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Baby showers are so fun and new parents often get TONS of things for their newest addition, but… what do you really NEED for your newborn? Today I’m sharing my 3 must-haves for newborn sleep as well as a few other favorite newborn items of mine.
You don’t want to miss:
Why less is more when it comes to newborn sleep
The 3 things that will help your newborn sleep well (and why!)
Thoughts on pricey “gizmos and gadgets”
PLUS, a few of my other favorite newborn items!
Links and resources:
Free download: Newborn wake windows quick reference
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For more about me, what I do, what I offer, and more free resources check out my website.
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Hey there. This is Michele DiSpirito with Good Night Families and you are listening to the Sleep and Sanity podcast, where I help you with your little one's sleep and hopefully help you find your sanity along the way. Today, I will be talking about newborn must-haves. So this past weekend I went to my brother and sister-in-law's baby shower and it just got me thinking about all the things that you need for newborn sleep. So I will be sharing those few things with you soon. So stay tuned.
This episode is brought to you by The Newborn Sleep Guide. The Newborn Sleep Guide is for you if you are pregnant or have a baby between the ages of zero and 15 weeks. This guide will teach you what newborn sleep looks like, the best times to provide your baby the opportunity to sleep, the best, safest places for your baby to sleep, how to dress them for their sleep, and so many other things. If this is something that you are interested in, you can check out The Newborn Sleep Guide at goodnightfamilies.com/newborn.
Before I hop into the episode, I wanted to share that this will be the last episode of this season. I will be taking the month of August off from the podcast and we will come right back in, in September with some great episodes for you. If there is anything in particular that you would love to hear about, any guests that you would like me to ask on to the show, I would love to hear your suggestions. You can email me at email@example.com and let me know your thoughts and suggestions. And as always, I so appreciate you being here and listening in! Enjoy the episode.
When it comes to newborns, they really don't need as many things as a lot of us think that they need. The world likes to tell us that we have to have all the gadgets and gizmos and the thousand-dollar things to be able to get our babies to sleep through the night.
And they only fit in the thing for like two months.
So it's just a ton of money and not necessary. And then you have to figure out how to wean them out of it and that sort of thing. So I'm not dropping any names, but you might be able to figure out what I'm talking about. All that to say, they really don't need a lot of things.
There are really just three things that I highly recommend for all newborns that aren't going to necessarily create these really big struggles, battles, down the road when it's time to wean out of them.
1. A Swaddle!
The first thing is a swaddle. I love the velcro swaddles because you don't have to try and tie the perfect knot, essentially, and it doesn't just pop open.
So there's a little learning curve a little bit to be sure you know how tight to get it and all of that. And you want the swaddle to be very snug because your baby's movements and their Moro Reflex, their startle reflex, is quite strong and can loosen even what you would feel is the snug fit. And of course, the fabric will stretch a little bit too. So just keep that in mind, you want it to be very snug.
The reason we love the swaddle is one, like I mentioned, the Moro Reflex or the startle reflex. When you lie your newborn down without a swaddle on, I'm sure you've noticed that they'll twitch and jerk and move. That's called the startle reflex and can obviously be very startling when they are trying to sleep and then that kicks in. The swaddle will help settle that, calm them, and when the startle reflex kind of kicks in, they're not jerking around so suddenly and sharply that it would startle them awake. And if it does, it's not enough, most of the time, for them to stay fully awake. So it helps with that.
The swaddle also is a wonderful reminder to them of their favorite place in the world, which is the womb. Obviously, the last few days, weeks, or months of their time in the womb were a bit snug. So, having the swaddle will help them feel like they're at home, in the womb. So I highly recommend the swaddle.
As I said, I love the velcro swaddle (like this one), and something to keep in mind is you want to be sure that their upper body is super tight and snug with their arms down by their sides. There are also swaddles where you can put their arms up, but the velcro ones that I'm referring to have the arms down by the side. Either way, you want to be sure that their hips and their legs have plenty of free range of motion. We don't want any tightness around the hips because that can hinder some hip development.
2. A Pacifier
The next thing that I highly recommend and absolutely love when it comes to newborn sleep is the pacifier. So this is the only age where I recommend using a pacifier. And it's great for newborns because they have a huge desire for that non-nutritive sucking. They want to suck all the time, but they're not always needing to eat. So the pacifier is a great thing to be able to fill in the gaps between the times that they're needing to eat. And when they just want to have that non-nutritive sucking.
