Best Baby Sleeping Positions

best baby sleeping positionsBabies sleep up to eighteen hours per day, and they’ll zonk out just about anywhere. This is especially true in the first few months, when they generally divide their time between eating, sleeping, and filling the diaper.

I’m always amazed at how babies and toddlers can sleep in what seems like incredibly awkward positions, for hours and hours, but wake up refreshed and ready to go.

In this article, we’ll talk about some of the common baby sleep positions, including ones that are safest, help address a problem, or are just downright adorable.

Crib Sleeping Positions

baby crib sleeping positions

Sleeping in the crib, sort of (Credit: Pinterest)

The crib is the safest place to put your baby to sleep, according to the safe sleep guidelines put out by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Two quick notes: if you buy a new crib, be sure you assemble it correctly and tighten all of the screws.

Note, if you obtain a used or second-hand crib, be certain that it’s not one of the drop-side models. Those have been discontinued due to safety issues. Speaking of which, you shouldn’t use crib bumpers in your crib, no matter how cute they are. No matter how much you paid for them.

Back Sleeping

Back to Sleep is a national baby sleep safety campaign in the U.S. designed to encourage parents to put their infants on their backs to sleep. This is considered the safest sleeping position for an infant, because it reduces the risk of SIDS by helping prevent newborns from smothering.

Incidentally, the AAP also recommends a firm, fitted mattress for your crib. It shouldn’t be super-soft like a pillow-top mattress. See our article on the 3 best by crib mattresses for some good examples.

Sleeping on Belly

baby belly sleeping positions

TVs. They don’t make ’em like they used to.

A few decades ago, most babies were put on their stomachs to sleep. The thinking was that it would help in case they spit up, and babies were quite comfortable sleeping in that position. Unfortunately, belly sleeping is no longer recommended because it increases the risk of suffocation.

By the time your little one is 12 months old, however, they’ll be quite capable of rolling around in the crib, and they may often end up on their bellies. But at this point they’re generally strong enough to move if they have trouble breathing, so it’s less worrisome.

Side Sleeping

Some parents are in favor of putting the baby to sleep on his side (or they have a baby that seems to prefer it). At the newborn stage, this is less desirable because it’s easy for the baby to end up on her stomach. As I said, though, an older baby (6-12 months) might grow to enjoy this sleeping position, and there’s not much you can do about it. Don’t worry, but just be sure there are no pillows, stuffed animals or loose items in the crib.

Positions for Reflux or Colic

If your infant has reflux or colic — in other words, tends to spit up a lot — you should still put him on his back to sleep. However, to put gravity on your side, you can elevate the head of the crib using a different height setting. Or, in a pinch, just put a phone book between the mattress and the crib board. The elevation should be slight (less than 10 degrees).

Baby Sleep Positioners

cute baby sleeping positions

Sleeping in dad’s stinky slipper. Now that’s a tired baby! (Pinterest)

Your baby’s sleep position is important, and you should encourage safe sleep by always putting your baby on his or her back in the crib. However, it’s also important not to buy into the hype. I’m talking about the so-called baby sleep positioners that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS by keeping your baby in the middle of the crib and on their back.

These things are not recommended by pediatricians, and they actually pose a hazard. The second your baby wiggles out of them, they’re just another suffocation hazard in the crib. If you’re not convinced, read my article on the myth of baby sleep positioners.

Co-sleeping Positions

Co-sleeping with your baby has a few different forms — there’s simple room-sharing, in which your baby sleeps in the same room with you in a crib or bassinet, and there’s bed sharing, where you bring the baby to bed with you. The AAP advises against bed sharing with an infant, emphasizing that it can be particularly hazardous when:

  • One or both parents are exhausted, on medication, or drinking alcohol
  • There are loose blankets and pillows in the bed
  • Other children are sharing the bed
co-sleeping positions

Credit: via Pinterest

There are people that co-sleep with their babies. In some cultures, especially in second- and third-world countries, it’s quite common. Even in the U.S. there are many parents who bed share. Most of them take steps to do it “safely” by having a defined space for the baby, removing loose blankets and pillows, etc.

Aside from the late-night nursing convenience, I can’t see what the benefits are. But I won’t tell you what to do; I don’t need a bunch of people leaving comments about how co-sleeping is perfectly safe and they raised 9 children doing it without issue.

Instead, I will point out that the baby sleep positions outlined above also apply to co-sleeping situations. Back sleeping is best!

Co-Sleeping Bassinet

If you want to sleep close to your baby,  but don’t want to bed share, consider one of the co-sleeping bassinets like the Arm’s Reach that fit right up next to your bed, keeping your baby close to you but in a safe little place of his own.

 Final Word on Baby Sleeping Positions

The ironic thing about baby sleeping positions is that newborns will sleep just about anywhere, any way, and there’s really one perfect option: on his back in a crib with a fitted mattress and nothing else in it. As they get older, you become less worried about SIDS and also less able to control how they sleep.

Inevitably, when I sneak in to check on my boys, one of them is buried in his blankets like a homeless person, and the other is sleeping in a half-crawl position, crammed up against the side of the crib, both of them virtual poster children for the “don’ts” of baby sleep safety. So trust your own instincts and do what you think is best.

10 Baby Safe Sleep Tips

Baby safe sleep tipsEstablishing healthy sleep habits for your baby is hard enough, but there are safety concerns that are paramount. The American Academy of Pediatrics publishes extensive guidelines for safe baby sleep, and if you have two hours of free time I encourage you to go read them.

Since you probably don’t have two minutes of free time, let me boil it down for you in these brief safe sleep tips. See our article on Back to Sleep safety guidelines if you want the detailed recommendations.

Crib Sleeping

Many of the recommendations for safe baby sleep center around how and when you put your baby into the crib.

1. Put your baby in the crib to sleep.

A newborn will sleep just about anywhere, but that doesn’t mean that you should allow this to happen regularly. Get in the habit of putting your little on in the crib or bassinet for naps and for nighttime sleep. It’s the safest place and it’s a good habit to establish early because it helps with baby sleep training later on.

The Back to Sleep campaign is a public baby sleep safety program encouraging parents to put babies on their backs (as opposed to their bellies) to sleep. Make sure you do that, too.

2. Only the baby goes in the crib to sleep.

In other words, no loose blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, or other things that pose a suffocation hazard. You should, of course, dress your baby for sleep and use a swaddle or sleep sack to keep him safe and comfortable. That’s it. This also means no crib bumpers! I know they’re cute and seem like they would protect your baby’s soft little body from the unforgiving wooden bars of the crib, but they’re not worth it.

3. Provide a firm sleep surface.

You probably think that your baby should only sleep floating on soft, fluffy clouds, like the angel that she is. But a firm sleep surface is recommended: a crib mattress that’s fitted for the crib that you have. It’s safe because your baby’s little face can’t sink into it. Luckily, most cribs and mattresses have a standard size (52″ by 27″). Most importantly, there shouldn’t be any gaps between the mattress and the crib.

4. Keep the crib safe

Your baby’s crib should be one that’s safety-certified by the JPMA or other entities. This doesn’t mean it has to be new, but if you purchase a second-hand crib make sure it’s not one of the drop-side models that aren’t made anymore because of safety concerns. Also, position your crib in the nursery to avoid these hazards:

  • Curtains, mini blind cords, electrical cords, or other strangulation hazards. These need to be out of arm’s reach for your baby.
  • Heavy, sharp, or otherwise dangerous objects that could fall or be pulled into the crib. A big lamp on a cord is a classic example.
  • Directly in the airflow of a heater or air conditioner. Just make sure they’re not pointing directly into the crib where your baby will be sleeping.

Safe Things To Do

Safe baby sleep guidelines from the AAP also cover some best practices for feeding and soothing your baby at night.

