Up to 30 % of parents of young children encounter difficulty with getting their little ones to fall asleep or stay asleep. Sleep is important for children’s health and development. Lack of sleep in children is known to cause learning and memory deficits resulting in difficulty attaining age appropriate milestones for younger children and poor academic performance in school aged children. It is also reported that lack of sleep in children can result in irritability, depression, hyperactivity and aggression. Moreover, disturbed sleep in children often causes stress on the entire family. Contrary to belief, children do not outgrow sleep problems and if left untreated, sleep disorders are more likely to persist.
Hospitals typically send babies home wrapped in a standard issue, pink or blue blanket. Some nurses refer to it as the ‘burrito wrap’.
But if you’ve ever cursed your baby’s swaddling blanket after she’s wriggled out of it in the middle of the night (yet again), this list is for you!
Regular Swaddling Blanket
If you’d prefer to use a regular blanket, a large, square shaped blanket or piece of material will work. Make sure it’s at least 40 inches by 40 inches, not too thick, and ideally it should have a slight stretch to it.
While less wiggly babies generally do well with a regular swaddling blanket, don’t be surprised if your more active or colicky baby breaks free from time to time.
Legless Swaddling Blankets
Many babies do well with only having their arms swaddled. For babies who simply need a way to keep those pesky arms by their sides, a legless swaddler works well.
The advantage of an arms-only swaddler is that you can safely use the swaddle when your baby is in the swing or bouncy seat. A legless swaddler is also great for using in warmer climates, and your baby is far less likely to outgrow them as she gets older.
Pre-Formed Swaddling Blankets
There are many varieties of pre-formed swaddling blankets. Some have a bit of a learning curve, but like the legless swaddlers, these are virtually escape-proof.
Most require some type of fastener in order to stay closed, while a few rely on the baby’s weight to keep the wrap closed. In both cases however, you are pretty much guaranteed a dependable swaddle.
Sleep sacks are ideal for babies who have outgrown the need to be swaddled, but who still tend to kick off their crib blanket.
Sleep sacks typically have a zipper up the middle, and while not snug like a swaddler, they are generally escape-proof. Using a sleep sack can be a good transitional blanket between a swaddler and a regular blanket.
Holly Klaassen is mom to two, and Editor-in-Chief of The Fussy Baby Site, a support and resource site for parents of fussy, colicky and spirited babies and toddlers.
This is fun. (Mainly because my kids actually sleep now) and it brings back so many memories of bad mommy dates when ‘Sleep Training‘ disagreements happened. I felt isolated, alone, tired and fed up with everyone else proffering their ‘advice’ and ‘tips‘. (It’s actually one of the reasons why I wanted to run UrbanMommies.com and UrbanDaddies.com.) Nobody should preach to you. But you should have the info that you need in an easy-to-read format. And nobody should feel alone as a new parent. It’s the hardest and best time, and that’s when you need the support. That being said, Elizabeth Pantley wrote “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” and has some fabulous gentle methods. Here’s an overview of baby sleep methods from Elizabeth Pantley.
Want to see a bunch of new moms come to blows faster than teams in a Stanley Cup playoff? Mention infant sleep training – and then talk about Richard Ferber. We review his ideology so you can pick a side for the fight. Just remember, you are the parent and your own insincts blended with your baby’s cues cannot be preached at by anybody, no matter how much of an offense they can play. (And moms also reserve the right to change their mind if their first choice doesn’t work). Here is an overview of Baby Sleep Methods from Richard Ferber.
Q – My boy was born July, 2005. Everything is ok except sleep. During the night, he always cries, wakes up and then takes about 1 hour to sleep again. During the day he is happy and active and can have about a 2 hour nap every afternoon. I am worried that he lacks something in his body. Could you please give me some suggestions?
Ask any parent about the most difficult part of having a baby and we are willing to bet that SLEEP will be among the top three. Our handy sleep tracker chart can at least help you to figure out when sleep is happening, and if there are any trends towards lengthier slumber! We have a ton of articles on sleep as well if you need some guidance. Baby Sleep Tracker
Q – What are some gentle methods I can use to encourage sleep if I don’t feel comfortable letting the baby cry?
A – It’s very hard to train a baby to fall asleep by themselves without some crying as very often you are changing what the baby knows. As an example if the baby is used to being nursed to sleep and you would like to teach them how to fall asleep by themselves they will cry on the first night whether you are in or out of the room as they are naturally responding to the changes that you have made of not nursing them.
Well, we certainly had babies who just wouldn’t sleep and did our fair share of sling-carrying, hammock sleeping, and rocking for hours. If only this had been available. Much like the Amby Bed from Dr. Sears, the Hushamok is a super-stylish alternative which will help to lull infants to sleep in a snug cocoon. It comes with 2 sheets, a travel bag, and a hip stand.
Q: I have been hearing a lot about putting my baby to sleep in a Sleep Sack. I have seen sleepsacks in cotton as well as fleece. Is fleece a safe fabric for my baby, even in the warmer summer months?