought she hated swaddling. She was colicky at 2-3 months old and we were lost at how to get some sleep. We remembered someone had given us the DVD “The Happiest Baby on the Block“, so we watched it. This DVD tells you that swaddling is very important, even if your baby doesn’t seem to like it. We took this advice, and for J, once we figured out how to get her to sleep better (see item #2 on the list), she slept longer if she was swaddled tight.
- Baby glider swing, birth to 6 months – This swing was a lifesaver with both J and M. There was a month time frame where this was the only thing they would sleep in at night. I bought it used from a Facebook swap site and it was well worth the $35 investment.
- Pacifiers, birth to when you are ready to take them away – I like pacifiers because they give you an extra option for helping your baby get to sleep. While not necessarily related to sleep, they are also convenient if your baby is fussy when you are traveling or running errands. One tip for pacifiers, after your baby is 6-9 months old, it can be useful to put more than one in bed with them at night. If your baby wakes up and her pacifier has fallen, she will cry. You will have to get out of bed, find the pacifier (not always easy), and give it back. An extra pacifier provides a little insurance for a full night’s sleep. As far as taking pacifiers away when your children get older, this is definitely something we held off on doing. The twins slept so well with them, so I waited as long as possible to take them away. We knew the twins were getting too old for them. But, in the end, S had started biting hers apart at 2.5 years old. This was a choking hazard, so the decision was made for us by S – no more “pacis”.
- Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit, 3 to 6 months – This was great for transitioning away from swaddling. Another thing that I use it for is transitioning from a bassinet (small sleeping quarters) to sleeping in a much larger crib. If this transition happens after your baby is done with swaddling, the Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit can be a big help.
- Sleepsacks, 6 months to when you are ready to take them away – After the baby grows out of the merlin sleepsuit, I like to use sleepsacks. They keep your baby warm and give you a safe way to have a “blanket” on your baby. Sleepsacks are also available in toddler sizes and we continued using them until approximately 2.5 years old. One night S just decided she didn’t want to wear it anymore and that was the end of that. A few nights later J followed suit and refused to wear a sleepsack as well. Another huge bonus with the sleepsacks are they prevent your toddler from removing their diaper.
- Crib that converts to a toddler bed, birth to preschooler – This is not absolutely necessary. But, I thought it made the transition easier because the toddler bed still resembled the look of their crib. A tip for switching your child to their big kid bed. I showed my kids photos on my phone of what their new bed would look like. This made it more exciting and something to look forward to.
- Sound machine, birth to when you are ready to take it away – each kids bedroom has a sound machine in our house that is still used to this day. It is so helpful to drown out noises elsewhere in the house at bedtime. We also take the sound machines when we travel for the same reason. As babies, the twins liked the “ocean” sound. I found it interesting that M just didn’t like “ocean”. Luckily, there are options on our machines and he enjoys the “rain” sound for sleeping.
- Nightlight, birth to when you are ready to take it away – this is another item we still use. I imagine we will continuing using nightlights in the kids room for quite a few years to come. Now that the twins are 3, it helps make them feel comfortable at night to be able to see. As babies, it’s nice for the parents to have a nightlight so they can see if they need to go in the baby’s room.
- Books – Incorporating a story before bed is a great way to establish a bedtime routine. It’s fun for your kids and educational!
Looking back at the list, I thought it was interesting that there are quite a few items we are still using today for our 3 year old twins. Regarding the timelines provided, these are guidelines based on when we personally used each item in our household.
Lastly, a piece of advice for your kids and sleeping. If you look up kids and sleeping, you will read how important it is to have a bedtime routine. This is so true, kids do much better when they know what to expect. However, sometimes this routine just isn’t working. I have found it helpful to change the routine a little bit to get back on track. I don’t mean to go and change everything you do before bed. But, if you feel like bedtime has become a struggle, try changing one or two things, and it could help. I know it has worked in our household on more than one occasion.
For more tips on kids and sleeping from Have Twins First click here.