But, yes, there is some trial and error when it comes to pacifiers. They’re not a one-size-fits-all, literally. And some babies end up not taking to them. Neither of my boys ever really did. But it has been proven that it is a myth that if you're breastfeeding, you cannot use a pacifier. That is not true. You can definitely use a pacifier and breastfeed.
I think babies are a bit smarter than we give them credit for. They will quickly learn that the pacifier does not produce milk, so it is totally fine to do that. If you do have a concern with milk supply though, (I'm not a lactation consultant. I have heard, researched, and from my own breastfeeding journeys) you can wait a little bit until your milk supply is established. The idea is to wait to introduce the pacifier because all of that non-nutritive sucking will help stimulate the milk production. So baby at the breast a lot and if they fall asleep, and they will, it's totally fine. But, for the time when your milk supply is established or you're not choosing to breastfeed at all, use that pacifier to help fill in those gaps of the time that they want to suck, but it's not time to eat and that'll help them settle to sleep.
It's also been shown that it can help reduce the risk of SIDS by using a pacifier. But this is one of those things that can help reduce it, but it's not a preventative thing. It's not something that's guaranteed. So if you choose not to use a pacifier or your baby chooses not to take one of the many that you've offered, it’s totally fine.
3. A Sound Machine
And the third and final thing that I highly recommend when it comes to newborn sleep is a sound machine and a sound machine that plays white noise or brown noise or pink noise. No music or lullabies or anything like that. We want something that has a constant, consistent sound that they are able to kind of tune into.
Again, this is a help to help them be reminded of their favorite place in the world. The womb, it was very, very loud in there. We have a lot of things going on around the womb. Our digestive system, our arteries, and veins, and all the things flowing around, it’s actually quite noisy in there. So coming from there, silence really is deafening when it comes to trying to get our babies to sleep. So it'll help them to settle and soothe.
It's really helpful for fussy babies at the time that they're being fussy. Having a sound machine that will play consistently all the way through the time that they are sleeping. Otherwise, it’s almost like the opposite of a loud noise, startling them awake - turning off the noise to silence can also cause them to wake up.
A few other newborn favorites
Those are my top three must-haves when it comes to newborn sleep.
I don't know if you've noticed, but I did not mention a completely blacked-out room. This is something that you can go ahead and do for newborns, but this is the age where they can sleep just about anywhere, anytime, because they are just so tired and they have such a drive to sleep most of the time. If you are struggling with your newborn sleep, definitely go ahead and do the blackout, 100%, pitch-black in the room, wherever they're napping.
Muslin swaddle blankets
Another thing that I really love for the newborn days is the muslin swaddles. As I said, I prefer using the velcro swaddles when it comes to actually swaddling a baby, but the muslin swaddles are great for so many other things.
I use them a lot as actual burp rags because the burp rags are so tiny. I don't know these babies that only burp up a little bit of milk, but the muslin swaddles are much bigger and can, uh, um, contain most of the things. But they're also great little blankets to cover when there's a little chill or layout on the floor for floor time, that sort of thing.
Video baby monitor
Another crucial thing to have is a baby monitor, especially if you're going to be having any naps where you're not gonna be completely present in the room, which is totally fine. (And I recommend doing that on occasion.)
A baby carrier is another thing that I absolutely loved and used a ton, even around my own home. Being able to get things done around the house and have those contact naps without being glued to the chair, to be able to move around and do other things and still have the baby right on my chest, snuggled, nice and cozy, and getting those good naps and getting some, even skin to skin was a great way to be able to do that was using the wrap carriers.
Then, once the babies get a little bit older, I really like the more strappy type carriers. The ones that have the buckles and clips are great for more back support, but for the newborn days, those cloth fabric wraps are wonderful. I absolutely loved it.
So I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions about newborn sleep, I have a newborn sleep guide for sale that you are welcome to check out and I also offer newborn sleep support. You don't do any traditional sleep training during this season of life, but there are definitely ways that you can help encourage great sleep and promote great sleep all while supporting your baby completely through it. So to check out any of the things that I offer, you can go to goodnightfamilies.com and take a look around.
So until next time friend here's to your sleep and your sanity.
If you found this episode helpful, I would absolutely love it. If you would hit subscribe, follow, if you would rate the podcast, review it, share it with a friend, however, to get the word out, to be able to help more families get the sleep that they need and more moms.
So just to feel sane and heard and just to get the practical advice and guidance that they need to get the sleep that they need and deserve. No matter the steps you take next, I am so grateful that you're here and I appreciate you listening. Until next time. Sweet dreams.