7 Steps to the Perfect Baby Bath

Baby bath tub

Twins in inflatable bathtub

One of the best techniques for helping your baby prepare for bed at night is a nice, warm, relaxing bath. There’s just something about the soothing comfort of the water, the brief chill of drying off, and then the unparalleled feel of dressing in warm pajamas. It’s why the bath-bottle-bed sequence is one of the most classic and effective bedtime routines for baby sleep training.

Getting the bath just right will help prepare your little one for bed. It’s not just about getting your baby clean… a good bath should be fun and relaxing for both of you! Here are seven steps to getting it right.

1. Use a Baby Bath Seat or Bathtub

First things first, set up a bath seat or small bathtub for your baby. These are much easier to use and safer when bathing infants. They have soft sides, they don’t take nearly as much water, and they’re far more colorful and inviting to your little one. Most baby bathtubs also provide crucial sitting support that your baby will need until he or she can sit independently.

Infant bath seat Pink sparkles bathtub Inflatable baby bath tub
Primo Infant Bath Seat
For small infants up to 18 pounds and 28″ long, this infant bath seat made of non-toxic resin provides comfortable support for bathing them in a bathtub or even a large sink.
Fisher-Price Pink Sparkles Bath Tub
Here’s a fun baby bathtub for girls: it has sling supports for infants, and a “baby stopper” for when they get bigger.
Munchkin Safe Inflatable Tub
This inflatable ducky bathtub gets crazy-good reviews and has a white-hot water temp warning disc.

2. Get Comfortable at the Bathtub

A baby bath won’t be very pleasant if either you or the munchkin are uncomfortable. Sadly, this is often the case when you have to kneel on a hard bathroom floor. A few things can solve that: a soft bath sponge for the inside of the tub, and a thick bath mat or kneeler on the outside for you. Also, a non-slip mat will help keep your baby bathtub from sliding around in the tub.

Baby bath sponge Baby bath mat Froggie Baby Bath Mat
Summer Comfy BathSponge
A soft, contoured sponge that cradles your newborn in the bathtub.
Clevamama Mat and Kneeler
An extra-long nonslip mat that would accommodate two babies at once, and a soft kneeling pad for your old bones.
Mommy’s Helper Froggie Bath Mat
A fun, nonslip bath mat for the tub or sink to go under your baby’s bath sponge or tub.

3. Get the Water Just Right

I’ve occasionally made the mistake of getting the water temperature wrong, and frankly the best thing you can do is dump it out and start it over. The correct (and safe) temperature for a baby’s bath is around 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit. That should feel slightly warm to the touch, but certainly not hot. Usually it’s best to fill the tub and check the temperature before you’re holding a naked baby — the running faucet can be scary to little ones, and also might be prone to sudden temperature changes.

Baby Bath Spout Cover Baby bath thermometer
Skip Hop Bath Spout Cover
This BPA-free rubber spout cover protects your little one from the metal spout and adds fun to bath time and fits most spout models.
Turtlemeter Floating Bathtub Thermometer
This floating water-activated “turtlemeter” lets you monitor the bathwater to get just the right temperature.

4. Wash with Gentle Soap and Washcloths

I like to mix about a couple of teaspoons of baby wash into the running water while the tub is filling. In addition to giving your baby a good soak (which does wonders for the diaper area), be sure to wash every nook and cranny with a soft baby washcloth. This becomes especially important once your baby starts eating solid food, which tends to get all over them (and you, for that matter).

Johnsons Baby wash Aveeno Baby Wash Aden ANais Baby Wash Cloths
Johnson’s Head To Toe Baby Wash
The old standby of baby baths since I was an infant is from Johnson’s, a soft, tear-free, faintly scented baby wash.
Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo
I love the oat-based products from Aveeno; their tear-free wash and shampoo makes baby skin even softer.
aden + anais 3 Pack Muslin Washcloths
As my readers know I’m crazy for the Aden+Anais swaddle blankets, so I was thrilled to see they make washcloths of the same super-soft muslin.

5. Bath Time is Play Time

Once your little one is all cleaned off, let him or her enjoy playing with the bubbles and water and (ideally) some colorful bath toys. You want to make the bath a “fun time” rather than a chore. Our boys’ favorite bath time toys include:

  • Boats and rubber duckies of various sizes
  • Play cups and buckets for pouring
  • Squeezable water animals that fill up with water
  • Bath blocks that stack and float

We also try to let them take the washcloth too and practice washing with it.

6. Get Dry and Warm with Baby Towel and Bathrobe

You’ll want to have at least one hooded baby towel within reach to get your baby dried off. Make it quick and wrap them up to keep warm while you carry them back to the nursery. A little terry cloth robe with hood is a cuddly and adorable way to make this journey. You can add to the spa experience by rubbing baby’s legs and trunk down with some baby lotion (most babies either love or hate this).

Hooded baby bath towel and washcloths Terry baby bath robe Owl baby bathrobe
Spasilk Hooded Terry Bath Towel
Hooded bath towels like this one (100% cotton) are great to warm baby’s head and get him or her dried off. Comes with 4 matching terry washloths.
Velour Hooded Bath Bag
Newborns get cold easily, so here’s a great way to keep them warm on the journey back to the diaper changer.
Little Night Owl Hooded Robe
How cute is this Baby Aspen terry cloth robe to keep your little owl warm after bath time?

Cute baby taking bath7. The Closer: Clean Diaper, Warm Pajamas, Bottle, and Bed

Once you’ve completed the bath and dried your little one off, get him or her dressed in an overnight diaper and some clean, soft pajamas. Something about this whole process usually makes them ready to drink a good bottle of warm milk or formula. Or to nurse. Fill that belly, then burp, and don’t delay in putting your little one in the crib for a long sleep. This is a proven bedtime routine, and you can hope for a wonderfully uninterrupted stretch of sleep afterward.