5. Breast feed your infant

There are plenty of good reasons to breast feed your baby, enough that I don’t need to dwell on them here. What you probably didn’t know is that research shows that breastfed babies have a reduced risk of SIDS. This likely has to do with the attentiveness of a mother that breastfeeds, but whatever the reason, any nursing you can do will benefit your little one.

6. Offer a pacifier

Here’s something I always recommend for baby sleep training, and it happens to have a safety benefit as well: offering a pacifier at bedtime. Researchers aren’t sure why, but pacifier use has a slightly protective effect against SIDS. It’s also great for soothing your baby back to sleep after a wake-up. See our reviews of the best baby pacifiers for some good options.

7. Sleep in the same room as your baby

Perhaps surprisingly, the AAP recommends sleeping in the same room as your baby. This allows parents to keep a closer eye on the little one overnight, and it’s also convenient during those first few months when the little one wakes up every 2-4 hours.

Bad Habits to Avoid

Now that we’ve covered the do’s, it serves to cover some of the things you should not do. These are things to avoid.

8. Smoking near the baby

It’s not good for you or the little one. It’s not even good to allow people who smoke around the baby — the chemicals from tobacco smoke linger in hair, clothes, cars, you name it. When these things come near your baby, your little one’s perfect, just-formed lungs take them in. There’s no better motivation for someone to quit smoking than a sweet little baby coming into their life.

9. Co-sleeping after alcohol, drug, or sleep aid use

I’ve already spoken out against co-sleeping, but some people are going to do it. That’s their prerogative, but one time it must absolutely be avoided is when one or both parents have used alcohol, drugs, or a sleep aid. These simply make adults less attentive and more likely to put the baby in danger. Avoid at all costs.

10. Sleep positioners, heart rate monitors, and other hyped-up products.

There are people that will try to sell you just about anything, and they’ll use your baby against you to do it. You don’t need, and you really should not, use baby sleep wedge or positioner. Once your baby wiggles out of it, it’s just a suffocation hazard.

They do make home heart rate monitors, but unless advised to do so by you pediatrician, don’t use one. They aren’t for casual use and might lead you to a false sense of security. Also, the consumer products are a joke compared to the high-tech devices we were required to lease (at outrageous prices) to monitor our preemie twins at home.

Bottom line, don’t buy the hype! Use common sense, be attentive, and your baby will be just fine.

Mini Crib Reviews

baby mini crib reviewsMini cribs offer a cozy, compact, and safe place for your baby to sleep. As with most products, there are lots of choices. We’ve done the research to find and review the best mini cribs to help you find one that’s right for your baby.
Benefits of Mini Cribs
Mini Crib Reviews
Mini Crib Mattress Reviews

5 Benefits of Mini Cribs

Many parents invest in a mini crib in place of or in addition to a standard crib. These aren’t the little bassinets that you saw at the foot of the parents’ bed in black and white movies. These are full-featured cribs with solid construction and stunning designs, but slightly more compact than a standard crib. They’re still quite roomy; even a 2-year-old would be comfortable in most of them. Here are five great benefits that mini cribs offer:

1 Saving space in an apartment or small house. Mini cribs have a footprint that’s 25% smaller than a standard crib. That saves you a lot of space if you have a small nursery, apartment, or house. Surprisingly, though, babies are usually content in mini cribs even when they’re 2 years old and 25 pounds. A mini crib is sturdier than a portable bassinet. And most mini cribs let you install musical baby mobiles and other accessories.
2 Overnights with grandma & grandpa. If your baby spends any nights or weekends with the grandparents, a mini crib or bassinet is a comfortable, safe place for them to sleep without taking over the house. And your baby is more likely to sleep in a crib there if he or she has one at home. These are cheaper than full-size cribs, too.
3 Lightweight portability. All of the mini cribs that we review below weigh less than 40 pounds; most of them are 25 or 30 pounds. Some even have wheels. This makes them ultra-portable for moving from room to room without breaking your back, but you can lock them into place so that they’re stable while your baby is in them.
4 Room sharing with the parents. Sharing a room with your baby has lots of benefits – it lets you monitor your baby while he or she sleeps, and offers parents some peace of mind. In fact, room sharing (but not bed sharing) is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It’s also convenient for handling late-night feedings in the first couple of months.
5 To keep in the cabin, lake house, or vacation home. If you have a little place at the lake or vacation home, mini cribs are a compact and relatively inexpensive option to ensure that your baby always has a comfortable, safe place to sleep while you’re there. No more toting around the pack-N-play or swing just to give your little one a spot to nap in! And as I said above, if your baby is accustomed to sleeping in a crib, a mini crib’s not that much different (just a bit smaller).


Mini Crib Reviews

Emily Mini Crib
Emily Mini Crib Reviews
DaVinci Emily Mini Crib


Emily Mini Crib Reviews
Buy this Mini Crib Now
Size: 39.5 x 28 x 38 inches ; 36.5 pounds
  • Four level mattress support board
  • Nearly half the size of a regular crib
  • Converts to twin size bed with conversion rails (sold seperately)
  • 1 year limited warranty
  • Made of sustainable pine from New Zealand.

Mini Crib Review:

The DaVinci Emily Mini Crib is currently the bestselling mini crib on Amazon. Constructed of sustainable New Zealand pine, this mini offers all of the features of a full-size crib, but in a smaller package.

It has four mattress adjustments (usually you start at the top setting and lower it as your baby grows). It has a lead-safe and phthalate-safe non-toxic finish. You can even convert this mini crib to a twin bed when your baby gets older.

One of my favorite features of DaVinci mini cribs is that they’re made of solid wood – pine from New Zealand’s sustainable forests. I can’t say enough about buying real wood furniture. This stuff lasts and can be passed down generations. Particle board furniture from China can’t do that.

Pine construction makes this minicrib sturdy but lightweight. You can let a 25-pound 2-year-old sleep in it, and still move it easily around the room. That’s according to one of the reviews. The mattress pad is pretty thin (1″) so you’ll undoubtedly want to purchase a mini crib mattress.

You have a few different color options for this mini crib, including (from darkest to lightest) ebony black, expresso, and honey oak.


Bloom Alma Mini Crib Bloom Alma Urban Crib


Bloom Alma Mini Crib Reviews
Buy this Mini Crib Now
Size: 19.2 x 37 x 33 inches ; 50.6 pounds
  • Solid wood construction
  • Modern design for urban spaces
  • Sets up in 5 minutes, no tools required
  • Folds up for compact storage and transport
  • Rolls easily in small rooms and hallways

Mini Crib Review:

The Bloom Alma Mini Crib is designed for three things: style, mobility, and storage. The construction is solid wood with stainless-steel detailing. The design is urban-inspired, and lets you wheel (on 4 casters) your napping baby from room to room. Even through narrow hallways. It folds up when not in use for storage or travel.

The setup takes less than 5 minutes, and requires absolutely no tools. This co-sleeper/bassinet has two mattress level settings to accommodate your baby as he or she grows. Overall, a simple, elegant, well-made crib for small living spaces.

Note: The cappuccino, grey, and orange colors are sold by and get free shipping.


Alpha Mini Crib Review DaVinci Alpha Mini Rocking Crib


Alpha Mini Crib Reviews
Buy this Mini Crib Now
Size: 38.8 x 26.1 x 35.4 inches ; 26 pounds
  • Can be rocked as a rocking cradle, or can be locked into position with rocking stops
  • Made of New Zealand sustainable pine wood
  • Lead-free and safety certified.
  • Multi-level support frame to adjust to your child’s growth
  • Two teething rails to protect the rails and casters for easy mobility

Mini Crib Review:

The DaVinci Alpha Rocking Mini Crib is a safe, compact crib with one outstanding feature: the ability to rock your baby in the crib. This makes it an excellent choice for keeping next to the parents’ bed, because if the baby wakes, a gentle touch to rock the crib back and forth will often soothe him or her back to sleep.

