Five must-buys to set up the perfect baby sleep environment

They say money can’t buy happiness. But, it can buy a product (or two) that might help your baby get a better nights’ sleep. (Which to a sleep-deprived parent is happiness.) Say what now?

Your little one’s environment can contribute to how well they snooze. We’re not talking about the basics like a crib or a cute sheet set. But rather factors like lighting, sound, and temperature – for each of which you can acquire items to set up your baby’s space.

And before you start assuming that your baby is just giving off diva vibes, consider how you like to sleep. For example, you might prefer your room darkened, so quiet you could hear a pin drop, or just warm enough that you can snuggle under your blanket all night long. Well, it works the same for your little one. 

So, here’s our list of five must-buys to set up the perfect baby sleep environment.  

1. Blackout curtains, film, or blinds

Less light in the room means less stimulation for your child (which will help keep them calm as they’re going to sleep). Try blackout curtains, or even a  removable blackout film, or a portable blackout blind over the windows directly. For a bonus mom win, the latter two items are handy when traveling. 

2. A dim night light

Installing a dim night light will allow you to see around the room and what’s happening during feeds without distracting your little one by turning on bright overhead lights or side lamps. 

There are many options, such as motion sensor plug-in night lights or animal-shaped table-top lights that turn on at the touch of a hand. There are also phone apps (like this one), which are helpful if you’re traveling. 

3. Thermometer

The temperature of your baby’s sleep environment is an essential consideration for two reasons:

  • Babies sleep better when they’re not too hot or cold.
  • A too-hot room can contribute to your little one overheating, which has been associated with SIDS.

The ideal temperature range for your little one’s room is between 68° – 72°F (or 20° – 22.2°C). So, take the guesswork out of things by picking up a thermometer. This fancy yet affordable option reads the temperature and humidity of a room and even pairs with your phone to let you know of any changes to those stats (how great is technology). 

Safety side note: Ensuring your baby is dressed appropriately for their sleep space can also help avoid overheating. An easy rule of thumb is to dress your baby in only one more layer than you would feel comfortable in for the environment. Or, if you’re using a sleep sack, check the brand’s website for a guide on which TOG rating is suitable for what temperature.

4. Space heater

If you don’t have central heating, a space heater will help keep your baby’s environment comfortable during the cooler months.  

But, if you will use a space heater, you’ll need to do so safely to avoid burns or other accidents. How?

  • Do your research to choose a heater with safety functions like a cool-touch case and a shut-off feature if it’s tipped over or if excess heat is detected. 
  • When using the heater, keep it on a stable surface (to avoid tipping) and at least three feet away from your baby’s bed and away from anything flammable, like sheets and curtains.

5. White noise machine

Babies can sleep through a surprising amount of noise. However, changes in the level of noise or sudden noises can disrupt their sleep. A white noise machine – with its lovely, continuous tones – can help avoid this. 

You can get a machine that sits in your baby’s room, and there are portable solutions – including apps (like this one) – for when you might be traveling. 

However, there are a few safety factors to keep in mind if using white noise. Studies show incorrect and ongoing use of white noise can affect your little one’s hearing, language, and speech development (eek). So:

  • Place white noise at least six and a half feet from your baby’s head.
  • Turn the volume down and never up to maximum.
  • Only use white noise during settling (not for the whole sleep) and for no longer than an hour.
  • Try not to use white noise for every sleep.

These products may not be the Pinterest-worthy decor items you imagined, and they may not guarantee your baby will sleep through the night. But, they might help your baby settle quicker, sleep for longer stretches, or just feel more comfortable in their space. 

Read next: Five tips to help your child get a better nights’ sleep

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