Learn to Love the Baby Bath

Enjoy your baby’s bath! Tickle their cute little bottom, splash and play with them, enjoy their floofy hair the next day. Blow bubbles. When they’re old enough, you can even show your babies how to put baby shampoo in their hair. Just don’t let them drink the bath water. It varies from baby to baby, but all of them eventually try to drink the bath water (or suck it out of the washcloth). Yech!

It may seem like a chore, but you should cherish every moment of a baby bath. They’ll never be this little again!

A Safe Crib for Co-Sleeping

Safe bed for cosleepingCo-sleeping is a frequent practice in many families, but it’s also a safety concern. In some forms, co-sleeping is a good thing: sharing a room with your little one is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It lets you monitor their sleep more closely and watch for dangers, which helps reduce the risk of SIDS. What’s not recommended is sharing a bed with your baby, especially when older siblings are in bed with you too.

Co-Sleeping and SIDS

Sure, bed-sharing with babies is a common practice, and we certainly get enough comments from mothers who co-slept with all of their children and everything was just fine. Yes, that’s usually how it is. No one said that co-sleeping guaranteed SIDS. It just increases the odds, and needlessly! Just as putting your baby on his or her stomach to sleep, crib bumpers, or loose bedding, co-sleeping is something that puts your baby at risk and is completely preventable.

There are plenty of good reasons to begin transitioning your baby to sleep in the crib. It gives your baby a safe place of his or her own to sleep, while helping you with baby sleep training techniques. It’s also less work and worry when it’s time for your little one to go to bed. One of the reason more parents don’t do it is that making this transition is difficult, especially when you’re still breastfeeding at night. That’s where a co-sleeping crib, such as the Arm’s Reach Bassinet, can be invaluable.

A Safe Bed for Co-sleeping

The key innovation in co-sleeping beds is that they’re separate from your bed.

Arms Reach Bassinet Mini Crib
Arm's Reach Co sleeper
Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper Mini Bassinet Convertible
Size: 34 x 20 x 31 inches ; 28 pounds
  • Wheels on one end to move easily around the house.
  • Ventilated floor to avoid heat build-up
  • Comes with 100% cotton fitted sheet and carry bag
  • 2 side pockets which you should load with extra pacifiers
  • Safe place for baby to sleep next to bed.
The Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper Mini Bassinet is designed for keeping your baby close to your bed, but in his or her safe little space. It attaches securely to any adult bed (size twin all the way to California king) just under the mattress. That way, you’ll have your baby right next to you for comfort and closeness.The mini bassinet is easy to assemble and comes with a decorative liner to keep your baby cozy. The bottom is ventilated to prevent your baby from getting too warm. It’s also portable enough to be used as a little baby play yard, safe from pets or anything on the floor.Portability is one of the best features of this bassinet – it’s wheeled on one side for moving around the house, and also comes with a case so that you can fold it up for travel (weighs only 25 pounds). Thus, it’s great to take on trips or to the grandparents’ house for a weekend.

If you’re currently cosleeping with your baby (letting him or her sleep in bed with you), you should really think about this product. It provides all of the closeness and convenience of having your baby next to you in bed, but gives them a safe little spot to fall asleep in.


Arms Reach Bassinet Mini Crib Reviews
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Baby Sleep Training: Benefit or Harm?

sleep training benefits or harms

Establishing healthy sleep habits for your baby has many potential benefits, the most immediate of which is more sleep for the both of you at night. No one’s disputing the idea that a baby sleeping through the night (at the appropriate age) is a good thing. It’s just that getting there can be emotionally taxing on both the baby and the parents.

Beneficial or Harmful?

Some parents worry that baby sleep training techniques — especially those where some crying may be involved — might have emotional or physical consequences on the baby, the parents, or their relationship. Most of these concerns originated with pure extinction methods, better known as cry-it-out (CIO). This method “is not usually recommended nowadays because of the distress it causes parents and infants.”

However, the concerns were extended even to current best practices for baby sleep training.

The focus of the debate seems to be the possibility of long-term harms from baby sleep training, but less attention has been paid to the potential long-term benefits it offers. It’s quite possible that there are benefits to both maternal and child health that may extend well beyond the 3-year follow-up. 

The Infant Sleep Study

Now the benefits and harms of baby sleep training have been evaluated in a scientific setting. A new study in the top journal Pediatrics performed a randomized research trial to evaluate the long-term benefits, and possible harm, of baby sleep training intervention. The background information on the study is both sobering:

  • 45% of mothers report sleep problems for babies between the ages of 6 and 12 months
  • Infant sleep problems double the risk of maternal depression symptoms
  • Sleep-related health issues are costly to families and healthcare systems

Baby Sleep Training Techniques

The good news is that most infant sleep problems, as the authors put it, “are readily treatable.” For babies 6 months of age and older, proven sleep training techniques such as controlled comforting help infants learn to self-soothe and to sleep independently. From 2003 to 2005, Hiscock and colleagues conducted the Infant Sleep Study, an effort to improve infant sleep problems at age 8-10 months. It was a large, community-based trial emphasizing positive bedtime routines and one of two baby sleep training techniques:

  1. Controlled comforting, in which parents respond to their infant’s crying at longer and longer intervals. This teaches the baby to self-soothe gradually, rather than going cold turkey with cry-it-out.
  2. Camping out, in which a parent sits with the child as they learn to fall asleep independently, and slowly removes herself or himself from the room.

And baby sleep training is effective.A systematic survey of behavioral intervention for baby sleep problems found that:

  1. 49 of 52 programs (94.2%) were successful, measured as clinically significant reductions in bedtime resistance and night waking 3 to 6 months later.
  2. Sleep training had numerous clear secondary benefits, including better parent sleep, mental health, and child-parent relationships.
  3. No studies found evidence of detrimental effects, including follow-ups as long as 3 years later.

