A baby is no different to us when it comes to sleep – we sleep better when we are comfortable.
So how do we achieve this with a baby?
If you think about a baby’s home for the nine months before it arrives: it is warm and a relatively small space. So I think it is definitely logical that a sleep space should look recreate a similar space, especially for the early weeks and months. (Linking in with the concept of the fourth trimester)
Our little one seemed to settle easier when snuggled in a swaddle. They say it mimics the womb and can make them feel safe.
We did have a Grosnug swaddle – but as George was 8lb born the newborn size of this didn’t last long. Also George wouldn’t drift off in the Grosnug (only a blanket swaddle) and he would tend to wake when transferring him into it. However, I have friends who have used the Grosnug with great success and the upside is that the swaddle bag is less likely to undo when baby wriggles and moves during sleep.
Our swaddle was simply a large muslin or blanket which we wrapped George in to secure his arms and to make him feel content.
Even when George would fight his sleep and flail his arms in protest, the most effective way of settling him and getting him to sleep would be to wrap him in a swaddle, a gentle shush and a rhythmic bum pat.
Swaddling was definitely one of the things that got us through with getting George to settle and go off to sleep!!
The use of a sleeping bag was an easy way for us to comply with the Lullaby Trust’s guidelines and to give me peace of mind: the warmth and comfort of a blanket without the worry of it going over the baby’s face while they sleep.
We have used different brands of sleeping bags – with different tog ratings for varying temperatures – and we always have a spare in case the other is in the wash. The types of sleeping bags we have used include ones that:
- Zip open/closed at the side with shoulder poppers. This design of sleeping bag is by far our favourite. As the bags zip from the side, the way in which it opens up it makes it very easy to lay open and place a sleeping baby into – minimising the risk of waking him/her.
- Zip open/closed in the middle – this type of sleeping bag is put on like a jacket: by putting baby’s arms into the arm holes. This was of little use for us, and presumably for most newborn babies who more-often-than-not fall asleep in arms, as transferring them into a sleeping bag of this type runs the risk of waking them. Perhaps an option for an older baby that goes to bed drowsy or awake and can self settle. We have this bag for daytime naps and as a backup when our Grobag is being washed – George at 6 months goes down awake and drifts off himself so it is an option. I still prefer the side zip bags!
Brands we have used:
Aldi – we have had two from here and both lasted well. They became a little bobbly following numerous washes but no quibbles with the material and durability. Very reasonably priced for decent quality. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
M&S – despite the brand, the quality of the sleeping bag we purchased was not as great as I would have expeced. When fastening the poppers I could sometimes feel the material inside stretching and tearing. I would look to other brands before purchasing another, esspecially for the price. ⭐⭐
The Little White Company – amazing quality and washed well. Not the cheapest but I would pay it again for the quality. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
GroBag – we have two of this brand (different tog ratings) and both are equally great. These are not the cheapest of brands and I waited until they were on offer to make a purchase. They wash well, great quality and the Gro range comes with a room temperature chart that tells you what to dress your baby in for sleeping – extremely useful! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Lidl – decent quality and pretty reasonable on price. The main downside is that it zips in the middle. ⭐⭐⭐
Sainsbury TU – similarly as with the Lidl sleeping bag it was a zip in the middle design. This we only tried once as it was when George was a couple of months old and it was too awkward to put a sleeping baby into. So it ended up having very little use! ⭐⭐⭐
A baby may wake if they are too hot or too cold, so room temperature does make a difference. Be mindful that what we class as a comfortable temperature may not be the same for a baby.
There is plenty of information on appropriate room temperatures for babies available on the internet. But that also means ideally have a room thermometer to measure the temperature in the room baby is sleeping in.
As mentioned, the Gro brand provides a basic temperature gauge when you buy any of its sleeping bag and swaddle bag products. Although this is useful, and handy for use in different rooms, it is only a crude reading and can only be seen in the light.
We purchased a GroEgg 2 prior to George’s arrival and this has been an amazing product, not just for temperature but it also has a light that changes according to temperature.
The temperature reading is very accurate and measures to one decimal point (e.g. 22.6 degrees celcius). It displays this by an illuminated digital display, which is clearly visible day or night – even if you choose to turn the light off!
The light not only allows a quick assessment of room temperature but it also acts as a decent night light. The light can be dimmed and turned off if required. We have also taken this abroad with us to give us that peace of mind that the room temperature and air conditioning was just right!
We have used our GroEgg in conjunction with the correct top-rated sleeping bag to ensure that George’s sleep environment is comfortable! Definitely something that has gotten us through and one less thing to stress about!
Let’s face it sleep is enough of a minefield, so if we can get this right we can rule it out as a reason as to why baby may not be sleeping!