The Parent’s Guide to (All-Natural) Sleep Aids for Babies
If there's one thing that parents of young children can agree on, it's that sleep is essential…for everyone. However it can be tough to get babies and newborns to fall–and stay– asleep, which is why many parents are searching for a safe infant sleep aid to help. But what are the best sleep aids for babies and how can you best utilize them in your life? From swaddling, to white noise machines, to weighted plushies, your baby's sleep can improve, and finding the right natural infant sleep solutions starts right here. This article is the how-to parent's sleep guide where we in-depth on the most popular sleep aids for babies as well as products that have been proven effective.
Swaddling involves tightly wrapping a baby in a blanket or swaddle. Swaddling makes them feel secure, limits movement and provides a familiar feeling of being back in the womb, safe and snug. Swaddling can be done from the day they are born, anytime they are being put down for naps or a night's rest. While some babies may resist swaddling, that does not mean they don't like it!
In fact, babies love to be swaddled and it benefits them in many ways. Swaddling helps prevent their natural startle reflex, relieves colic, alleviates anxiety, promotes self-soothing, keeps your baby on their back during sleep time, and it even helps babies sleep longer. There are tons of great swaddling products out there that use Velcro or zippers, but you can also choose to keep it simple with a tried and true blanket.
Check out our step-by-step swaddling guide below:
- Use a square blanket and lay it down on a flat surface in a way that resembles a diamond. Take the top corner and fold it down toward the middle of the diamond. You should have a straight line at the top of your blanket now.
- Take your baby and lay them down on the blanket so that their neck is on the straight line. Keep their left arm straightened and to their side.
- Take the corner on the baby's left side and pull it across their body. Tuck that corner underneath their body, leaving their right arm untucked.
- Take the bottom corner of the blanket and fold it up over their body and right arm, tucking that corner underneath the right shoulder.
- Finally, keep their right arm straight down against their side as you fold the remaining corner across their body. Tuck it underneath their body and into the blanket. You want to find the balance between snug and too tight, but remember- practice makes perfect, so don’t get discouraged if it’s not quite right on your first try.
White Noise and Sound Machines
Did you know white noise has every frequency that humans can hear? This makes the sound very uniform and consistent, akin to static on a TV, which masks other noises in the environment. For babies, white noise reminds them of being in the womb, helping them feel soothed and secure. It can even help quiet the noises that babies themselves create, promoting longer, more consistent, quality sleep.
With that in mind, there are several amazing white noise machines on the market, sure to help keep your baby calm and undisturbed through the night. When deciding which machine works for you and your baby, consider the following:
- Adjustable volume options, the more control you have the better!
- The portability of the machine, aka how easy is it to set up on the go.
- How user-friendly it is, look for something simple yet effective.
- Safety features, such as auto turn-off and safeguards against overheating.
- Consumer reviews.
Warmies Weighted Stuffed Animal Companion
When it comes to safe alternative sleep aids, Warmies has a lot to offer. Warmies stuffed animal products are cuddly friends filled with all-natural flax fibers and lavender, making for a cozy –and toxin-free– experience. What's really unique about Warmies products is that they are microwavable and freezable, so parents can create a warming or cooling sensation for their baby.
But what do parents have to say about Warmies? Check out these reviews:
“Love these gave them to my 3 nieces for their new babies” - Joanne H.
“I love warmies. They are perfect for my babies when they don’t feel good, and I love them too.” - Alicia P.
“Great products. My children and I both love them.” - Mikel G.
Check out Warmies most popular products for young children:
- Standard Warmies stuffed animals: Cute, plush, stuffed animals that are chillable, warmable, and weighted, for hours of soothing comfort.
- My First Warmies: Specifically designed for babies and made with silky satin details and ultra-soft fabric.
- Warmies Jr.: Smaller version of the standard Warmies plush.
- Warmies Hugs: Adorable microwavable duo, perfect for on-the-go.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of Warmies stuffed animal baby sleep aids.
Warmies stuffed animals provide gentle, soothing warmth that can mimic the feeling of being held, so babies feel safe, secure, and calm.
Natural Stress Relief:
The weight of the stuffed animal provides a comforting, deep-pressure touch that can reduce stress and anxiety in babies, promoting relaxation.
Improved Sleep Patterns:
Many parents report that using a Warmies stuffed animal has helped their babies establish better sleep routines, leading to longer and more restful sleep.
Easy to Use:
For a bedtime cuddle buddy, simply heat the stuffed animal in the microwave for 60 seconds to create a cozy, warm sensation that can be especially comforting during bedtime.