The results of the study were compelling: parents who did intervention reported fewer sleep problems at age 10 months, and the mothers were less likely to have suffered depression at 2 years. In other words, sleep training was clearly effective in both establishing healthy sleep habits and preserving mom’s mental health.

Long-term Effects

As a follow-up to their study, the authors went back in 2009 when the infants were 6 years of age. They looked to see if there was evidence of intervention versus control group families in:

  • Child emotional and conduct behavior
  • Sleep patterns, stress levels, and psychosocial functioning
  • Child-parent relationships, closeness, and attachment
  • Maternal mental health in terms of depression, anxiety, and stress
Among the 265 families that participated, there were no significant differences in any category between the intervention group and the control group. In other words, behavioral sleep techniques had no long-term effects on children or their parents.
So parents and health professionals can confidently use baby sleep training intervention to address infant sleep problems. In fact, the authors note that “Teaching parents to regulate their children’s sleep behavior is a form of limit setting that, combined with parental warmth, constitutes the optimal, authoritative parenting style for child outcomes.”


The Best Baby Food Grinders

Baby Bullet GrinderThere are plenty of reasons to make your own baby food. It saves money. It lets you choose what your baby eats, and find new foods for him or her to enjoy. It’s also a very green, earth-friendly thing to do given the amount of plastic, glass, and metal that goes into packaging commercial baby foods.The baby food grinder, also called a baby food mill, is the central part of a baby food making operation.

You’ve probably heard of the Baby Bullet (at right; a grinder made famous on TV), but there are many to choose from. Which grinder is best? We looked through a dozen models, and chose the three that we like best. Here are their reviews.

Beaba Babycook
Baby Chef Ultimate
Kidco Food Mill

Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker

Beaba babycook baby food grinderThe Beaba Babycook baby food maker is an all-in-one, compact countertop appliance for making baby food. It combines a baby food grinder with a food steamer, bottle warmer, and defroster to let you prepare fresh, healthy food for your baby. This is the original baby food maker, and a winner of the 2008 JPMA Innovation Award. Beaba has a great demo and video on how the appliance works.


Beaba Babycook Grinder Reviews
Buy this Grinder Now
  • Steam cooks fresh fruits and vegetables in less than 15 minutes. Steaming preserves more vitamins and nutrients than other methods, and soften foods for blending into spoonable baby food.
  • Purees and blends food to desired consistently with a french-made grinder
  • Reheats previously frozen prepared foods
  • Warms bottles or baby food in a special compartment on the top.
  • Includes a 2½ – cup capacity unbreakable polysufone bowl, cooking basket, and spatula
  • BPA Free, Phthalate Free, Lead Free

Beaba Food Storage Containers

Beaba babycook grinder extra containersThe Beaba Baby food grinder comes with a mixing bowl and cooking basket. You’ll want to invest in some good storage containers as well, to save and freeze/refrigerate all of that delicious baby food! In most sessions, you’ll make a lot of food at once. The year after my daughter was born, we went to a a farmer’s market and got a HUGE winter squash (it was probably 2 feet long). Steaming and blending all of that squash was no easy task, but it made a lovely orange puree and our daughter just loved it. We didn’t feed it to her at every meal, obviously, but it lasted all winter long.

The BPA-free Beaba storage containers are ideal for storing, traveling with, and reheating your homemade baby food. There’s a lot to like about these containers:

  1. Hermetically sealing lids ensure an airtight closure to preserve all that fresh, healthy goodness.
  2. Safe to use in the freezer and microwave, wash in the dishwasher, and reheat food in the Babycook.
  3. Made in France (like the grinder) of BPA-free polypropylene
  4. Two each of 5-ounce and 10-ounce capacity containers with measuring lines on the side.

Beaba Squeeze Pouch

Babypote baby food pouchBeaba also makes a unique reusable squeeze poouch — the Beaba Babypote — to store, pack, and let your little ones eat your freshly made baby food. It’s dishwasher safe and BPA free, and completely reusable. I like this pouch because it:

  • Is made of phthalate-free soft silicone for easy squeezing
  • Has a snap-on lid to keep the tip sanitary, and a wide neck for easy cleaning
  • Is a soft, fun way for little ones to enjoy fruit compotes or other food
  • Lets them feed themselves, as easily as drinking a bottle!

Baby Chef Ultimate Baby Food Maker

Baby Chef GrinderThe most highly reviewed baby food grinder on Amazon is the Baby Chef Ultimate Baby Food Maker by Kidsline. This compact maker has a unique side-by-side design: generous steamer basket on the left that can also be used to warm or reheat food, and a grinder on the right that can chop, blend, or puree fresh fruits and vegetables for your little one.

I like the design of the 4-point grinder blade, whose raised angle points ensure a smooth and consistent result. It comes with a storage bowl and airtight lid for storage of food that you’ve made, or to take a meal on the go.


Beaba Babycook Grinder Reviews
Buy this Grinder Now
  • All-in-one Machine: It steams, chops, blends, purees, defrosts and warms
  • Also accommodates warming of baby bottles
  • Dishwasher-safe measuring cup, tongs, insulation spacer, and processor lid included
  • BPA-free materials can be washed with soap and water.
  • Recipe booklet with tips and recipes for soups, pancakes, and more

Kidco Babysteps Electric Food Mill

Kidco baby food grinderThe Kidco Babysteps food mill is your basic baby food grinder – a compact, handy appliance that blends fruits and vegetables into healthy baby food. It comes with a two-cup bowl and is completely dishwasher safe (except for the motor housing). The three pieces are easy to disassemble without complicated steps or referring to the instruction manual.

This is a no-frills electric grinder that’s inexpensive and has some of the best reviews on Amazon. It’s well-made and compact, two important features for the crowded, often accident-prone kitchens of new parents.


