Some say the room should be totally dark when the baby goes to sleep. For newborns that fall asleep on their own anyway, this is perfectly reasonable. As babies get older, the process of going to sleep becomes less automatic. Teaching your baby to fall asleep by himself or herself is important to do at a young age. To succeed, you should make everything as routine as possible – sleeping on a set schedule, in an environment that’s always the same. This means putting the baby to bed in the same bed, facing the same direction, in a room with constant temperature.
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Controlling the level of darkness in the room matters as well – at night, it’s easy to keep a room pitch-black, but this has some disadvantages: first, you end up stumbling into everything and possibly poking your baby in the eye because you can’t see. Second, if your baby’s room has windows, the room will generally be lighter during the day even with shades and curtains drawn. Using a night light in your baby’s room can offer several advantages:
- It helps the parents see better in the dark so that they can get around
- It can provide a more consistent level of light (and sound) for your baby at bedtime
- It offers a comfort to babies who don’t like falling asleep in total darkness.
- Fancier nightlights that change colors, play music, and project lights on the ceiling keep your baby entertained while he’s in bed.
As with most baby products, there are hundreds of products available. Choosing the best night light for a baby’s room depends on a number of factors: the size, the brightness, the availability of an outlet, the cost, etc. Here’s a selection of night lights of various kinds, from the basic to the fancy-pants models.
The latest night lights do more than simply glow – they project lighted shapes or designs on the ceiling.
These are all the rage right now. One of the more popular ones is a turtle that projects a constellation
of stars up on the ceiling (he also comes as a sea turtle or ladybug). Undoubtedly these use a bit more
electricity, but they provide relatively safe and passive entertainment for your baby before he falls asleep.
|Twilight Turtle Starry Constellation Night Light|
This turtle night light projects a complete starry night sky to the ceiling of your baby’s room in blue, amber, and green light. Embedded in the star patterns are eight actual constellations including the Big Dipper. It has a 45-minute auto-shutoff and runs on three AAA batteries (included).
This night light plays music for up to half an hour as well. In December 2012 this was the #1 selling baby item on Amazon. It’s also available in sea turtle and lady bug forms. We love it so much that we have a whole article on starry night night lights.
|Fisher-Price Zoo Crib’N Go Projector Soother|
This combination projection night light, music player, and crib mirror attaches to the side of your baby’s crib. In soother mode, it projects a night light image on the wall that changes between two different scenes, and plays music for 18 minutes (classical music or lullaby).
Alternatively, you can remove the projection partand it’s a crib mirror for your baby to look at and play with.
|Homedics Soundspa Lullaby|
We have this night light, which has about three hundred reviews on Amazon. It creates a soothing environment for your baby to go to sleep, complete with a gently-rotating image projection (3 different options) and sound (heartbeat, ocean surf, rainforest, or one of three lullabies). There’s an automatic shutoff timer that’s easy to use; you can set it for 15, 30, or 45 minutes.
Our twins and their 2-year old sister loved the image projection. Unfortunately, we’ve had to exchange it because the projection rotation feature stopped working; this seems to be a common issue. When it works, though, this is a bright, entertaining night light.
|Fisher Price 2-in-1 Projection Mobile|
This is a combination music box, mobile, and projection night light. The mobile has four little stuffed animals (a teal whale, white polar bear, green alligator, and yellow lion). You can remove the mobile part and just use it as a music box that projects to the ceiling.
It takes two AAA batteries and includes a remote control. There are three different music settings as well: classical music, ocean white noise, or heartbeat/womb white noise.
Portable night lights offer another option – these are either rechargeable or run on batteries. The main advantage is that they’re generally baby-safe and you can take them with you on trips or in the car. Kinderglo makes a series of rechargeable ones that are BPA-free and safe to touch. There are also numerous toys that serve as portable night lights; the Playskool Gloworm is one that lights up and plays a little song whenever the belly is squeezed.
|Boon Glo Nightlight with Portable Balls|
This modern night light could be right out of a science fiction movie. The powered base has LED lights, which charge the removable balls on top of them so that they glow in the dark. The balls themselves are about the size of a ripe plum and contain no electronics in them; they’re safe to handle and durable enough for a toddler to play with.
The default mode is soft bluish-white light, but it has an option to slowly cycle through different colors. This space-age night light will entertain and impress in retro or modern decor nurseries.
|Playskool Lullaby Gloworm|
Our daughter received one of these Playskool Gloworms as a gift, and at first, we didn’t even open it. Turns out, when we got it out of the packaging, she loved it. When you press its belly, the worm’s face lights up (for about 5 seconds) and plays a little song that lasts about 15 seconds.
Change it out of demo mode, and it plays some additional songs (including Pachelbel’s Canon in D) which are a bit longer, say 30-40 seconds. The battery life was pretty good and I like that this doll is soft and ultra-portable. We’ve taken it on trips with our daughter; she’ll press it over and over again until she falls asleep.
Even standard night lights have come a long way in recent years – most of them now use LED lights, which are far more efficient, and the designs are always getting better. The down-side of these lights is that they have to be plugged directly into an outlet, which isn’t always available in a convenient location in baby’s room.
|AmerTac Flat Panel Night Light|
Your basic rectangular LED night light, this one in blue. These offer a nice, soft glow but they might be brighter than you’d like for a baby’s room. They’re good for bathrooms or hallways, though. The blue light is soft, and should never burn out (as traditional night-lights used to do).
No bells and whistles here; if you plug it in, it turns on. One nice feature is that it’s thin and will be flush against the wall if possible, and thus makes a good outlet cover.
|Megabrite LED Color Changing Night Lights|
These color-changing LED lights with photo sensor are entertaining for babies and toddlers both. They plug right into the wall and change from red to green to blue to white when you push the botton.
The only disadvantage to these is that they draw your toddler’s attention to the outlet, even though they cover it pretty well.
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