Getting ready for the baby #2: Sleeping


Next in E's ultra-helpful getting-ready-for-baby series was sleeping. The things she says we'll need:

1. The Happiest Baby on the Block.

LOTS of people have recommended this particular book to me, and I have it standing by.

2. Swaddling blankets.

E says:

Someone is likely to show you how to swaddle a bb while you're in the hospital. There are also instructions in THBOTB. I know you have some of the Aden and Anais swaddling blankets, which are great for bigger babies. When the twins were brand new, they were engulfed by those, and we used Carter's flannel receiving blankets, because I was worried about too much fabric around them while they were asleep. SWADDLING IS MAGIC.

E. calls the combination sleepsack/swaddler even more magical, but warns it is only available in newborn sizes.

3. Sound machine(s).

E. is a big devotee of sound machines and has several different kinds. She says the no-frills white noise machine is good for naps or during times when heavy-duty noise cancellation is needed. For nightly use, she recommends the Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine, which has several sounds and a built-in nightlight. When her babies were very small, though, she swore by the Cloud b Sleep Sheep, which can be velcroed to the side of the crib and has a timer feature.

4. Mobile.

E says she thought mobiles were a racket at first, but then hooked up her Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim-Mobile to a small motor. Starting at about 5 or 6 weeks, her babies would watch that mobile for 15 or 20 minutes at a time, giving her precious time when she didn't have to be holding them. That's a good enough reason for me to try it!

5. Crib sheets.

For cute, non-pastel crib sheets, E suggests Carousel Designs, and says she also got some nice sets at K-Mart. She didn't mention how many I should have on hand--anybody want to answer that in the comments?

E also suggests some Summer Infant Ultimate Organic Crib Sheets, which snap on so that the whole crib doesn't have to be re-made if the sheet needs to be changed.

That's the end of E's list, but I have one addition for our specific situation:

6. Co-sleeper sheets/mattress protectors.

We plan to use a co-sleeper for the first few months of Buzzy's life, so we'll need sheets and a mattress protector or two for that as well as the crib.

What am I missing? Leave a comment!


On blankets, I could never figure out how to swaddle with the Aden & Anais ones--they're very pretty but just didn't work for me for swaddling. We used this blanket:
They sold it to me at Isis and it was seriously lifesaving--it's the right size and right amount of stretch for swaddling and works amazingly well.

We have the same mobile and it is awesome. It was basically the most exciting thing to ever happen to baby--she got it for Christmas when she was about 2 months old.

You might also want the Happiest Baby DVD--we just read the book but the DVD has the advantage of letting you see how he does things. I would watch it *before* baby comes--after you might be too fried to take time to watch/read things even if they will help you in the long run.

Just to be contrary, our baby didn't go for much of the stuff in Happiest Baby on the Block, i.e. she hated being swaddled and the "shhhh" and white noise etc didn't have much effect. I guess we were blessed with a baby who's never had colic, sleeps pretty well, and really doesn't cry a lot, so it's not really aimed at her. The best thing in that book for me was the last chapter, which talks honestly about the feelings you may experience when you're a new parent, which was really good for me because I had some post-partum depression and didn't know what had hit me.

There's another book that I found way more useful in a nuts-and-bolts kind of way, and that's "Eat Sleep Poop" by Scott Cohen. He has calming, reassuring answers for all my neurotic moments of panic. I *highly* recommend it.

We went crazy with the organic cotton mattress, organic wool mattress protector, organic sheets etc, but to be honest, I don't know if I'd bother with all organic bedding now. It's kind of expensive and we have to wash it so much (because angel baby spits up a lot) that it hardly seems worth it to have all the gorgeous, spendy things I insisted on while I was pregnant. If I could go back and do it all again, I'd buy way fewer things.

Mattress protectors, they're really useful.

I liked Happiest Baby on the Block, if just for ideas when I had a 3 week old screaming at me. lol.

I'd get at least two cosleeper sheets.

Yay! I've been looking forward to this.

HBOTB was a great book. If you're pressed for time, rent the DVD. It gives the same basic material, but in a shorter timespan and no reading necessary. Plus, you can watch the swaddling technique. Netflix has it.

LOVE those Aiden + Anais blankets. They were the best gifts we got. We swaddled with them even when he was a newborn (just folded). The bamboo and muslin are both really nice.

Someone gave us a "sleepy sheep" for white noise. It worked okay, but wasn't miraculous. We also tried a free iPhone white noise app. White noise wasn't something that helped too much, in our case.

Never had a mobile.

We bought too many crib sheets, as co-sleeping helped our family get the most sleep. Luckily, they were just cheap cotton sheets from Amazon. No real harm done.