Kidco baby food mill
Buy this Grinder Now
  • Blends and purees fresh food into baby food
  • Dishwasher safe, easy to take apart and clean
  • Turbo button for pulsing rotations
  • Two-cup blending bowl with non-skid bottom.
  • Includes a blending attachment for more thorough mixing.

What To Read Next

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The 3 Best Crib Mattresses

baby sleeping on crib mattressKeeping your baby comfortable is an important aspect of baby sleep training. That comfort starts with the crib mattress, which (as you’ll find) usually doesn’t come with the crib. There are almost as many options for baby mattresses as adult mattresses!

Most baby crib mattresses also fit a toddler bed, so this is a mattress that your little one could sleep on for the next 3-4 years. To help you, we’ve compiled our picks for the best baby crib mattresses in a few different categories: all-around mattresses, extra firm, and organic mattresses.

All-around Mattresses
Extra Firm Mattresses
Organic Mattresses


Best All-Around Crib Mattresses

best crib mattresses There are many good options for an all-around mattress. They’re roughly a standard size in terms of length and width (52 inches by 27 inches), though the depth can vary. And you should still measure the crib or toddler bed it’s for. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right mattress for your baby:

  • Don’t make the mistake of getting a cheap 3″ thick mattress. Technically one will work, but it’s flimsy. Quality mattresses are 5 inches thick or more.
  • Your baby doesn’t need a super-soft mattress. In fact, firm mattresses are safer because they reduce the chances of suffocation.
  • Even though they’re kind of bulky, if you buy a crib mattress online, you can usually get free shipping. I won’t lie, it’s fun to get a huge package in the mail, even if it’s just a baby crib mattress.

Kolcraft Pure Sleep Therapeutic 150 Crib Mattress

best kolcraft baby mattressKolcraft is a family company (started in 1946) whose core business is producing safe, sturdy mattresses for cribs. The Kolcraft 150 crib mattress is so named because it contains 150 steel coil springs, densely packed together to provide firm and consistent support, and covered with soft hypo-allergenic material.

It fits standard cribs as well as toddler bed frames, and comes with a 10 year manufacturer’s warranty. This is a well-made mattress that’s both firm and thick (some crib mattresses you see are a paltry 2 to 3 inches thick). For all-around quality this is an outstanding and affordable choice.

And best of all, it’s made in the U.S.A.!

  • Perma-Dri cover that’s both durable and waterproof; it wipes clean with a damp cloth.
  • Phthalate and flammability compliant without toxic fireproofing chemicals.
  • Natural airflow pocket to keep mattress fresh without any metal venting
Dimensions: 51.62 inches long by 27.25 inches wide x 5.00″ deep
Reviews: Kolcraft crib mattress reviews
Buy this mattress now


Sealy Soybean Foam-Core Crib Mattress

Here’s an excellent mattress whose durable core is made from a renewable resource: American soy. It’s made from high-density soybean foam that’s both hypoallergenic and more durable than traditional foams.

The result: extra support and reduced sagging. It’s also lightweight, which is useful when you have to change the sheets or lower the crib.

This mattress meets flammability standards, is made in the U.S.A., and comes with a lifetime warranty. It fits a standard crib and a toddler bed frame. Overall, a great American-made mattress that supports farm families!

  • Soy-based high density foam core to reduce sagging
  • Water-resistant and wipes clean with damp cloth
  • Square-cut corners for snug fit in cribs
  • Airflow pocket to let mattress breathe
Dimensions: 51.6 inches long x 27.2 inches wide x 5 inches deep
Reviews: Sealy baby Mattress Reviews
Buy this mattress now
Sealy baby crib mattress
Sealy soybean core mattress


Extra Firm Crib Mattresses

Babies don’t need the cloud-like pillowy mattresses that their parents might prefer. In fact, a firm mattress is safest because it won’t let your baby sink into it or get caught between the mattress and the side of the crib. And as you’ve probably seen, babies can fall asleep just about anywhere. Between the baby fat, the diaper, the clothes, and the swaddler, there’s plenty of padding to go around!

Serta Nightstar Extra Firm Crib Mattress

Our favorite crib mattress in the extra firm category is made by legendary mattress company Serta (of “Perfect Sleeper” fame). Its full perimeter border wire and heavy gauge coils provide an extra firm, balanced, and supportive sleeping surface. Cloth binding at the edges and “lock stitching” add to the durability. And the laminated cover is easy to clean.

As mattresses go this is on the larger side of standard, so it fits quite snugly into most cribs with no room at any edge. And the fact that your baby can stand on the reinforced sides without sagging is a real comfort. This is by far the most safety-conscious crib mattress we’ve come across.

  • Top insider layer is Serta Fireblocker; outside is a cotton blend
  • Border wire keeps edges firm even if baby is standing
  • Meets all federal and state standards
  • 25 year warranty
Dimensions: 52.5 inches long x 27.3 inches wide x 5.8 inches deep
Reviews: Firm Mattress Reviews
Buy this mattress now


Organic Baby Crib Mattresses

If you’re teaching your baby about organic materials, the first place to start is where he or she sleeps. Happily, there are a some excellent organic baby mattresses out there. Generally “organic” means that the covering and comfort layers (padding) are made from organic materials such as organic cotton. There’s no disadvantage to this; organic mattresses are just as water-resistant as non-organic ones.

L.A. Baby Organic Cotton Orthopedic Crib Mattress

LA baby organic crib mattressThe most popular organic baby mattress on Amazon (and a consistent bestseller overall) is the organic cotton two-sided orthopedic crib mattress from L.A. Baby. Two-sided mattresses like this are less common these days for a simple reason: they last longer than a one-sided mattress because you can flip them over on a routine basis. There’s also an extra support on the sides for your infant’s safety and orthopedic comfort.