Another nice feature is the rollers, which lets you move the crib easily from room to room. This mini crib doesn’t take up much space, but surprisingly, lots of parents are using it until the babies are 12 months old or older.

This is also a lead-free mini crib and safety certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). You can get this crib in dark cherry, pure white, or natural pine colors. White seems the most popular choice, as it makes cute bedding sets really pop.


Delta Riley Mini Crib Reviews Delta Children’s Products Riley Mini Crib


Delta Riley Mini Crib Reviews
Buy this Mini Crib Now
Size: 40.4 x 27.4 x 5.5 inches ; 40 pounds
  • Compact yet stylish crib
  • No moving parts, all sides are stationary.
  • Converts to twin sized bed, toddler bed or day bed
  • 3″ waterproof mattress pad is included
  • Available in 3 different colors.

Mini Crib Review:

The Delta Children’s Products Riley Mini Crib is the perfect space-saver for apartments or small houses, grandma and grandpa’s house, the cabin, or other places where space is at a premium. It has two mattress settings and converts quickly to a toddler bed, day bed, or even a twin.

The 3″ waterproof mattress pad is enough to keep most babies comfortable; though you might want to add a 50-spring mini crib mattress.

The design and finish of this mini crib are both very well done. It has a solid construction of real wood. A single person can assemble it in 30-45 minutes, and the mini crib (when assembled) moves easily from room to room.

This crib comes in dark cherry, chocolate, or white, so there are lots of options to match any bedroom.

Mini Crib Mattress Reviews

If you buy a mini crib, don’t forget to buy a mattress for it! Choosing a mattress for mini cribs is rather straighforward, since they’re mostly all a standard size (about 24 inches wide and 37 inches long). Thickness varies between mattresses, but you probably don’t need something more than 6″ thick. The most important feature is that the mattress fit snugly inside the mini crib, allowing no gaps where your baby might get stuck.

Mini Crib Mattress DaVinci Mini Crib Mattress


Mini Crib Mattress Reviews
Buy this Mattress Now
Size: 37.1 x 23.8 x 5.8 inches ; 7.5 pounds
  • 50 coils in a tempered steel unit.
  • 14 gauge coils and 9 gage border rod for edge support.
  • Resinated polyester fiber batting padding.
  • Reinforced Triple Laminated Wet-Proof Cover.
  • 25 year limited manufacturer warranty.

Mattress Review:

This mini crib mattress is a 50-coil mattress, durable with a tempered steel spring unit for added firmness. It has a triple-laminated wet-free cover and hypo-allergenic construction to keep your baby comfortable overnight.

The 25-year limited manufacturer warranty is kind of amusing – it’s unlikely you’re going to need a warranty that lasts more than a few years, right? Still, it’s a sign that the manufacturer stands behind this product, and I do like that.

With 50 heavy-gauge coils, this mattress gives same healthy serenity, just in a smaller package.

Traveling with Infants: The Essentials

Infant travel tips

Flickr Credit: treehouse1977

After the first few months (or weeks) of having your newborn baby at home, you might be getting a little stir crazy. Or your family or friends who live a few hours away begin clamoring loud enough that they’d like to see you, and you feel brave enough to take a family trip. Traveling with infants can be a major challenge. With a few tricks up your sleeve, you can make the ride a little bit easier. Our guide is broken down into three sections:

Day-to-Day Essentials
Taking Baby Out In Public
Infant Sleep While Traveling

Day-to-Day Essentials for Infant Care

First off, the easy stuff. You’ll need enough of those daily things that your baby needs, including but not limited to:

  • Formula and/or baby food. It’s best to over-estimate how much you need, because these can be expensive when you buy them out of town. You should have enough clean bottles and nipples within reach, as well as bottles of clean water for mixing. One item that can be a life-saver when traveling with infants is pre-mixed, ready-to-feed liquid formula. These seem to taste a bit different from the powder, so make sure your baby likes it before you leave town.
  • Diapers and wipes. Calculate how many you need per day per baby, and then add 20% just to be safe. The importance of diapers is often underestimated! There can be unforeseen blowouts or bouts of digestive issues. Plus, traveling is much easier when you’re not trying to stretch diapers.
  • Baby clothes. Pack plenty of these, and go for comfort over cuteness. Think about what your newborn should sleep in. Footed pajamas or onesies are easier to keep track of than socks. Same thing with single-piece garments over two-piece outfits.
  • Car seat. You have this already, because it’s the law. If you’re flying, be certain ahead of time that there will be a car seat waiting for the ride from the airport to wherever you’re going. If it’s a shuttle and they don’t offer one, bring your own.
  • Stroller. Unless you plan to lug your baby around in his or her car seat the whole time, bring along an umbrella stroller or travel system. See our Pram & Stroller Reviews for some of the best options.
  • Toiletries. Don’t forget the little things like Q-tips, diaper rash cream, and baby toothbrushes. For a full list, see our article on 14 things for baby’s medicine cabinet.

Adjusting Your Baby’s Car Seat

The more comfortable your baby is, the more relaxed he’ll be. That’s the key to traveling with babies. It starts in the car with a properly adjusted car seat.

  • Adjust the straps of the car seat to the proper height. Your baby’s grown since you came home from the hospital. For most car seats, you make this adjustment before putting the baby in because it involves flipping the seat upside down. Set the straps so that they’re at shoulder level or slightly above.
  • Position the baby deep into the seat and in a comfortable posture. It’s OK to use the head support and such that came with the seat, but no after-market products, as these haven’t been crash-tested with the seat. The only thing permissible is a rolled-up receiving blanket. For newborns, you may need two or three rolled-up blankets to keep them upright and in position.
  • Keep the light out. One lesson we learned the hard way on long car trips is that even tinted windows don’t keep the sun out, especially in summertime. It seems like every other stretch of highway puts the sunbeams right in your baby’s face. You might not even realize this because the seat is rear-facing. Get a pair of pull-down window shades for cars. In a pinch, I’ve also tied towels or blankets to the “oh crap” handle above the door. If your baby’s car seat has a canopy, use that too – most of them rotate 180 degrees.

Taking Baby Out in Public

Newborn baby carrier reviews

Baby Carrier Reviews

When you’re traveling, you’ll most likely spend more time taking your infant in public – stores, restaurants, that sort of thing. One thing that you will immediately notice is that babies have a strange effect on people. Complete strangers will approach and greet your baby, often making silly faces or noises to try to get a smile. This stuff is fine. What you  need to watch out for is this: people will come up and touch your baby without asking you. They often don’t even realize it – there’s some base instinct acting here. My grandmother was notorious for this.

Being a germophobe, I don’t like strangers touching my baby, especially his hands which are likely to return any moment to his mouth. Here are the strategies I use to prevent it:

  1. Block access to the baby. If your car seat or stroller has a canopy, use it. Keep your baby close to you at all times, so that you can use your body as another barrier. See our review of newborn baby carriers to learn about some great options for keeping baby close but your hands free.
  2. Be ready to speak and act. If I see someone reaching for my baby, I ask them to stop. If necessary, I will physically block their outstretched, likely-unwashed fingers. I do try to be nice while doing this; one phrase that seems to help is when I say “Oh, sorry, he’s just getting over a cold.”
  3. Keep hand sanitizer with you at all times. Use it liberally on your baby’s hands in the event that someone touches them. You should also use it yourself after touching door handles, cart handles, cash, public-use writing utensils, that sort of thing.