Warmies are designed with safety in mind, featuring heatable flax packs that are microwaveable and meet safety standards.
Versatile and Portable:
As Warmies are a weighted comfort toy, they are not only great for bedtime but can also be used during playtime or while traveling, creating familiarity for babies even when they aren’t at home.
Warmies come in various animal shapes and are exceptionally soft and cuddly, making them a beloved companion for babies.
Aid for Colicky Babies:
The gentle warmth and weight of Warmies can be particularly effective for soothing colicky babies, providing relief to both infants and parents.
Parental Peace of Mind:
Knowing that your baby is comforted and sleeping peacefully can provide parents with a sense of relief and give them a chance to catch up on some much-needed rest themselves.
Natural Sleep Aid:
Warmies offer a drug-free, all-natural sleep aid option, which many parents prefer for their babies' health and well-being.
Gentle Lullabies and Sleep Music
Music stimulates the brain by releasing the oxytocin hormone also known as the cuddle hormone. Using soothing lullabies before bedtime supports babies feeling calm and safe. By using the same lullabies for their bedtime routine you are also guiding them to learn by association that it's time to sleep. Be sure to choose songs and music that are gentle in nature, avoiding ones with jarring shifts in tone and tempo.
Baby Massage and Aromatherapy
There are limited studies on the effectiveness of massages as a natural baby sleep aid. In these studies, mothers who massaged their babies before bedtime did not see improvements in how quickly their babies fell asleep. However, they did report that the babies were easier to put to sleep and that they stayed asleep throughout the night. If you do decide to massage your baby before bedtime, be sure to use baby-safe lotions or oils. These can be scented with lavender or other soothing aromas that aid in relaxation and calming.
Establishing a Consistent Bedtime Routine
A predictable, established, calming bedtime routine helps children feel more secure. These routines also help them get to sleep on their own faster as well as keep them asleep throughout the night. Without a routine, some babies struggle against being put down to sleep and may wake more in the night, disrupting everyone’s sleep. A sleep routine is where you can implement your infant sleep aids, like white noise machines or swaddling.
Pacifiers and Comfort Objects
Pacifiers are a very popular soothing and sleeping aid for babies. While pacifiers have been used for decades, there are several pros and cons parents should consider. Pacifiers soothe babies and reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), however, they can cause ear infections and be a tough habit to break. Not to mention the risk of injury in the crib at nighttime. Whether you decide to use pacifiers is up to you, but you can also try alternative comfort objects like Warmies plushies, which have a similar soothing effect, without the risks.
Part of getting a good night's sleep is the environment the baby is in. Obviously, if the baby’s room is full of bright lights and jarring noises, there's little to no chance of sleep, but even slight changes can lead to more restful sleep. Design their environment to be calming and tranquil. Shut the blinds, turn off lights, and keep the room at a mild temperature. Make sure that your crib is sturdy and secure so that they don't hurt themselves if they wake alone. A white noise machine may help in creating a sleep-inducing environment.
Feeding and Nap Schedules
Food can be a sleep aid, but it can have negative effects if done improperly. Parents who use feeding as an infant sleep aid tend to feed their babies more often. Feeding infants too often can lead to problems down the line. For example, one study found that babies fed at a higher frequency experienced more sleep issues. While there might not be a direct correlation, there is something to be said about establishing a constant feeding routine. Some parents assume that fewer naps mean more nighttime sleep, but that can cause babies to be overtired and fussy at bedtime. Babies need regular naps to promote growth, so always put them down for a nap when they’re tired!
Recognizing Sleep Cues and Soothing Techniques
You'll also need to recognize your baby's cues for when they're ready to sleep. These cues may be slow blinking, yawning, crying, pulling at their ears, and a variety of other signals. Each baby is different, so start to notice your baby's cues and follow their lead by putting them down for a rest. When babies are fussy, some parents attempt to soothe them as soon as they cry when put down. Yet, experts recommend resisting the temptation of soothing baby sleep, at least for a few minutes, because babies need to learn how to self-soothe. After which parents can use soothing techniques such as gentle bouncing, rocking, rubbing, and massaging.
Clearly, there’s no shortage of baby sleep aids out there, with everything from specially designed swaddles to machines that make a gentle noise. All-in-all, there is no one size fits all option, (although that would be wonderful), so it's up to you to decide what works best for your family. It may be that you need a combination of sleep aids so that you can focus on your own well-being while your baby rests. Don't feel bad if something doesn't work out the first time around, or if it takes a minute to find our bedtime routine! We promise, your baby's perfect sleeping aid is out there.