The cotton insulator pad and comfort layers are made from 100% certified organic cotton materials. Cloth bindings prevent the edge seams from splitting, and the mattress meets all federal and state flammability standards.

  • Certified 100% organic cotton insulator pad and comfort layers
  • Water-resistant, antibacterial surface
  • 240 inner coil springs of 15.5 gauge steel
Dimensions: 52 inches long x 27.5 inches wide x 5.8 deep
Reviews: Organic Mattress Reviews
Buy this mattress now

Willow Natural Coconut Palm Crib Mattress

Organic coconut palm mattressThis mattres is made by Da Vinci, a well-respected maker of mini cribs for babies. It’s constructed of a natural coconut palm fiber and filled with latex-free foam to provide a completely organic foundation for your baby’s crib.

I’m not thrilled about the fact that this mattress is made in China, but I know that Da Vinci prides themselves on craftsmanship, and those who have bought this mattress simply love it. It’s balanced and engineered to be usable on both sides (one for infants, one for toddlers).

And the idea that it’s made from a coconut palm tree is simply enchanting. Why can’t more things be made of them?

  • Engineered and balanced to be used on both sides (flippable)
  • Soft 100% cotton covering, all natural coconut palm foundation
  • JPMA certified and 10-year limited warranty
Dimensions: 52 inches x 27.5 inches x 6 inches
Reviews: Best Organic Mattress Reviews
Buy this mattress now

What To Read Next

Still looking at cribs too? Check out our reviews of the best 4-in-1 convertible cribs for some great options.

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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 Amazon.com. 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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21 Baby Sleep Tips

21 Baby Sleep TipsSo, you’re interested in improving your baby’s sleep habits, and teaching him or her to sleep through the night? This page is a great starting point. On it, I’ve collected 21 of my best “baby sleep” tips, with links to more detailed articles. Read and enjoy!

1. Put in the hard work. Some babies are great sleepers. Many are not, but have the potential. Of course they’ll learn to sleep through the night eventually, but if you want that to happen sooner rather than later, it’s going to take some work. That’s what baby sleep training is all about.

2. Try the early bedtime. It’s a surprising but widely accepted fact that putting a baby to bed earlier often helps him sleep later. For our boys, bedtime is around 7:30 p.m., perhaps half an hour after dinner. That’s what setting an early bedtime means. Not 9:00, but closer to 7:00.

3. Find a routine and stick to it. This is easier than it sounds: figure out the steps you need to get your baby to bed, and make a habit of them. Same order, same time, every night. This consistency is a critical part of baby sleep training.

Daytime Preparation

4. Babies need exercise. Just like an adult, a baby who gets no exercise or stimulation during the day may not be tired come bedtime. Daytime is playtime. That’s what jumpers and activity gyms are for, right? When your baby starts learning to crawl or walk, they’ll usually get enough exercise on their own.

5. Offer a good dinner. If your baby is taking single-grain cereal and/or solid food, make sure he or she eats a good, filling dinner. If you find your baby waking up hungry in the night (and needing a bottle), try offering a little bowl of cereal 20 minutes before bedtime. This often provides the slow burn to help your baby go for longer. And nursing or a warm bottle of milk is the perfect way to top it off.

6. Give your baby a bath. A quick, warm bath is a natural soothing experience for your baby, especially drying off with a fluffy towel and then being dressed in some warm pajamas.

Setting the Sleep Stage: Your Baby’s Room

7. Darkness is key. Make sure that the nursery or bedroom where your baby sleeps is totally dark — with the possible exception of a night light — and pay special attention to blocking out the early morning sun. Sunlight is a natural wake-up signal; using room-darkening shades and curtains to block it out will help your baby sleep past, you know, dawn.

8. Provide some white noise. A sound machine or small fan in your baby’s room will provide a soothing hum of background noise. This has the added benefit of drowning out other noises — siblings crying, inconsiderate neighbors mowing the lawn, and the like — that might otherwise wake your baby up early.

9. Break out the pacifiers. We stock up on the best pacifiers whenever we can, hoping that there’s always one to be had come bedtime. I don’t bother trying to put a baby to bed without it.

Crib Sleeping

10. Put baby to sleep in the crib. There is no safer and better place for your baby to fall asleep than his or her own crib. It’s so tempting to snuggle them in your own bed or let them konk out on the couch. But making the crib part of the nightly routine will help your baby sleep more consistently.

11. Think crib safety. While we’re on the topic, ensure that your crib is a safe place by making sure it’s not on recall, that it’s assembled correctly (with all bolts tightened), and does NOT have crib bumpers. Keep it at least 2 feet away from electrical outlets, cords, curtains, or other shock/strangulation hazards. And never put the crib near, or in the direct line of, a heater or air conditioning vent.

12. Make the crib fun. Safety concerns aside, your crib doesn’t have to be a stark and cold place. Make it warm and inviting. Get the cute bed set (but toss or repurpose the bumpers). Pick out your favorite baby crib mobile. Make it so your baby likes the crib.

Dress Your Baby for Bed

13. Use nighttime diapers. Getting your baby dressed for bed starts with a fresh clean diaper. Ideally, one of the thicker overnight diapers, such as Huggies Overnites, that are designed to last 8-10 hours or more. These things can absorb A LOT. They cost more, but they’re worth it.

14. Put on soft, comfy pajamas. Don’t let your baby go to sleep in daytime clothes. They make cute pajamas and sleeper sets for babies. These soft little outfits aren’t just for keeping your baby warm – they’re a comforting, tactile signal that it’s time to go to sleep for the night.

15. Use a swaddle or sleep sack. Swaddling your newborn provides a snug comfort not unlike being in the womb. There’s a reason they use swaddling in the NICU – it makes babies go right to sleep. Once they’re too old for swaddling, a sleep sack or sleeping bag will serve the same purpose while providing the legs a bit of room to move.

