We all want to make sure that baby sleeps for long, restorative stretches. And let's face it, we can't function without a good amount of shut-eye either - the cost of sleep deprivation are well documented! Where babe sleeps and what’s happening in the room can make a huge difference to the quality of the sleep they’re getting. Here, we’ve listed our top 6 baby sleep environment tips to help everyone get a little extra snooze time.
Experts agree that making sure your baby’s sleep environment stays between 18 and 20 degrees (celcius, that’s approx. 68 degrees farenheit) will ensure that they are not too hot or too cold. Even if your baby is dressed warmly in bed, breathing in cold air can cause them to wake through the night. Likewise, higher temperatures can lead to overheating, which has been linked to SIDS.
Babies love a dim sleeping environment, so avoid any bright night lights, even for those daytime naps. Baby will soon learn night from day simply by spending some awake time outside of all those newborn naps.
Overnight, some sleep consultants go so far to suggest only using night lights with a red light, as this does not reduce the production of melatonin (a chemical produced by the Pineal gland, that helps us sleep).
It’s an old wives’ tale that babies should learn to sleep through loud, high level noise. The truth is that some adults still need assistance when it comes to filtering our loud noises through the night, such as loud banging doors or barking dogs. This is where white noise comes in. White noise can mimic the sound of the womb for younger babies, and create a ‘blanket’ of sound that blocks sharp, loud noises for older babies. There are lots of white noise machines on the market (and even apps for your phone). We recommend something like the Homedics Sound Spa. Not only is it portable, but you can adjust the level of the sound setting (if and when you want to wean baby off the noise), choose different types of noise, and it will play all night until you turn it off, so there’s no need to reset the machine through the night.
Whatever you do, ensure that the noise machine stays safely out of the cot, and that it will play continuously for more than 11 hours. Avoid anything that only plays noise while baby gets to sleep the first time - you'll need to turn it on every single time babe wakes during the night.
And tell grandma to put the vacuum away!
(Disclaimer: some lucky duckies will get babies that sleep through ANYTHING. If this is you, keep it to yourself ;)).
Always use 100% cotton bedding for your baby’s sleep environment. Cotton will better regulate temperature – it’s a natural fibre that is lightweight and breathable, so baby won’t overheat or sweat. Make sure you look closely at the labels – often bedding sold as “Cotton” will include even small levels of elastane (a synthetic material), which will cause baby to sweat.
We think organic cotton is the best choice, as it’s grown without the use of harmful pesticides. There’s a lot of affordable organic cotton bedding on the market, and an investment in good bedding is never wasted!
A baby-safe sleeping bag is a great way to keep baby warm without the need for bedding.
If baby is not rolling (usually between 0 and 6 months), swaddlingcan help mimic the security of the womb and stop the Moro Reflex, helping baby sleep for longer stretches. We use muslin wraps or cotton swaddles.
Like bedding, choosing 100% organic cotton sleepwear for baby will help them feel comfortable in bed. Make sure baby’s romper or PJs fit correctly – think about things that could irritate bubba like tags or scratchy fabrics. Avoid chain-store silks and flannelette as these will cause baby to overheat. Simple, natural sleepwear is key. Don’t forget to make it organic, baby and the planet will thank you for it.
Even from a young age, it’s good to establish that bed is a wonderful place to be. We like to send baby off to bed with special friends via stories, and for babies older than 7 months, with a baby comforter in the cot. Having the same bedtime routine every night will provide a sense of predictability and comfort for your baby – they’ll always know what to expect. Read them their favourite story, then include their favourite friends in their goodnights.