Baby High Chair / Shopping Cart Covers

One of the best baby items that we ever bought was a highchair/shopping cart cover. These serve several purposes. First, they’re soft and padded to protect your baby from the hard surface of the chair or cart. Second, they help catch anything that your baby might drop, such as a pacifier. Third, they act as a germ barrier between your baby and whatever the previous babies in that chair have had. People are always coming up and asking where we got ours.

travel high chairPortable High Chairs

Another very useful item to pack along for baby road trips is a portable high chair. This is something I always seem to forget when we’re going places with the kids, and them I’m always kicking myself for it. Portable high chairs like the Ciao Baby travel high chair have so many uses for when you’re out and about with a baby:

  • A clean place to plop the baby when visiting friends
  • At a picnic or outdoor party, somewhere safe and bug-free for baby to sit.
  • An excuse not to borrow the dirty or rickety old high chair from someone’s garage
  • A slight reduction in the mess your little messy eater will leave behind

Helping Your Infant Sleep While Traveling

Traveling with your infant is easiest when he’s sleeping. Unfortunately, babies have trouble sleeping in strange environments, and you can’t take the entire baby room with you. Still, with a little bit of planning, you can bring along a few essentials to help establish a comfortable, portable sleeping setup for your infant. Alternatively, if you’re traveling to the lake cabin or grandparents’ house, what better place to install a mini crib or bassinet? That way your little one always has a place to sleep and call their own.

  1. Pacifier clip. At home, if the pacifier falls on the floor it’s no big deal. A quick rinse and wipe, and you pop it right back into the baby’s mouth. When traveling, it’s another story. If it falls in the car you can’t find it; if it falls on the floor of a restaurant or store or hotel room, there’s no way you’re putting it right back in. Enter one of the best inventions ever for baby care: the pacifier clip. It fits most pacifiers and attaches snugly to your baby’s outfit or sleep sack. There’s always a pacifier handy when this thing is attached. Don’t leave home without one.
  2. Travel crib or pack-N-play. Your baby needs a soft, protected place to sleep while you’re traveling. Traditionally, you lugged along a pack-N-play (also called a play yard) for your baby to sleep in. High-end models come with built-in bassinets, changers, and compartments, but those don’t travel as well as the basic pen does. But there are some other options out there: compact folding bassinets and cribs designed to be travel friendly. See our review of portable travel cribs for some of the best options there.
  3. Portable swing. We have a Fisher-Price portable swing like this one, we love it. It folds up flat enough to stick behind the front seat of the mini-van. It runs on batteries, is quiet, and very soft. Babies love this thing. An added bonus is that this swing is small enough to keep in the corner of a room, and keeps your baby off of the floor. For a breakdown of the features, see our comparison of baby swings.
  4. A portable night light like this one, which is rechargeable and comes in a variety of animal shapes, is a comfort you can take along with you. The trick is to use the same light at home, so that your baby is accustomed to it. See our guide to night lights for babies for details.
  5. Sound machine. You won’t be able to control much of the noise in a car, on an airplane, or even in your hotel room. To soothe your baby and provide some white noise, look into a baby soother or sound machine. They even make portable versions of these.

Best Baby Sleep Movement Monitors

baby movement monitor reviewsAll three of our children went to the NICU, which is at once a terrifying and comforting experience. Terrifying, because it’s the NICU and your newborn needs intensive care or monitoring. Comforting, because of the high-tech vital status monitors, trained nurses, and pediatricians. Our twins spent a couple of weeks there, and came home with portable (rented) heart/lung monitors.

Even so, we liked the idea of a machine that monitors baby vital signs — especially while sleeping — these medical-grade devices were bulky and far too expensive to buy. Fortunately, there’s another option: high-tech baby sleep movement monitors that you can buy and use in the home. There are actually several options for these, but two of them really stand out, and we review them in detail here.

Snuza Halo Movement Monitor

snuza movement monitor
snuza movement monitor


  • Detects irregularity or pauses in baby’s breathing.
  • Ergonomically designed to fit comfortably on baby’s diaper
  • Vibrates to stimulate baby after 15 seconds of no movement
  • Sounds audible alarm if no movement after 5 more seconds


Snuza Movement Monitor Reviews

The Snuza Halo movement monitor was really the inspiration for this review, once we learned about it. This portable monitor clips to your baby’s diaper, where it monitors breathing for any irregularity. If no movement (breath) is detected for 15 seconds, it vibrates to stimulate the infant. If there’s still no movement after 5 seconds, an audible alarm sounds to alert you.

What’s nice about this movement monitor is that it’s portable and unobtrusive, and it’s arguably more sensitive for under-the-mattress sensors (especially if you have two twins in a crib). If you have any doubt of whether or not you’ll love this product, just read the first two customer reviews.

Buy this movement monitor Now

Angelcare Baby Movement and Sound Monitor

angelcare movement monitor


  • Complete sound and movement monitor for nursery
  • 2 under-mattress sensors and 2 parent receivers
  • Nursery unit has a night light and room thermometer
  • Ships in frustration-free packaging.


Snuza Movement Monitor Reviews

Another great option for monitoring is the Angelcare Baby Movement and Sound Monitor. This set includes two under-the-mattress movement sensors and a nursery sound unit with thermometer and night light. There are two parent handheld receivers, each with its own charging base.

The sensor pads detect the slightest baby movements, and you have the option of turning on an audible “movement monitor” that tics softly whenever movement is detected. That’s a steady sound of comfort for mom and dad!
Buy this movement monitor Now

Why Baby Movement Monitors?

Maybe you’re still on the fence about whether or not to invest in a baby movement monitor for your infant. We think you should buy one right now, and here are three reasons why:

  1. Extra safety. Sound and video baby monitors are wonderful tools to monitor your sleeping infant, but a movement monitor is closer and more direct. Unlike other sensors, it alerts you when something’s not happening but should be. That just covers an extra bit of sleep safety for your little one.
  2. Peace of mind. As parents of three children, we know how hard it is to sleep those first few months. You’re hyper-paranoid that something will happen to your infant, and that’s perfectly normal. The thought that you have a high-tech device helping monitor your child is a huge comfort… it’ll help you sleep better knowing your little one is safe.
  3. A small price to pay. These movement monitors are what, a hundred bucks? That’s a tiny sum compared to the amount you probably paid in hospital bills and baby furniture. I’d argue that for what it gets you, the cost of a baby movement monitor is well worth it!

Wireless Video Monitor Reviews

wireless video monitor reviewsWe love having a wireless video monitor in the nursery. Nothing is more comforting than being able to see and hear your baby at night or while working around the house. A few years ago, there were only a handful of decent video baby monitors available, and they were all prohibitively expensive.

Now there are dozens of options, from the low-cost the high end. Which video monitor is best for you? Here, we evaluate the top rated video monitors, compare their features, and highlight some of our favorite models to help you choose one for your nursery.
Features of Wireless Video Monitors
Wireless Video Monitor Reviews
Baby Touch Wireless Video Monitor by Summer Infant
Motorola MBP36 Wireless Video Monitor
DXR-5 Wireless Video Monitor by Infant Optics

Key Features of Wireless Video Monitors

Here are some of the terms and features that we evaluate in wireless video baby monitors:

  • Range. This is how far the receiver can be from the transmitter (which is in the nursery) and still get a signal. At best, these are guesses from the manufacturers; the actual range depends on the elevation difference, wall thickness, interference from other electronics, etc. Even so, it’s safe to say that you want a longer range if possible.
  • Frequency. Higher is better, so 2.4 GHz is better than 900 MHz. Generally speaking, the higher the frequency, the stronger the signal between your transmitter and your  monitor. Also, devices that are on the same frequency (such as a monitor and a cordless telephone) may interfere with one another, so it’s best to take stock of your current electronics while shopping for a baby monitor.
  • LCD Screen. LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display – it’s the color screen that displays your nursery’s video feed. Remember that this measurement is the diagonal, not the width. Most monitors have a 3.5″ screen, and the owners of monitors with smaller screens often complain that they can’t see anything. Some monitors or camera-only packages don’t come with a handheld LCD unit, but transmit to your iPhone, iPad, or smartphone. So obviously the screen size is whatever you’re using to look at it.
  • Night Vision. High-quality video baby monitors transmit color images during daytime naps. When the nursery is dark (at night), the monitor will need infrared night vision to see anything. Monitors without it will be blind in the dark, rendering the camera useless unless it has infrared night vision (all of the monitors we recommend do). At night, the infrared lets you see your little one, but the images will be in black and white or grayscale.
  • Tilt, Pam, and Zoom. These let you move the camera remotely to get a better look at your baby. They’re especially useful if your baby (1) moves around in the crib, and/or (2) is a light sleeper, because you don’t have to go into the nursery to adjust the view field of the camera. And you will need to adjust the camera! It seems like our boys wedge themselves into a different corner of the crib every night.
  • Dual Camera Capability. If you’d like to keep an eye on more than one child, it’s useful to have a video monitor that supports additional cameras. Both the Motorola and the Summer Infant baby monitors support this; the Summer Infant is particularly nice because it has a scan mode to flip between cameras automatically.