Get Involved with Baby’s Sleep Habits

baby blankets on etsy

Winter is coming! Love the hand-sewn baby blankets on Etsy

16. Read books at bedtime. Reading a book or telling a story to your baby at bedtime is a great way to relax, spend some quality time, and mentally prepare your baby for bed. Ever notice how most of your favorite baby books end with the characters going for bed?

17. Monitor your baby’s sleep. Use a good baby monitor to listen for fussing or wake-ups. I really like the video baby monitors because they let you watch your baby (with night vision cameras), check the nursery temperature, and even have 2-way communication so you can talk to your baby.

18. Practice soothing techniques. On a related note, learn and practice the soothing techniques that work for your baby. Rocking, singing, speaking softly, and reinserting the pacifier are classics. Try everything, and remember what works.

Handling Baby Sleep Problems

19. Help your baby with gas. Babies, especially newborns, have digestive systems that aren’t well prepared to handle digestive gas. It’s why you have to burp them, and possibly why they suddenly have bouts of fussiness with no apparent reason. There are at least 5 things you can do if your baby has gas, and you should really make an effort on this front before bedtime.

20. Watch out for and address teething. Sometime between the ages of three and eight months, your baby will start having teeth come in. This can be a painful, almost torturous process for some babies. Still, there are ways to help a teething baby so that they can still get a good night’s sleep.

21. Break bad habits. I’m saving my hardest bit of advice for last. You know what your “bad” baby sleep habits are – the shortcuts, the things you know you shouldn’t do (or should do, but don’t). Letting your baby sleep in the swing because it’s easier. Leaving him or her in the outfit they fell asleep in. Keeping your baby up late so you can enjoy all the cuteness. It’s not an easy thing, but you’ll have to break or avoid bad baby sleep habits if you want the ultimate outcome: a baby that consistently sleeps through the night.

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Best Baby Mobiles Baby won't sleep Sick Baby medicine cabinet baby bedtime routine
The best crib mobiles in musical, black/white, and organic categories. If your baby baby won’t sleep, this guide will help you diagnose and fix the problem. With cold and flu season approaching, here are 14 things for baby’s medicine cabinet. Establishing a bedtime routine is a critical for teaching babies to sleep through the night

5 Reasons to Read to Your Baby at Bedtime

Read to babyOne thing I wish that I did more was read to my kids at bedtime. We used to do it every night with our daughter. Now she wants a story instead of a book. Her twin brothers don’t get a book very often, but when they do, they love it. They enjoy the one-on-one attention from mom or dad. And why not? There are at least 5 great reasons to read to your baby at bedtime:

1. Learning. You know, from books.

There are all manner of baby books featuring letters, colors, numbers, and other basic elements of learning. Your baby will love the bright colors and vivid images. And baby books have changed since we were little. There are things to feel, squeeze, lift up, and otherwise get your kid engaged in the book.

Even so, many of our favorite bedtime baby books are the classics, like Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and I Am A Bunny illustrated by Richard Scarry. We find ourselves reading them again and again, enough that my daughter can tell the story about as well as I can read it. She remembers things from books and stories and repeats them back to us later.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have your baby learn more from books and less from Dora the Explorer? Reading is a good habit that we, as a society, should promote more with our children, who will grow up surrounded by television, video games, and iPads.


2. Quiet baby bonding moments.

In the chaos of parenting small children, reading books is one of the quietest, calmest moments you’ll experience outside of nap time. And once you get your baby engaged in book reading, they’ll be totally on board. You can dim the lights a little and pick a super-comfy chair to rock in.

The little cooing noises they make, the way they touch things in the book and help you turn the pages… those are the moments to appreciate what an adorable and lovable little baby you have. Good times to remember the next time they have a meltdown or a blowout diaper. It’s a wonderful tradition to start early, because when they’re independent 2- or 3-year-olds, this is about the only time you can get them to sit on your lap and remain still.

3. A break for your spouse.

Often we’ll both go into the baby’s room and take turns reading books. Or we’ll just lay and listen, and watch the babies’ cute reactions. Sometimes, though, it’s OK to pass the parenting baton and take a little break. One of us gets to enjoy this moment of freedom, and the other gets to spend some time bonding with a cute little one. It’s a win-win.

The off-parent can throw in a load of laundry, or have a snack, or enjoy five minutes in the bathroom without little hands beating at the door. Sometimes I just lay on the floor because, let’s be honest, raising little kids can be exhausting. Go ahead, you’ve earned it!


4. Make some memories.

It’s no accident that some of my favorite books to read to the babies are ones from my own childhood. There’s a certain magic to reading them a book that, decades ago, your parents or grandparents read to you. The classic baby books have stood the test of time for a reason. We also enjoy reading holiday-themed books, starting a few weeks prior to major holidays (Christmas and Halloween are favorite), to add variety and start building some excitement.

Be sure to try a variety of books. Your babies might like them, and might not. They’ll have their own favorites to add. If and when they can talk, they’ll probably ask you for certain books again and again. It’s one of the first ways that our daughter started expressing her own will, and it was entertaining to witness.


Brother reading to baby

Reading to Baby (Flickr: 4Neus)

5. Get the baby ready for sleep.

I’d be remiss not to mention one of the all-time best parts about reading books to your baby at bedtime: getting your baby ready to go to sleep through the night. There are lots of reasons this works so well:

  • It’s a quiet stretch in a comfy place (your lap)
  • Your warmth and voice are naturally soothing to the baby
  • It becomes part of the bedtime routine

Have you noticed just how many baby bedtime books end with the characters going into bed? I mean, it has to be upwards of 50%. There’s a not-too-subtle message embedded in these books: when they end, it’s bedtime. All of these factors conspire to get your baby ready (mentally and physically) to go to sleep.


