What’s The Best Sleep Aid?

It’s the age-old conundrum. How on earth do you get your baby to sleep through the night?

From sleepyheads to swaddling blankets, dummies to dream sheep, there are hundreds of products, routines, lotions and potions out there that claim to help babies and toddlers to sleep better. For example, Johnson’s say a three-step routine using their Bedtime Baby Bath is clinically proven to help little ones sleep better in one week, and the team at Roro Lulla Dolls claim that cuddling one of their dolls can help your child to have longer periods of uninterrupted sleep.

So now it’s over to you. In your experience, what’s been the best sleep aid you’ve come across? *asking for a friend*

Image by Carrie Lavers

The loves of Lisa’s life are Rich and their kids, Lyra and Jenson. Although she does wish they would let her have a shower in peace every once in a while.

28 Comments. Leave new

Currently 5 days old and using a gro swaddle bag and the Sleepyhead. Mixed results, 2 nights really good, other nights she just wants to be held all night long.

Reply

Never found anything that was a miracle cure for all eternity. I have a nearly four year old who makes at least a nightly appearance in our bedroom. What does help him switch off at night (which he really struggles with) is a ‘little elephant who wanted to go to sleep’ story cd I bought off Amazon. Its lovely for toddlers and preschoolers. I’d recommend it….it even starts with a disclaimer that it will make you drowsy!

We’ve always done (bath-every other night), teeth, stories, songs, bed and go up to bed at the same time every day.

My younger son sleeps better than his older bro but until he was 12 months he’d wake up for feeds through the night. I can’t remember what stopped that cycle and need. I guess he just stopped feeling so hungry! Sleep deprivation.for 4 years has wiped my memories!

Things that helped as a newborn with both babies….white noise, musical owl from Fisher Price. But they only helped a bit and just for a while, like I said…nothing has helped us long term. One child sleeps better than the other and I am not sure why!

Reply

Yup agree. Nothing works forever.
Stretchy swaddling wrap with family heirloom sleepy dust for the first 8 weeks then into the larger crib so they had move to roam around and flail their hands. They went from wanting to be rocked on a yoga ball for hours to not wanting to be touched and self settle.
Then it all went to crap at 4 months again so I’d say absolutely sod all works. They’ll get it when they get it.

And no amount of routine around nap time will help either. Solid one napping in the day never made a jot of difference

Reply

Time. Literally the only thing guaranteed to eventually work. Babies will sleep through the night when they are ready – though that might not be till they’re at school!

Reply

My experience is they are all different so there’s no one size fits all method unfortunately!

My oldest, it turned out, slept much better at night once he was in a daytime routine, including naps. My youngest slept really easily and well from birth, then became more tricky as a toddler.

Totally unhelpful!

Reply

As Emma said, time! We like white noise for masking sudden loud noise and since about 16 months a bunny to cuddle helps. Bedtime routine too, but mostly it’s been a gradual progression with the usual ups and downs of teething etc.

Reply

Dummies and loads of them! I got some air wraps for the cot (like a breathable mesh bumper) and dotted about 10 dummies around the cot. When he woke it the night for it he could scrabble around and found one and went back to sleep then.
I know dummies are a highly debatable subject, but it worked for us.
I didn’t do this until he was about 8 months old and had started refusing deeds in the night for a solid 2-3 weeks.
I don’t think it would have worked had I done it earlier because he wanted something other than that comfort before then.
Other than I think time – no baby is the same and what works for one child (and their parents) isn’t going to work for everyone.

Reply

Claire was it you that mentioned the bumpers before on RMF? I bought some on your recommendation 🙂 they worked a treat for a while but now Jenson wants a dummy AND to be picked up!

Reply

Yes it probably was me – I pass this onto anyone I know who does use dummies – it was my saviour!! Oh poor Jenson, or poor you!

Reply

I think to help them fall asleep a nice routine- we do bath, story, milk and cuddles with tranquil turtle on (it’s amazig my 2.5 year old still loves it). Neither of mine have issues falling asleep. Staying asleep though, I think that’s just Time! My toddler sneaks in to our bed every night and my 6 month old still has a night feed. I think sleeping through is just when they’re ready regardless of gadgets and products*. My little one has a comforter, elder one never did as he’s always used me as his comforter 😬

*not to say I haven’t bought them all in moments of desperation, I have!

Reply

Aww, we have the tranquil turtle too. My husband always blames it for making him fall asleep!

Reply

My husband falls asleep whenever he does bedtime too!!

Reply

I’ve found that a gin and tonic helps me sleep so well I don’t notice when my four year old wakes so daddy has to deal with him.

Reply

Ha ha! YES Helen!

Reply

Yep time.

But also different things for different ages- S has been taking her pj trousers off at night and waking up frozen at 4am so last night we did a hot water bottle and presto! 12 hours without a peep. She was a rotten sleeper as a baby, only the move into her own big bed at 21 months made a difference.

P loved his rip off BabyDan version of the sleepyhead, but once he grew out of it… he sleeps with me and that’s the only way to get a good amount of shut eye. I’m embracing it though, great to have that second time mum confidence that it’s best for us and I know he will move out when he’s ready- probably straight into his own big bed.

Funnily enough I am reading “The Science Of Sleep” which is FASCINATING. Recommended.