For the sleep safety conscious, you might consider complementing a wireless video monitor with a baby movement monitor, like the Snuza Halo, which alerts you of any irregularity in your infant’s breathing.

Wireless Video Monitor Reviews

Here we review twoof the bestselling and top-rated wireless video baby monitors available today. Though there are certainly other wireless baby monitors out there (Angelcare, Philips, Safety 1st, and others), these two monitors — from Summer Infant and Motorola — are consistently the most popular based on customer rating and sales rank.

Baby Touch Wireless Video Monitor by Summer Infant

Summer Infant Best Video Monitor
Buy this Monitor Now

Monitor Review:

The Summer Infant Baby Touch digital video monitor is consistently a  top selling baby monitor on Amazon. This super quiet camera can be remotely activated so parents can reposition their viewing angle to better see the baby. Infrared night vision lets you see your baby in the dark, too. For multiple angles or to monitor more than one child, this monitor lets you add up to three additional wireless cameras.This video monitor has a lot of features to like:

  • The ability to pan, tilt, and zoom camera remotely
  • Two-way audio so you can hear and talk to your baby
  • Rechargeable, portable 3.5″ LCD viewer.
  • Belt clip, built-in stand, and sleek magnetic docking base.

Two features set this monitor apart from other wireless video monitors. First, the touch screen lets you adjust tilt, pan, and zoom in a user-friendly fashion, far superior to the clunky side controls on other monitors. Second, when multiple cameras are installed, the Summer Infant monitor auto-rotates through them on a timer, letting you watch multiple rooms without doing anything.

Model: Summer Infant Baby Touch Digital Color Video Monitor
Screen: 3.5″ Touch Screen LCD
Reviews: Summer Infant Wireless Monitor Reviews

Motorola Wireless Video Baby Monitor MBP36

Motorola secure video monitor
Buy this Monitor Now

Monitor Review:

The Motorola wireless baby monitor is usually the #2 best selling monitor on Amazon The latest model features a 3.5″ screen, two-way communication so that parents can talk to the baby, and data encryption.
It has a longer advertised range than the Summer Infant, up to 600 feet. Plus, there’s an audible out-of-range warning to let you know when the monitor isn’t receiving from the transmitter. This is an important feature for a baby monitor, as some models don’t have it.The Motorola also has a remote nursery temperature sensor, which is critical if your baby’s room fluctuates in temperature as ours does. Like the Summer Infant, the camera has night vision and can be panned/zoomed remotely. And you can add an extra camera to monitor two rooms or two angles at once.
Motorola Secure Transmission

My favorite feature of this monitor is the Motorola 2.4 GHz FHSS technology. Much like Motorola’s 2-way radios, these monitors transmit with an encrypted Motorola signal so that only your LCD receiver can pick up the audio and video feeds. It also won’t interfere with other electronic devices. A nice feature if you live close to other parents with monitors.

Model: Motorola MBP36 Remote Wireless Video Baby Monitor
Screen: 3.5″ Color LCD, up to 25 FPS
Reviews: Motorola Wireless Baby Monitor Reviews

14 Things for Baby’s Medicine Cabinet

things for baby's medicine cabinetWith flu season just around the corner, I’m restocking our baby’s medicine cabinet. I like to be ready for the big three baby afflictions: cold/flu, teething, and ear infections. Babies suffering from any of these are just pitiful to behold, and darn near impossible to comfort. The very things they need most (food/milk and sleep) are hardest to come by.

We’ve suffered through it enough that we know to be prepared. Nothing is worse than running out of Orajel or Baby Advil or even Q-tips at a critical moment. So do yourself a favor, and stock your baby’s medicine cabinet with these bare essentials.

#1. Infant Pain Reliever

Infant pain reliever advilFevers, teething discomfort, and ear infections are unpleasant enough for our babies that we’ll consider giving them a liquid pain reliever (after discussing it with the pediatrician, of course).  Our go-to medicine used to be Baby Tylenol, but recently all of the infant/children’s Tylenol was pulled from the shelves because there was some kind of problem. So now we go with Children’s Advil Infant Drops, which you can buy on Amazon and come highly recommended. It comes in a couple of flavors, but the white grape seems to be a universal favorite.

Another reason to keep this handy is for the regular pediatrician checkups when we know the babies are getting one or more immunizations – usually the doctor likes us to give the pain reliever before the shots, so that 0ur little ones are a bit more comfortable.

#2. Little Noses Saline Drops

baby stuffy nose kitNasal congestion is one of the most noticeable symptoms when your baby gets sick. You can usually hear it when your baby breathes; another sign is that your baby pauses while drinking to catch his or her breath because breathing through the nose isn’t possible. You can try the classic blue bulb syringe alone to try to clear out their noses, but most babies hate that. Plus, when their noses are running, they become dry, chafed, and super-sensitive.

We’ve had much better luck with the Little Noses stuffy nose kit. You lay your baby down, wait until he or she is comfortable (i.e. not whipping the head back and forth), and then put a couple of saline drops into each nostril. Then you can use the bulb syringe to clean up if necessary. This strategy helps the stuffiness drip out and seems more effective.

#3. Boogie Wipes

Baby Boogie WipesAnother common symptom is the runny nose. All I can say is “Yech!” We can use tissues for this (or even a napkin, if we’re in a pinch) but Boogie Wipes are really the best option. They’re like miniature saline wet wipes for baby noses. They’re super-soft and lightly scented – more effective than a dry tissue and also gentler on the baby. These are kind of pricey in the store (if you can even find them), but you can order a 12-pack on If your little one has allergies, you can even sign up for Subscribe-N-Save and have them delivered on a regular basis.

#4. Baby nasal aspirator

The most direct (and possibly effective) treatment for a baby with nasal congestion is an aspirator – a device that literally sucks the snot out of their nose. The Nosefrida Snotsucker Aspirator was invented in Sweden and consistently hovers high on the Amazon bestseller lists for baby care. Because it works. You provide the suction, so there’s better (and safer) control of the removal. I must admit that the concept is kind of gross, but not worse than wiping runny noses and having a baby cough right in your face.

#5. Digital Baby Thermometer

First things first: monitor your baby for a fever. This will inevitably be the first thing you’re asked about when you call the pediatrician. And just so you know, 100.3 degrees is the baseline for a true fever (anything below that is generally considered within the margin of error).

When our babies were in the NICU, we learned to take their temperature with those little pen-sized digital thermometers. We held stuck it in their armpit and held it for a long time until it beeped. This wasn’t too bad; they were just newborns and couldn’t do much about it. Try keeping a one-year-old still for that long while you stick something in his or her armpit!

As we learned later in the pediatrician’s office, there are faster, more accurate ways to take a baby’s temperature using infrared technology. You can read our detailed review of infrared baby thermometers, but here are the highlights of the two bestselling thermometers on Amazon:

Baby ear thermometer

Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer With Exactemp Technology

The Braun Thermoscan ear thermometer is used by more doctor’s offices than any other, according to their claims. This device features a patented “pre-warmed” tip and measures temperature on the eardrum, yielding very accurate results. When you’ve taken a proper temperature, it lights up and emits a soft beep. This takes only a few seconds.