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Best Baby Mobiles Baby won't sleep Favorite baby books baby bedtime routine
The best crib mobiles in musical, black/white, and organic categories. If your baby baby won’t sleep, this guide will help you diagnose and fix the problem. Reading one of our favorite baby books will relax and prepare your baby for bedtime. Establishing a bedtime routine is a critical for teaching babies to sleep through the night

7 Reasons Your Baby Woke Up Last Night

7 reasons baby woke up at nightIt’s exasperating when an older baby, one that’s capable of sleeping through the night, wakes up in the middle of it. Especially after you’ve done the baby sleep training successfully. Something has gone terribly wrong!

I’ve been through this with all three of my kids, and I’m here to help. When one of them suddenly began waking up in the middle of the night, we didn’t always know the cause. With a little bit of trial and error, we found that late night wake ups usually stem from one of the following issues:

#1. The Baby Woke Up Hungry

For us, this was the #1 cause of late-night wake ups. As most of my readers know, I’m a big believer in the correlation between nighttime feeding and sleep. A hungry baby isn’t hard to spot: he or she usually won’t settle down without a bottle. When our oldest son was about 11 or 12 months, he started waking up at 5 a.m. consistently to eat. We’d give him a bottle, and he’d go back to sleep. Not bad, right?

The only problem: it trained his body to keep that schedule. Our outstanding pediatrician recommended a couple of weeks of sleep training, in which we slowly weaned him from that bottle. Doing this really seemed to help. We’ve also tried to be vigilant to make sure he eats a good dinner, even offering a bowl of baby cereal half an hour before bed.

He’s still an early riser, but on good days sleeps 7:30 to 7:30.

#2. The Baby is Teething

Teething wreaks all kinds of havoc on otherwise great-sleeping babies. It often makes them unwilling to eat, drink a bottle, or keep a pacifier. And it just plain hurts! Some babies seem to handle it better than others. One of our boys seemed to sleep right through his teeth coming in; the other was just miserable. There are lots of remedies for a teething baby, but nothing works perfectly every time.

If you know your baby is teething, you’ve probably found the sleep problem. Try whatever you can to soothe those swollen gums during the day, and do your best to tough it out. Once those teeth are in, the problem goes away.

#3. Wet or Dirty Diaper

Another common sense problem is that of diapers. In daytime, we might do a diaper change every 4 hours or so. How exactly does that work for a 12 hour sleep stretch at night? In my experience, a wet diaper may not wake a baby up, but a dirty one often does. There’s not much you can do about the latter. But to minimize the impact of wet diapers overnight, we do two things.

  1. We always, always change the baby’s diaper right before bed. As in 2 minutes before the baby goes into the crib.
  2. We use Huggies Overnites diapers which are about twice as thick and absorbent as a regular diaper. It’s just incredible how much they’ll hold.

Without a doubt, this diapering strategy helps our babies sleep for longer.

#4. Improper Sleep Schedule

Babies, just like grownups, tend to settle into a sleep schedule after the newborn stage. For most infants, it’s 2-3 naps during the day and a longer stretch at night. Setting and maintaining this schedule is a cornerstone of sleep training. It doesn’t have to be a strict by-the-minute schedule. Some readers don’t like when I use that word, sending angry comments or e-mails reminding me that babies aren’t robots.

What I mean by “schedule” is simply this: Be consistent. On most days, your baby should have roughly the same number of naps, the same napping hours, and the same early bedtime. Getting off of that schedule can cause problems. For example, letting the last nap of the afternoon go an hour longer tends to make the baby less drowsy come bedtime. Keeping the baby up too late often causes them to wake up earlier (counter-intuitive but true, just ask around). Maintaining a consistent daily/nightly routine will help avoid some of these issues.

#5. The Baby Wasn’t Comfortable

We’ve occasionally had baby wake-ups that are from discomfort other than a diaper change. Sometimes it’s temperature: the baby’s either too warm or too cold. Or he or she got a leg stuck in the bars of the crib. Or the pacifier was lost. You can’t always prevent these problems, but you can take steps to ensure your baby is comfortable even if the temperature fluctuates. Put your baby in some comfortable pajamas at bedtime. There are plenty of adorable pajamas and sleeper sets.

A swaddle or sleep sack can provide some extra warmth and restrict movement. And we love, love, love the light and airy Aden & Anais blankets.  Especially in summertime.

#6. Baby Had A Bad Dream

Do you ever hear your baby fuss or cry out, and go in to find him or her fully asleep? We’ve seen this enough to become convinced that they’re bad dreams. What bad things could babies possibly dream about? I have no idea. Empty milk bottles, perhaps. But if they’ve invented a way to prevent nightmares in babies (or adults), I don’t know about it.

The good news is that the baby often goes right back to sleep on his own. If not, I can usually offer a favorite pacifier and a little comfort, and that’s all it takes. REM sleep, when most dreams occur, tends to make a baby drowsy. If they’re wide awake, it probably wasn’t just a bad dream (more likely teething, gas, or some other physical problem). For more help, see 12 ways to make a baby sleep.

#7. Something External Woke the Baby

This scenario might not be the most likely, but it caused some baby wake-ups for us in the past. Something external was waking them up at night or early in the morning. In one example, it was the trash men (garbage collectors), who thought it a brilliant idea to come by in their noisy truck while it’s still dark outside. This was in spite of our complaints. Neighbors coming home late, barking dogs, and early-morning machinery (like lawnmowers) all have conspired to wake our sleeping babies. One time, after a week of consistent wake-ups at around the same time, we realized that the alarm on a toy digital watch was going off every morning at around 5:20 a.m. We combat this by using a soother or sound machine to provide some white noise. And with the occasional angry letter.