I needed a flannel mattress protector for on top of our sheets (even with a waterproof mattress protector under the fitted sheet) to lie on while side-lying breastfeeding in bed. Otherwise I got milk everywhere. We bought three. They were also useful for diaper changes (on top of the changing pad cover). And we traveled with them, to save family and hotel room sheets from being soaked with milk. Eventually, my supply regulated and I didn't need them anymore. I also slept with a washcloth or small towel because sometimes one breast leaks or sprays while the baby is nursing on the other side. This was a nighttime issue, so I'm including it here. ;)

We also found a Bjorn Bouncer great for naps when he was spitting up a lot or otherwise fussy. But we did not buy it at full price. I found it on Craigslist.

Here's a list I found of my most-used baby supplies (not just sleep-related). I sent this to a pregnant friend when my son was 4 months old and she asked me what I used the most:

changing pad and two changing covers (one to wash, one to use)
travel bed or Moses basket (to move from room to room)
two-three flannel mattress protectors for putting under baby (spit up) and me (leaking milk) in our bed
portable changing pad for diaper bag
coconut oil instead of diaper cream or baby lotion
hooded towel for baths/swimming
aden + anais swaddle blankets — LOVE THEM. The bamboo ones are especially soft, but I have the muslin ones, too. They were gifts.
baby nail emery boards and baby nail scissors
sun hat/warm hat (depending on season)
flannel wipes (I use them for burp rags mostly)
diaper wipes (I use compostable, but don't compost them, oops!) — some big packs, some smaller packs that fit in our diaper bag
breast milk storage bags, pump, and pump parts microwave steaming bags and a couple of bottles – we use playtex ventaire (only needed if pumping milk)
linen ring sling – I usually use this
my husband prefers and uses the Ergo
infant tylenol
I have a nosefrida and filters but haven't used it yet
non-medicated saline drops
temporal thermometer (the forehead kind)
baby socks/legwarmers in colder weather
amber teething necklace
We LOVE our Bjorn bouncy chair, but not all babies do.
A couple of teethers or small toys to grab

If using cloth diapers:
cloth diaper covers (I like Imse Vimse, Bummi, and Thirsties aplix)
Snappi for diapers
2 wet bags for diaper bag
diaper doublers for night
diaper pail (ours came from the diaper service)

I bought a mini-co-sleeper and though we haven't used it yet the tip I found online for the sheets is: a king sized pillowcase fits the mattress perfectly. We have king sized pillows that I have sewed covers for so I haven't bought anything new. It takes a yard of fabric to sew a cover and it's a very easy project.

Thanks for your series here! I'm at T minus 1 week so any tips are eagerly gobbled up.

Totally agree about white noise- we have had an old ipod plugged into a speaker/charger with a beach noise track on repeat for Penelope; using the same track for Edmund. Ben got some fancy little speaker thing that an sd card plugs into, so that's what we use for travel now. The sleep sheep drove me crazy because it turned off after 42 minutes. 42??

If you want to imprint a lovey, you could get that started early. Keep it between you when you nurse or give a bottle, and when you rock Buzzy. Penelope never took one, but Edmund seems to like his already.

For crib sheets, I've been fine with about 3 sets- two cotton, and one flannel for colder nights. But, my babies haven't been blow-out/pee through diaper babies (though E spits up enough for me to have to wash sheets regularly).

I haven't read the first post yet, but the other thing to think about are places to put Buzzy down around the house. We have a 2 story house, so we've had a pack-in-play set up downstairs with a diaper changing station attachment. Super convenient to not have to go upstairs to change his diaper! I also have a hand-me-down papasan chair that I keep in the bathroom. I've found that nursing can induce the need to poop pretty quickly, so it's nice to have a place to put E down, especially when Ben is busy entertaining P!

Oh- and my most essential piece of equipment is a 5 foot long stretch of jersey fabric. We cut it in half lenght-wise, tapered the ends, and voila! 2 faux moby wraps for a 3rd of the price. I also love the ring sling, but E is much heavier than P was, so I don't use it as much this time around. But both my kids would need to be worn and bounced on the big yoga ball for the first 6-8 weeks. (They were both really fussy at first, but at around 8-9 weeks it's like a switch was flipped and then I had happy babies. For full term babies, the switch often flips around 6 weeks, but mine were both 3 weeks early).

Speaking of the fussy switch, I found the chapter on newborn sleep in the Weissbluth book to be really helpful to understand why my babies seemed to be just not content in the world until then. They weren't colicky and I could always soothe them, but it took measures. :)

I really love the Summer Infant SwaddleMe wrap. They actually do go beyond newborn size and are made for babies up to ~20 lbs. It's been really handy because if my baby isn't properly wrapped, she flails herself awake and swaddling while you're sleep deprived at 3 AM is tough.

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