Buy this thermometer at WalMart

Baby infrared thermometer

FeverWatch Professional Non-contact Infrared Thermometer

This may be the best baby thermometer available to consumers, and I think it’s the model used by our pediatrician’s office. The FeverWatch non-contact infrared thermometer measures your baby’s temperature in less than 1 second with with 0.3 degree accuracy, all without touching the baby. You hold it 1-4 inches away from the forehead, click the button, and the temperature is taken. It’s kind of amazing that these devices work so well.

Imagine being able to tiptoe into the nursery while your little one sleeps and take his or her temperature without (1) turning on a light, or (2) touching the baby at all. Just brilliant.
Buy this thermometer at Wal-Mart

#6. Baby gum massagers

Teething baby gum massagersTeething is a miserable process for most babies, but some of them really seem to suffer. The swollen gums, the constant fussiness, the refusal of food and bottles all point to the same thing: your baby is cutting a new tooth. Another common symptom of this is that your baby starts biting everything (including you).

When this happens, some soft gum massagers like Zo-li Gummy Sticks can offer some relief. Your little one will love the soft, rubbery, textured nubs, and you’ll love the fact that they’re biting something other than you.

Plus, these look and feel like a baby toothbrush, so they promote healthy tooth habits. And they’re long enough to reach back to the molars, where teething pain seems to be the worst.

#7. Orajel / topical pain relief

Teething OrajelThere are many parents who eschew giving their babies the latest-and-greatest wonders from the pharmaceutical industry. I’m not one of them! When my baby is in teething pain (one of my boys is right now, actually), I like to throw everything at the problem: homeopathic remedies (like frozen waffles) as well as modern science. In the latter category is Baby Orajel, a topical solution for teething babies that contains a mild anesthetic and is praised by thousands of parents.

You squeeze a little bit on a Q-tip and slather the sore areas of baby’s gums. The numbing effect is almost instantaneous and (in my experience) the baby instantly sees life in a better light. In fact, they’re usually ready to eat or drink something because the pain has gone away. This is something you don’t want to run out of. We get the nighttime formula for putting baby to bed, and we get the travel version (with a built-in Q-tip) for vacations or day trips.

Sassy teething fish#8. Teether toys

A teether toy is something you might not think about for the medicine cabinet. Usually these get lost somewhere in the freezer, in kitchen cabinets or drawers, or even in the toybox, and are never seen again. My article on what to do when baby is teething covers a nice selection of the bestselling baby teethers.

However, I just came across a new one that I really like, the Sassy Teething Tail Fish. It has both hard and soft surfaces for your baby to chew on, the latter being a water-filled tail that you can optionally chill in the icebox. And the shape of the tail is designed to reach back to the troublesome molars.

#9. Baby’s first toothbrush and toothpaste

Baby tooth pasteAnother good thing to stock in your cabinet is your baby’s first toothbrush/toothpaste kit. We have been using the Grins & Giggles Tooth and Gum Cleanser (made by Gerber) for the boys. We like this brand because it:

  • Tastes good to the babies, and can be swallowed safely
  • Begins to teach them about dental hygiene
  • Includes a soft fingertip toothbrush that you can use to clean/massage the gums

It’s never too early to start on dental hygiene. Even toddlers can get cavities in their little baby teeth.

#10. Plenty of Q-tips

Q-tips, or cotton swabs on a stick, are a staple of any medicine cabinet. Certainly for a baby. You can use them to clean out baby’s ears, of course, but also to apply Orajel or diaper ointment (make sure you apply each to the right location!), to clean out baby’s nose, to get an eyelash, etc. Luckily, Q-tips are inexpensive and you can pick them up anywhere. You can even stock with an 1875-count package of them on Amazon. That seems like a lot, but you’re going to need them.

#11. Nail clippers

 Baby Nail clipper with magnifierBecause babies drink milk all of the time, their nails tend to grow like crazy. This won’t be a problem until they start scratching themselves (you’ll notice little cuts and scratches on their face or head), or start scratching you. Trust me, you’ll notice this. Trimming a baby’s fingernails is serious business. They’re so small that you’re pretty much worried about clipping off a finger the entire time. Sometimes I just chicken out and go with the emory board, which takes longer but reduces the risk.

I do like the Red Cross Nail Clippers with Magnifier by The First Years. They’re baby sized, with an easy-to-use lever, and a magnifying glass so you see exactly where you’re clipping.

Dr. Smith's Diaper Rash#12. Dr. Smith’s Diaper Ointment

Diaper rash is a common problem, and there are dozens upon dozens of diaper rash cream out there. We have tried many of them. There is one that consistently works better than any others: Dr. Smith’s Diaper Ointment. This stuff is like a magical balm mixed up by a Chinese guru. It’s unlike any other diaper rash cream in consistency and appearance, but it works. Quite literally, some of the worst diaper rashes I’ve seen on my boys disappear overnight when we use Dr. Smith’s. More than anything, this deserves a spot in your medicine cabinet.

#13. Baby wash, shampoo, and lotion

Baby baths are a lot of fun. I love the smell of their shampoo, and how a clean baby smells afterward. As you’re probably aware, baby shampoo is buffered so that it won’t sting their baby blue eyes during bath time. At first this stuff goes rather slowly, because you only need a teaspoon or so for a newborn’s bath. As they get older you’ll start using a lot more. And there will be spills, too. We keep a couple bottles of lotion next to it, to apply right out of the bath. Our daughter just loved having a little lotion rub-down after her bath; it relaxed her and made going to sleep a breeze.

#14. Baby-safe sunscreen

California baby safe sunscreenWhile we’re on the topic of skin care, I’d be remiss not to mention baby sunscreen. In general, pediatricians recommend that you don’t put sunscreen on a baby less than 6 months old, because they shouldn’t really be in direct sunlight (and thus shouldn’t need it).

However, if sun exposure is unavoidable, there are some chemical-free baby sunscreens that provide sun protection.

For example, the bestselling baby sunscreen on Amazon is California Baby SPF 30, a fragrance-free sunscreen. It can be applied to the baby’s face without worrying that it will string them if they rub it into their eyes.

Your Baby’s Medicine Cabinet Is Stocked!

Stocking your baby’s medicine cabinet can be a lot of fun, though sometimes it can seem like a chore. The next time your baby gets sick, cuts a new tooth, or has an ear infection, you’ll be glad to have everything you need!

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Baby Summer Survival Guide

Baby summer survival guideSummer time brings about a lot of challenges for new parents. The heat, the longer daylight hours, the noise around the neighborhood – all kinds of things that can disrupt a baby’s normal sleep schedule. Plus, there are barbecues and birthday parties and all kinds of activities that will have you realizing just how much gear your little one requires for a single day. Here are some tips for keeping your baby cool, comfortable, and healthy during the hot summer months.
New Baby Sleep Problems
Baby Car Comfort
Outdoor Activities for Babies

New Baby Sleep Problems

The hot summer months make baby sleep training even more challenging. Days are longer, hotter, and noisier, all of which make getting your baby down for naps and to sleep at night that much harder. And you’re probably thinking about taking your baby on a trip, which can be even more disruptive to sleep schedules. Here are some tips:

  • Light-proof your baby’s room. It should be totally dark in there, with the possible exception of a night light. Use room-darkening shades and heavy curtains if possible.
  • Use soft music or white noise to block out noises. Lawnmowers, barking dogs, kids at play, and other sources of noise are big problems for getting and keeping your baby asleep. See our soother & sound machine guide for some good options.
  • If you’re going to travel, bring a comfortable and safe place for baby to sleep. See our travel crib reviews for some of the latest portable cribs and bassinets, some of which even fit into a backpack!
  • Stick to your early bedtime. It’s so, so easy to let your baby stay up later because hey, it’s light outside! Tempting as that is, you have to stay consistent to reap the benefits of an early bedtime.

Maintaining your baby’s good sleep habits in summer time means more rest for the both of you, and that translates to a healthier, happier summer all around. See our article on 3 Keys to Summer Sleep.

Baby Car Comfort

Keeping your baby comfortable in the car is essential in the summer time, for both comfort and safety reasons. I think it breaks down to three things:

  1. Get the car cool in advance. The inside of a car in the summer sun might be over 100 degrees. And putting a baby into a hot black car seat will make him or her wail, I promise you. So make sure that 5-10 minutes before taking your little one out, you roll down the windows and open doors to let out the hot air, and then turn on the A/C.
  2. Block out the sun. One problem we’ve often encountered in summer months is sunlight shining right in a baby’s face. This seems to happen most often with rear-facing car seats (in case you hadn’t heard, they now recommend rear-facing until 2 years of age). Babies have sensitive eyes and they don’t like this one bit! Invest in at least one car window shade for each side and set them up before you leave. You’ll be glad for it.
  3. Bring plenty of snacks for long car rides. Once your baby is old enough to feed himself “finger foods”, these become an essential item for long (or even short) car trips. The soft cereal-like puffs made by baby food manufacturers are ideal for this, as are Cheerios, yogurt bites, and other small, easy-to-chew foods.
  4. Pack lots of toys and entertainment. The unfortunate part of rear-facing car seats is that the view never changes for your baby. So you’ll want to pack lots of toys, baby books, stuffed animals, and other sources of entertainment for the car ride. A literal bucket of toys is probably just enough, because they’ll mostly be discarded out of reach onto the floor of the car.
A car seat sunshade can be stretched over your baby’s car seat (while it’s empty) to reflect out heat and keep the seat cool. Having car window shades to block out the sunlight is essential, especially for rear-facing car seats in the morning or afternoon. And they’re much classier than the old receiving-blanket-over-the-dry-cleaning-hook. A backseat organizer is a great way to prep for your road trip – load it with toys, snacks, pacifiers, wipes, and everything you might need.
These car snack catchers are ideal for airtight storage of finger foods – cheerios, puffs, raisins, or other snacks – that you can offer your toddler in case of a meltdown. And of course, you can expect that most of those finger foods will end up in places other than your little one’s mouth. Here’s a great idea: a dual-layer car seat mat that protects your car from the mess that babies bring with them. If you plan to bring breastmilk or other liquids for your baby, keeping it cool in the summertime can be harder. Thermos makes a leakproof food jar that’s stainless steel and well-insulated for this task.

Keeping your baby comfortable and entertained in the car makes the difference between a pleasant road trip and a nightmare.

Outdoor Activities for Baby

Baby sunscreenSummer brings new hazards for when you bring your baby outside. Wasn’t it wonderful in springtime, when the weather wasn’t too hot, the bugs hadn’t come out, and things wouldn’t melt in the car? Summer is a great time to let your baby play outdoors, but here are some tips to keep everyone safe.

  • Bring plenty of sun protection. Your goal should generally be to keep baby out of the sun, in addition to a good baby sunscreen. Canopies, shades, bonnets, hats, and clothing are the best UV protection.
  • Invest in multiple strollers. Some days an umbrella stroller tossed in the trunk will do. For rougher terrain, though, you’ll probably want something sturdier. See our Pram & Stroller Reviews for some great suggestions.
  • Pack a quilt or blanket for a soft play area. It’s tempting to let your babies play in the grass, but you might recall from your own childhood that doing so tends to make your skin itch afterward. Plus, there are bugs and sticks and other things that your baby might bump against or try to eat.
  • Protect from bugs! Especially mosquitoes, which will likely be especially bad this year in the U.S. due to a mild winter. You can check with your pediatrician about bug spray, but I really like the non-chemical solution of protective mesh netting that you can put around the stroller, car seat, or baby carrier.
  • Get a baby carrier. Baby Bjorn, Chicco, and other companies make nice front-loading or backpack carriers that are ideal for toting your little one around. See our baby carrier reviews for some recommendations.
A stroller fan can be clipped to the stroller and offer a little cool air, especially if you’re stuck somewhere outside and it’s hot and stuffy. Always keep a fold-up picnic blanket in the car that you can grab in case so that everyone has somewhere soft and clean to sit. It’s also great for letting your little one get some tummy time or play on the sans grass stains. I really like bug-proof stroller netting for the stroller, car seat, or baby bouncer. It keeps the bugs away, blocks a little bit of sun, and has the added bonus of protecting against over-touchy strangers.

Protect your baby’s perfect skin from sunburns and bug bites! Someday they’ll thank you for it. Now, get out there and enjoy the summer! Your baby will only be this little once.

What To Read Next

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Best Baby Mobiles Travel Crib Reviews Wireless baby monitor reviews Baby Swing Reviews
Best Crib Mobiles reviews musical, black/white, and organic crib mobiles. Travel Crib Reviews covers light-weight, ultra-portable bassinets and cribs for traveling. Wireless Baby Monitors are a great way to keep a close eye on baby. Baby Swing Reviews compares bestselling portable and free-standing baby swings.

Get Baby to Sleep in the Crib

get baby to sleep in the cribOne problem many parents struggle with is getting their baby to sleep in the crib. Some babies become accustomed to a bassinet in the parents’ room during those first few months of round-the-clock feedings. Others just refuse to sleep anywhere but the baby swing or a parent’s arms. Or a car seat in a moving car.

There are lots of habits that we can get into when trying to coax baby to fall asleep. If you’re in this situation, don’t feel bad about it, because (1) you’re not alone, and (2) this is a problem that can be solved. In this article we’ll talk about how you can get your baby to sleep in the crib.

Why Should Babies Sleep in A Crib?
Reasons Baby Won’t Sleep in Crib
Tip #1: Start Right Away
Tip #2. Make the Crib Cozy and Inviting for Your Baby
Tip #3: Put Baby in Swaddler or Sleep Sack
Tip #4: When Your Baby Cries
Tip #5: Try A Mini Crib or Bassinet

Why Should Babies Sleep in A Crib?

Sleeping in the crib offers a lot of benefits to your baby, and to you (the parents) as well.

  • Safety. A crib with a fitted, firm mattress and no loose bedding is the safest place for your baby to sleep. This isn’t just my opinion, it’s the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Sleep habits. When your baby takes to sleeping in a crib, it becomes comfortable to him or her. In fact, being put in the crib signals your baby that it’s time to go to sleep. Done right, this part of sleep training will come to help your baby fall asleep faster and more consistently.
  • Convenience. This benefit is for you, the parents, because odds are that if your baby doesn’t sleep in the crib, you’re the one paying the price. Maybe you have to lug baby’s favorite swing around. Maybe you have to hold him or let her share the bed. In any case, you’ll get some freedom back when your baby starts sleeping in the crib.
  • Being green. You already have a crib, right? If you never get your baby to sleep in it, that’s a wasted piece of furniture that probably will serve no real purpose in your child’s future. Cribs are meant to be slept in! Do the planet a solid and make sure that wood didn’t go to waste.

The crib might be one of the most stylish and versatile pieces of baby furniture that you buy. See our review of 4-in-1 convertible cribs for some great options that convert to toddler and full-size beds.

Reasons Baby Won’t Sleep in Crib

So, your baby won’t sleep in the crib. Why do you think that is? I know many parents who’ve struggled with this issue, and based on my conversations with them, it often comes down to one of a few causes.