The most intrusive and consistent external cause of early-morning wake ups is 93 million miles away. I’m talking about the sun. Unless we have the room-darkening shade and curtains just right, even a sliver of bright morning sunshine will wake our boys at the crack of dawn. This is especially intrusive in the fall and winter, when sunrise comes extra-early due to daylight savings. It’s brutal. We have to make a habit of checking all of the window treatments each and every night, or else brace ourselves for a very early morning.

There you have it! Tackle these seven potential problems, and you’ll maximize your baby’s chances of sleeping through the night. If your baby’s waking up is unusual (he or she had been sleeping well), check out our article on handling baby sleep setbacks.

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Baby Sleep Sacks and Sleeping Bags Choosing Night Light for Baby Best baby pacifiers Get baby to sleep through the night
Learn about the benefits and bestsellers of baby sleep sacks and sleeping bags. Projection Night Lights keep your baby entertained while in the crib and help soothe him back to sleep. Best Baby Pacifiers has our recommendations for newborns, older babies, and teething infants. Visit our sleep training section for strategies and tips for teaching your baby to sleep through the night.

Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets

Aden & Anais Blanket in WhiteOne of the most important elements of our babies’ bedtime routine came as a gift: a pair of plain white Aden & Anais swaddle blankets. Lightweight, breathable, and incredibly soft, this is the first and last blanket you’ll ever need for your baby.

Aden+Anais has three main product lines for their unique muslin fabrics:
Swaddle Blankets
Dream Blanket
Sleep Sacks & Sleeping Bags

What is Muslin, Anyway?

Muslin, the material for which Aden & Anais blankets are renowned, is a loosely woven cotton fabric. It originated in Bangladesh and became popular in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. Because air moves so freely through this fabric, it’s commonly used for curtains, clothing, and upholstery in hot and dry climates.

Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets

The classic Aden+Anais blankets are perfectly suited for swaddling because they’re large, thin, and lightweight. When you have a newborn you can swaddle him or her with virtually any receiving blanket bigger than a hand towel. It gets more challenging, though, as your baby grows (in length and weight) and becomes stronger.  At some point, a receiving blanket is no longer enough.

Aden & Anais SwaddleHere’s why Aden and Anais blankets are ideal for swaddling a baby:

  • They’re made of a muslin. It’s a special weave of cotton that’s light, airy, and thin.
  • They fold and wrap easily, while remaining breathable and not over-heating your baby.
  • They’re larger than most baby blankets. Measuring 44″ x 44″ or 47″ x 47″, these are enough to wrap your baby a few times.
  • The material is super-soft. Your baby will love that, and be less likely to kick out of it.

Try swaddling with an Aden+Anais and you’ll understand. It’s just easier, and you can make nice folds and tucks (like the girl at left) to keep it secure.

Aden Anais blanket 4 PackSwaddle/Blanket 4-Pack

The Aden & Anais classic and swaddle blankets come in 4-packs. This actually isn’t a bad deal – they often go on sale on Amazon.com, and you’ll be glad to have extras of these. If your babies are anything like ours, they’ll quickly become attached and fall asleep more quickly with the comfort of that soft muslin against their cheeks. Having extras on hand becomes very important.

Plus, you can and should wash the blankets. Aden & Anais encourages it, and says that the more you wash them, the softer they’ll become. Hard to imagine, but it seems true to us.


Aden and Anais Dream Blanket

Aden and Anais Dream BlanketThe muslin swaddle blankets are warmer than you’d expect, but perhaps not enough for use in the colder months (or with an older child). If you’d like something similar but warmer, look into the Aden+Anais Dream blanket. It has 4 layers of muslin instead of one, making for a plush and warm blanket. The Dream blanket is generously-sized, too (47 inches by 47 inches). It’s perfect for:

  1. Keeping your little ones warm, especially on winter nights when a lighter blanket doesn’t seem like enough.
  2. Snuggling on the bed or couch (with a few stuffed animals, of course).
  3. For an older child (2-5 year old) to sleep under in the toddler bed.

Aden Anais Dream Blanket FmailyThough I haven’t had any issues with our single-layer swaddle blankets, I’d imagine that the Dream blanket is more durable, too. This is good for travel or outdoor use, and also handy because kids tend to get attached to blankets like these.

They’re not bad for adults, too. I admit I’ve occasionally “borrowed” one of our boys’ blankets because they’re just so incredibly soft.


Aden+Anais Sleep Sacks & Sleeping Bags

If you’re concerned about having a loose blanket in the crib, check out the Aden & Anais sleep sack. This baby-sized sleeping bag is made of the soft muslin material, but fits snugly over your baby’s pajamas to keep them warm. Kind of like a velcro swaddler, but leaving your baby’s legs to move freely. These sleep sacks aren’t as versatile as a square blanket, but have some nice perks:

  • Snug, safe fit around your baby. Essentially, it becomes part of your baby’s pajamas. No loose blankets to worry about.
  • Warmth with freedom of movement. The arms are completely unencumbered, the legs kept warm in the “bag” without being restricted the way a swaddle does. Perfect for when they start kicking out of the swaddle.
  • Zipper closure with diaper access. The zipper starts at the top (over the baby’s chest) and goes down to the feet. It takes a bit of getting used to, but the advantage is that you can access the critical diaper region without taking the sack off entirely.

Plus, there are lots of cute designs to choose from in the sleep sack. Make sure that you pay attention to the sizes.

Aden+Anais Sleeping Bag Size Chart

Sleep Sack: Aden Anais Sleep Sack Small Aden Anais Sleep Sack Aden Anais Sleep Sack
Size: Small Medium Large
Dimensions: 27 inches by 22 inches 30 inches by 23 inches 34.5 inches by 25 inches
Baby’s weight: 10 to 18 pounds 15 to 24 pounds 22 to 28 pounds


Go get one of these, either for your little one or as a gift. You won’t regret it!