Newborn 0-12 Weeks
The following contains affiliate links. We may receive a small commission when you click the links provided and make purchases. We try our best to suggest quality products in an effort to help you make the best decision for you and your family. Obviously, these tools do not have to be purchased to ensure a good night's sleep, however, they are merely suggestions that will get you thinking in the right direction and certainly may make the process easier.
LOVEY: Find a lovey, whether it is a small stuffed animal, a very small lovey blanket or even a ripped up old t-shirt of yours that your child can become attached to and thus associate with sleeping. You can also put your child’s crib sheet into your t-shirt drawer for a day so it gets your smell on. “Wear” this lovey (place it in your bra for a couple of hours per day for a few days before you implement the schedule changes so that it gets your smell on it, or sleep with it). The lovey should be something that is portable and easy to replace if needed. It is good to have several so they can be switched out if needed if one is soiled. Even if your child doesn't need or want a lovey, simply use it daily with each nap and bedtime during the pre-soothing period (when you are rocking and singing to them) so they start to associate it with sleep. This should be done as soon as possible. Feel free to use Wubbanub (paci loveys) listed below or something that you have already. This lovey should stay in the child’s room where they sleep at all times. It should not be used as a play object outside of the bedroom. Most importantly the lovey should NOT be put into the crib (or bassinet) with the child. Rather, it is used so that the child connects and associates the lovey with the potential of sleep during the pre-soothing process before the child is placed into the crib.
PACIFIERS: It's good to have multiple pacis. Use this or any kind your child takes to. Even though the baby will be unable to put the pacifier into their mouth on their own, litter the crib with lots of pacis so they can be used as needed by the caregivers. It is advisable to wait to introduce the pacifier until breastfeeding is established (1-2 weeks). But if the child is fussy and it is known that a good feed was had, then it is fine to offer a paci for comfort.
BUMPERS: NO BUMPERS, TOYS, BLANKETS, ETC SHOULD BE PLACED IN OR UNDER THE CRIB OR BASSINET!
SOUND MACHINE: The sound machine listed below, although expensive, is preferred because the quality of the sound can be controlled. It’s useful for the gradual phase as well as once the implementation process is completed. A simple box fan or an app on your phone can be used in its place as well. The sound machine will help drown out extraneous noises from cars, dogs, siblings, etc. Keep the sound machine close to the bed at medium ‘volume’/speed for now. Eventually, though, eliminate the sound machine (after a few months of the child sleeping through the night). The idea is that once the child is ‘trained’, small noises, even if they wake your child, will not interfere with them soothing themselves back to sleep. It can be used occasionally and intermittently once it's eliminated for many scenarios including if there are guests at the home while the child is sleeping, there is a thunderstorm, the TV is on for the parents, or to use during travel. The sound machine is not something that should be used ‘forever’ because it becomes a crutch, eventually, that the child comes to depend on and cannot sleep without. Therefore, use it at the beginning of establishing good sleep habits but ultimately eliminate it by turning the sound down every few nights until it's completely off.
TIMER: These timers can be set:
Once the child wakes so the next sleep interval can be determined. If cues are noticed earlier, the timer can help determine what those intervals are and similarly see how long your child was able to stay awake (60, 90 minutes, 2hr15min, 3hrs, etc).
Each time a caregiver comes out of the room, during the implementation phase, so that it can be known how long you must wait before going back in the room to soothe (1, 3, 5, 7, etc minutes).
Once the child falls asleep so it can be known how long the nap length was.
ALL TRACKING APP: This list of apps track sleep, diapers, feeds, it’s a makeshift monitor and has a sound machine app as well. Check it out and see what calls out to you.
NIGHTLIGHT: It is good to have a basic night light in the room. There is an example below but any will do. You want it to be bright enough so your child can see where they are when they go to sleep as well as when they wake up in the middle of the night. Ensure that it is not too bring that it hinders your child from falling asleep. Avoid blue nightlights.
BLACKOUT CURTAINS: Make sure to use them in the room for naps AND bedtime. The room should be pitch black, even during the day for a nap, with the exception of a night light. The goal is that the child should be able to ‘see’ where they are when going to sleep as well as upon waking. Once the child is sleeping through the night for a period of 1-2 months, allow some light to enter the room, but not a lot. Below is a link for blackout film which can be used temporarily in your child’s room to block out any light that comes in on the sides of current curtains and darken it more so. Or simply use black garbage bags to block out the light. Turn off any other lights especially lights from electronic devices and keep them off during cuddling time and bedtime routine with the exception of a lamp that can be on during book time. If your child is used to sleeping in their room for naps and it's not too bright, getting new curtains may not be necessary.
VIDEO MONITOR: It is a good idea to have and keep the video monitor close by in order to visualize your child at all times to help determine why they are crying or if they are sleeping or not.
BOTTLES: These bottles claim to help babies who are gassy and report that babies do similarly with this bottle as they do when breastfed. If gassiness is not an issue, any brand baby bottle is fine to use.
SOOTHING: Look into Harvey Karp and the 5S’s (swaddling, shushing, sucking, side-lying, and swinging) to help calm a baby when fussy.
INFANT TOOTHBRUSH: Use this, without toothpaste, to brush your child’s gums after the feeding before bed. It is a good habit to get into now and it will help wake your child up if they are trying to fall asleep at the bottle/breast after a feed before bedtime.
RED LIGHT BULB: Replace the lamp light bulb with this bulb where the baby is changed and fed at night so they are not stimulated awake. Babies can not see the red light waves but the caregivers will be able to see well enough to feed, change and care for the baby without causing wakefulness for the child.
BREAST MILK SAVER: This helps save milk so it doesn't drip out or get stuck in your bra after nursing.
SWADDLE: The startle reflex can disrupt sleep. A swaddle is strongly recommended until the baby is rolling. Make sure the room is not too warm, especially when using a swaddle. Only place the baby in a onesie when using a sleepsuit/swaddle if the tendency is to wake sweaty from a nap or bedtime.
Once rolling (as early as 2 and as late as 6 months), the swaddle needs to be removed and a transitional swaddle can be used for comfort. This swaddle helps babies who still have a startle reflex and like the comfort of a swaddle but are rolling. It allows babies access to their hands and fingers through the swaddle but provides fabric to stifle the startle reflex.