  1. The Routine. Maybe you got into the habit of rocking the baby to sleep in your arms, but when you go to put the baby down, he or she wakes up and cries. Or your baby can’t sleep without the rocking motion of the swing.
  2. The Flat Surface. Some babies seem to have trouble sleeping on flat surface. This may be due to mild reflux, in which case, elevating the head of the mattress slightly could help.
  3. The Abandonment. Sometimes babies just don’t want to be alone. Given the choice, don’t you think a baby would prefer sleeping in a bed snuggled between mom and dad, rather than a crib all by himself? If both parents work, then overnights are the one time that a baby can have you both nearby.

If your baby won’t sleep in the crib and you think it’s for another reason, please let me know, and I’ll add it to this section. Now let’s talk about the steps you can take to get your baby to sleep in the crib.

Start Right Away

The earlier you can train your baby to sleep in the crib, the better. We started on the day we came home from the hospital. You probably have a list of great reasons for putting it off, but you need to start working on it now. This is the kind of habit that only gets worse as your baby grows, because they’re stronger, louder, and more stubborn about certain things. They also can move around and get an arm or leg stuck in the bars, which generally causes a tantrum.

Plus, the longer sleeping in the crib is not the norm, the more ingrained that habit becomes to your baby. It’s a harder habit to break as time goes on.

Finally, you should work on getting your baby to the crib now as a part of general sleep training. You’ll find it easier to establish healthy sleep habits and keep a regular nap schedule. Even better, you might find that your baby (once trained) sleeps longer and more soundly in the crib. All of these are good reasons to begin sooner rather than later.

Make the Crib Cozy and Inviting for Your Baby

A crib can be a barren place. At first it seems ten times as large as is necessary for your baby. This transition will take your baby out of his or her comfort zone, so you’ll want to make the crib as appealing as possible. Use a crib soother or sound machine to provide some comforting background noise; this has the additional benefit of drowning out the cacaphony of older siblings, televisions, and barking dogs that rule some houses. I highly recommend the Graco Sound Machine for this task, but for more options, see our review of soothers and sound machines.

Another good source of white noise is a portable fan. This has the added benefit of circulating the air around the room.

You should make the nursery as dark as possible when it’s time for bed. This may require thick curtains and a room-darkening shade for the window. Most babies, like most adults, seem to sleep better in total darkness. One exception that might make your baby happier in the crib is a projection night light. These clever devices project constellations or little cartoon scenes on the ceiling while playing music for a specified amount of time (usually 15-20 minutes). See our guide to Choosing A Night Light for Baby.

Put Baby in Swaddler or Sleep Sack

One way to make your baby feel snug and safe in the crib is to swaddle him or her. You can swaddle your baby with a light-weight blanket such as the very popular Aden + Anais blankets. Or, you can pick up a velcro swaddler, one of the best baby inventions ever.

At some point, your baby may outgrow the swaddler or start kicking out of it. At this point, you can transition to a baby sleep sack or sleeping bag. These are essentially “wearable blankets” that allow the arms and legs to move freely. They do seem to make it more difficult for the baby to roll over, and help prevent them from getting their legs stuck between the bars.

When Your Baby Cries

Getting baby to sleep in the crib, like much of sleep training, will likely make your baby unhappy. Prepare yourself for some crying. I’m not an advocate of the full-on cry-it-out method. Instead, we took the advice of our pediatrician: Let your baby cry for 10-15 minutes. After that, go in quickly to reinsert the pacifier and tuck the blanket back around him or her. Then wait another 10-15 minutes, and repeat. Don’t linger in the room, don’t pick the baby up, just soothe quickly and go back out.

This will be hard for you to do, but it may be necessary to get this to work. Plan to do this for a couple of hours until your baby tires out and falls asleep. It may take a few nights of this, but you can do it. And there’s no lasting harm in letting your baby cry; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

Try A Mini Crib or Bassinet

If your baby is accustomed to sleeping in your bed or room, this solution might work better for you. You can get a bassinet or mini crib and keep it next to your bed. This is especially useful if your newborn wakes up to eat in the middle of the night. It’s safer, though, because your baby has his own little space to sleep in. And it makes them more comfortable sleeping in a crib, for when you make the transition to their own room. See our mini crib reviews for recommendations of the best mini cribs and bassinets.

Getting ready to take your baby on a trip? Don’t forget to pack something for your baby to sleep in. See our portable travel crib reviews for some options in light-weight, travel-friendly cribs and bassinets.

Transition to the Crib

My last piece of advice is this: don’t go cold-turkey. Start making the transition one night out of three, then every other night. This gives your baby some time to adjust, and lets both parents and babies recover a little bit on off nights. During the day, you can alternate naps (one in the crib, one wherever they’re most comfortable). Work your way up gradually to 100% crib over the course of one to two weeks.

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Baby sleep problems takes you through the most common sleep issues and how to address them. Our video monitor reviews compare the latest cutting-edge wireless color video baby monitors. Visit our sleep training section for strategies and tips for teaching your baby to sleep through the night. Check out our reviews of Essential baby gear for helping babies sleep at night.

If and when you got your baby to sleep in the crib, and have some advice, please offer it in the comments section below!

The Myth of Baby Sleep Positioners

myth of baby sleep positionersHaving a newborn changes your life in numerous ways, one of which is that you worry a lot more. You worry about putting your baby down for naps or to sleep for the night. Will he or she be safe? We’re all terrified of SIDS. Naturally, we’re intrigued by any products claiming to prevent it.

There are many legitimate strategies for reducing the risk of SIDS; the Back to Sleep campaign has reduced the rate significantly. Yes, most of us were put to sleep on our bellies as infants, and we turned out just fine. But there is concrete evidence that putting your baby on his or her back to sleep is safer. Maybe it’s just 0.01% safer, but it is safer.

Updated Baby Sleep Safety Guidelines

The American Academy of Pediatricians recently published their updated sleep safety guidelines for infants. Every recommendation is supported by scientific evidence. Pacifiers, for example, are recommended because they have slight protective effect. Ironically, the pediatricians recommend against any product that claims to reduce the risk of SIDS. They specifically mention baby sleep positioners as something that purports to make sleep safer for your baby but has not been proven to do so:

“Avoid commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS—These devices include wedges, positioners, special mattresses, and special sleep surfaces. There is no evidence that these devices reduce the risk of SIDS or suffocation or that they are safe.” Pediatrics 2011;128:1030–1039

What’s Wrong with Sleep Positioners?

Baby Crib Sleep PositionerHow can this be? How is it safe to put your baby to sleep on his or her back, but not to use a device designed to keep them in that position? The simple answer is this: the only thing that should be in the crib is the baby. A positioner might help keep your baby on his or her back, or it might not. But the moment your baby gets out of it, that thing is a hazard just like any loose bedding, pillows, or other objects. And you know the dangers of those:

Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib to reduce the risk of SIDS, suffocation, entrapment, and strangulation. Pediatrics 2011;128:1030–1039

There’s no evidence supporting a safety benefit for sleep positioners, so there’s no reason to have one in your child’s bed. If you’re that worried about your baby at night, invest in a baby sleep movement monitor that alerts you of any irregularity in your infant’s breathing. You can also get a mini crib or bassinet and let him or her sleep next to your bed.

One Baby Positioner We Endorse

Boppy Head Positioner

Boppy Noggin Nest

There is one baby positioner that I do use, because it’s handy and because we received it from the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the hospital. I’m talking about the Boppy Noggin Nest, which supports your baby’s head when he or she is laying on a hard surface. It’s not for sleeping unless you’re there to monitor your baby. However, the Noggin Nest is especially useful on the diaper changer, because:

  • It keeps your baby “in position” and keeps him or her comfortable.
  • It helps prevent “flat head” issues that can arise from always having your baby laying in the same position.
  • It’s machine washable
  • It’s cute, especially in pink!

We actually got two of these, that way one can be in the laundry and the other can be in use. Get it here for $14.99 with free returns!