When I was pregnant, I went through all my favorite bloggers who had been pregnant and read through all their pregnancy posts + new baby posts. I just had no idea what world I was coming into so couldn't get enough of reading about other's experiences. I thought it was really helpful to read through their lists of their "must haves" for newborns and I also asked my sister and my friends what their favorite items were. Now that Layla is 5 months I wanted to share our favorites + essentials and hope that my posts are helpful to other new moms and mom-to-be's! I thought I'd start off with sleep essentials as any new moms know, the sleep (or lack of) is the most crucial part of having a newborn.
Our sleep experience: the beginning was just like it is with any newborn, waking up every 1-3 hours to eat but starting at about 8 weeks she was sleeping 6 hours a night, waking up once to eat. At 12 weeks we dropped her middle of the night feeding and ever since then she's been sleeping 9-10 hours a night. We just went through her 4 month sleep regression which lasted about 2 weeks. We were waking up at least 5-8 times a night which luckily were just cries for her pacifier so at least I don't have to stay up to nurse her but still brutal nonetheless for me. Thank goodness we are past that and she is sleeping well again. The one thing that I've always followed (advice from my sister) is to always make sure not to rock her, hold her or feed her to sleep. She always goes down awake but sleepy and has learned to fall asleep on her own since she was born. I feel like that plus the essentials listed below are what has helped her become a good sleeper.
1. SwaddleMe - Layla was a teeny one when she was born at 5lbs and because of some problems at the beginning she was losing a lot of weight (it is normal for newborns to lose weight in the first few days but she was losing a lot more than normal) and to find anything to fit her was impossible. The SwaddleMe wraps are like a pocket for the baby and with the velcro you can just wrap it around them until it fits. Because of how small she was, no other swaddles would fit as well as these. These were perfect for about the first 2 months until she out grew them (and they also shrunk in the dryer so they were getting smaller as she was getting bigger!). They do come in different sizes but once she outgrew them I wanted to try other options. A warning about these: the velcro is strong! We mostly use the aden + anais blankets (I like the bamboo ones better than the muslin ones) which are super soft and a bit delicate. If the velcro got caught onto the blankets it basically pulled all the threads of the blanket and ruined the blanket.
2. aden + anais Easy Swaddle Blanket - We then moved on to the these swaddles which I love because it has snaps and it comes in pretty colors and patterns. We stopped using these when she started to be able to move her arms more and would try to break out of her swaddle.
3. HALO SleepSack - At the same time as the a+a easy swaddles, I also ordered these sleepsacks which we are still using today. The HALO SleepSack has the ability to swaddle with the arms in or out so when she started breaking through her swaddle I just switched it to arms out and she's been happy with it.
4. Cloud b Sound Machine - It's basically a white noise machine but in a cute stuffed giraffe! My sister got this for us and I just love it. Every night I put Layla in her crib and turn this on and let it run for 45 minutes which is on a timer so it just turns off automatically. She's always asleep within minutes of turning it on but I like to leave it on for the long period of time as I think it helps keep her in her deep sleep.
5. Old Navy Sleep Dresses - Layla loves to go crazy with her arms when she sleeps and she would always wake up to scratches on her face so I bought her these sleeping dresses to put her in as they have little mitts on the sleeves that you just turn over to cover her hands. You would think more places would make these kinds of pajamas but Old Navy is the only place that I've been able to find them! The dresses are so easy to put on and great for diaper changes.
6. Soothie Pacifier - Nightime pacifier use can reduce the risk of SIDS so Layla has gone to bed with a pacifier since she was about 2 months old. The hospital gave us these kind of pacifiers so that's what we stuck with and she loves these.
7. Honest Diapers - We've used Huggies, Pampers and now Honest Diapers and I do love the Honest ones the best. Not only because they are eco-friendly and they come in cute patterns but they fit Layla really well and she can sleep 9-10 hours a night in one and not have any leaks.
8. Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Michael Jackson - At nap time I like to leave music on for her because she can't sleep in silence during the day. I think it's because she's so used to our dogs running around, me working in the office with my music on or my husband and I talking that when I put her in her crib to nap, it's too quiet and she can't sleep. I love the lullaby renditions of popular music and Rockabye Baby makes the best albums. The Michael Jackson album is my favorite and we also love Coldplay!