Reply

Time! I think these ‘props’ can help, but nothing can MAKE your baby sleep through the night until they’re good and ready and in my experience it’s easier to just accept that and go with the flow rather than obsess over tying to make ‘sleeping through’ happen! There are lots of reasons that babies wake and it’s very normal for them to do so. Do love the Sleepyhead though for helping a newborn to feel secure and settled, but it will in no way guarantee a full nights sleep! x

Reply

I’m probably going to jinx us and I really really hope I don’t come across smug (I’m not I promise) but we’ve been mega lucky with our boys with sleep. Our first slept through from 8 1/2 months and our second from 10 weeks, both roughly 7-7 There are a few things we’ve done that I would ALWAYS do again (if there is an again!)

Firstly, baby in a Sleepyhead from birth and a dummy from 4 weeks. Both babies were exclusively bf hence waiting until 4 wks for dummy. We put the Sleepyhead in whatever room we were in during the day and didn’t try and be quiet so the babies slept through noises well. They stayed in the Sleepyhead until about 4/5 months and we’d put them in the sitting room in the evening with us with the tv on until we went to bed. Both slept in our room until 6 months. We used a Ewan the dream sheep but I’m not convinced it did much long term. They slept in the Sleepyhead in the cot at night so transferring to cot was ok.

The first gave up his dummy himself at 7 months and the second found his fingers at 10 weeks & ditched the dummy & from then on slept through. Yes if they’re poorly or teething they’d wake but we’ve always done a little bit of tough love and did three nights of controlled crying at 8 1/2 months to get first boy to sleep through (he was habitually waking for a non-needed feed and didn’t feed properly)
I know that isn’t for everyone but it worked for us.

Also, when they wake I’ve never, even as newborns, rushed to pick them up – this has definitely worked for us as now when they wake in the morning I can fit a shower in before getting them up. Obvs if they were distressed I wouldn’t leave them. And also this has helped them self settle if they do wake early from naps.

They both need lots of sleep and I’m massively a routine person (from about 5 months) which I think does help. But most of all we’re just so lucky.

I hope some of the above might help someone else. You can do anything with sleep – there’s a reason sleep deprivation is a form of torture. Good luck! Xx

Reply

Oh gosh that reads id do tough love if they woke when teething or poorly – I don’t & I wouldn’t!

Reply

Really noticed an improvement with sleeping through when we started using the MyHummy Sleepy head. The sensor it has worked a treat. All of the other white noise aids cut off abruptly after 20/40 minutes which then woke her! Rated the sleepyhead until she was 7 months or so. We then bridged the gap of transferring her into her cot in the nursery by placing the tubing of the sleepyhead under her fitted sheet around the top of the cot, definitely helped her to transition into the cot and then we removed it after a few weeks.
I went to a baby sleep workshop and found it so helpful to learn a little of the science of sleep, we noticed a huge improvement in the night sleep once we got the naps during the day sorted. We followed the 2-3-4 routine and it worked a treat for a long time. Worked sooo well until it didn’t and now we are cutting down to one nap to see how we go!

Reply

I’m going to give this 2-3-4 routine a go!

Reply

I spent so much time, energy and tears trying to get my daughter to sleep better. She was a great sleeper until 4 months then it all went a bit mad until 10 months. And she would never really nap in her cot. It’s my biggest regret as I actually feel like it spoiled my maternity leave a bit and nothing really made a huge difference.
We tried all sorts – white noise all night, swaddling (helped a little as she used to flail her arms and wake herself up), strict nap routine, sleepy bubble bath, massage – and nothing but time really made any difference. She started sleeping through at around 11 months and just after that started to nap in her cot. She’s now 2.5 and still naps during the day and sleeps all night.
It’s so hard when you are in the sleep deprived trenches and desperate for an answer, but in my experience there isn’t anything you’re doing wrong and there isn’t one magic fix. Accepting that earlier would have been better much for my own wellbeing, even I was still just as tired!!

Reply

I’m just coming round to this acceptance and you’re right about my own well-being, it is liberating!

Reply

My little one is 5.5 months and I have found going with the flow is what works for us! I spent a week before Christmas stressing about whether he was napping not on me, he has since decided he can’t fall asleep being held and I miss those snoozes in my arms now! But you’re absolutely right, I think especially with daytime naps just do what they need to get to sleep. We do naps in his pram, because it works and he is happier all round that way. I either go for a walk with him or push him in the kitchen with white noise off until he is asleep. They change so often don’t they that everything only works for a while and then they change and all of a sudden it’s something new they need. Xx

Reply

Does anyone have any tips for getting a newborn to settle in their own bed? Currently reluctantly co-sleeping with my 12 day old as he won’t go into his Snuzpod… would a sleepyhead in the Snuzpod work? They’re quite expensive so recommendations would be appreciated!

Reply

The Sleepyhead fits perfectly in the Snuzpod and it did the trick at getting Jenson to settle when he was tiny Louise x

Reply

The snuzpod + sleepyhead worked for us Louise and we had a baby that hated being put down! We ended up co sleeping with him but the sleepyhead was a godsend in those first few weeks when I was nervous about co sleeping because he was so tiny x

Reply

Very timely this article, if only to reassure me that my current experience with my 6 month old is normal and I’m not alone (my 3 year old slept a lot better from the beginning than my 6 month old does).

Just wish that well meaning family members would stop asking about her sleep, I quote my mother ‘you can’t go on like this’. Erm, ok I’ll just sell my baby then?!!! Does anyone else hear from people of our parents’ generation that all their children slept through from 6 weeks?!

Reply

Oh my lord all the time, I’ve been given so much “advice” for getting him to sleep “better”….. fill up with water 🙈, obvs crying it out, putting him down, giving him ‘real food’, the list is endless. Ironically when I did leave him to cry for 5 minutes as it had been a bad night without my husband to help and I needed to just have a little breather she came bumbling in saying “oh what’s the matter”. This is what leaving him to it sounds like mum!

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *