When it comes to babies, I think sleep (or lack there of) has got to be one of the biggest, most debated topics around...although it's probably right up there with starting solids/breastfeeding vs formula and oh wait, don't forget natural vs cesar birth. I guess just about anything and everything to do with babies will elicit wanted (and unwanted) advice and recommendations from everyone and their granny.
I want to share what things have worked for us when it comes to our little girl, because I have always loved reading blog posts from other mommies (I find blog posts are easier to digest than spoken advice, plus I can 'turn them off' and come back to them if I want to and if I like the way the blogger has shared her experiences). I hope you find this post useful, and as always, please leave me a comment below if you have any questions about anything I've written about, or whether you'd also like to share something that has helped your little one sleep well/better.
1. Swaddle Blanket - Groswaddle
I'm sure you have heard that babies like to be swaddled, right? And while I'm sure any old blanket would work, the Groswaddle is a lovely soft and stretchy cotton fabric that wraps perfectly around little newborns. It's also very easy to use (it's designed in a 'T' like shape), so even Dad can help with those early morning wraps after nappy changes. We were given two, and they were just amazing. I had a selection of other swaddles, but somehow Everly was always able to undo them. She stayed pretty snug in her Groswaddle though. She wanted to have her arms out, and would fuss no end until we took them out. You can get your hands on the Groswaddle and other Gro Company items on Takealot.
We used these swaddle blankets until she got too big for them, at around 2 months. Although it may seem like a short time to invest in such a fancy swaddle blanket, it's one of the items that I would buy again and again!
2. Nurture One Nesting Pillow
Nurture One Nesting Pillow
This was probably one of the more expensive sleep accessories, but Everly loved this pillow and even if it only ended up giving us a few peaceful hours of sleep, it would have been worth it. It gave us a LOT more than just a few hours of good sleep though, and had it not gotten so hot here, I probably would have bought it in all the next sizes.
The only downside that I found, is that the stuffing gets 'stuck' on the one side of the pillow, and now matter how much poofing and fluffing I did, I wasn't able to get it even. It's not a big problem though, as you can flip the pillow around, and put a blanket under the other side to make it even. The NurtureOne Nesting pillow is easy to clean, simply pop into the washing machine. I still popped a receiving blanket over the pillow to keep it extra clean though, as I didn't want to have to wash it every time it got dirty. You don't realise just how long it can take to get into the swing of getting all those burps out, and of course getting a good system right with your nappies (we use cloth nappies and had our fair share of leaks until I figured out the correct fit/best absorbent ones to use on her).
What I really loved about the NurtureOne Pillow, is how easy it is to transport a sleeping baby. We were able to pick her up, while sound asleep, and move her to the couch, to the other room, and the best part, it fit perfectly in our pram bassinet! So she could carry on sleeping peacefully while we moved her from our house to Granny across the garden. We have the size 2 (75 cm x 45 cm).
We used the pillow until she was about 2 months old.
This will all depend on where you decide that you want your baby to sleep. We decided Everly would sleep in her own room, and were able to borrow the family bassinet until she moved to her cot.
We had her in a bassinet, in our room for the first night after we got home from hospital. I didn't sleep a wink. I had the bassinet right next to me, and I spent the whole night putting my hand on her chest to make sure she was breathing. We did have a monitor, but didn't use it the first night as I was so close to her. From that moment on, I knew we needed her to sleep in her own room so we that we would be able to rest as much as we could. I had no idea just how noisy newborns are! They grunt, and moan, and squirm, and all while being fast asleep! Our house is pretty small, and the two bedrooms we have (hers and ours) are right next door to each other, so we were able to hear her when she woke up and started crying. From day 2, Everly slept in her bassinet, in her own room (on her Nurture One Pillow and wrapped in her Groswaddle). We used the family heirloom bassinet, a lovely wicker one with homemade bedding borrowed from my sister in law.
I also didn't find it easy feeding her in bed, and I really didn't enjoy the mess of breastmilk all over the sheets (I had a pretty forceful letdown, and every feed I had to have towels and breastpads on hand...it wasn't a pretty sight, and poor Everly learned very quickly to be at the ready or else risk being squirted in the eye/up her nose/all over her face haha). Although feeding her in her room did mean having to get up and go to her room when she woke at night, I really didn't mind.
Those first few weeks were a blur, and I don't know what I would have done without my amazing husband who accompanied me on every night feed and nappy change for those first weeks. It was a very special time, sitting there in our daughters room together.
I would feed her, and then pass her to him and he would burp her (I really didn't like the burping part!) and then we would change her nappy together. He was so patient with me, especially as I insisted we were going the whole cloth nappy route and so every nappy was a bit of a learning curve. Here he is at 04h50 on morning...bear in mind he has to be at work (ie in the dairy for milking) at 04h30...this must have been a weekend morning. So even on his weekend off (he works two weekends a month) he sat with me.
I put two chairs in the nursery, but hadn't intended for the one to be used by my hubby, we just didn't actually have anywhere else to put it. But it worked out so well having two chairs, and the second chair still gets used by visitors all the time. Some people put a bed in their nursery, and if I had had space I probably would have done the same.
In the above photo you can see both the chairs I have in the nursery (my feeding chair on the right & spare chair on the left).
I spent an unhealthy amount of time during my pregnancy, trying to find the perfect night light. As I'm sure other moms can sympathise, it became the one thing I obsessed over. It doesn't get an sillier friends. Thank goodness I stay on a farm in the middle of nowhere, or else I would have spent countless hours perusing shop after shop in search of 'the one'. Although I didn't visit any physical stores, I did spend my fair share of WIFI date, and after getting so dispondant that the 'perfect little bunny night light' was sold out in all the online stores I could find, I realised how silly I was being.
Towards the end of my pregnancy (when I was feeling #ALLtheachesandpains) I booked myself in for the most incredible full body massage here in our town. I know...can you believe we have not one, but two, amazing therapists here #smalltownforthewin! It was while having that massage that I feel in love with the beautiful Rose Quartz lamp that lit up the room, casting a beautiful glow. And the fact that it was pink didn't hurt either. I spent the next few days trying to track down a Rose Quartz lamp, not an easy feat I tell you, mainly because most of the pink stone lamps out there are salt lamps. Salt lamps are also lovely, but tend to crumble and you need to be careful of the heat from the light bulb, and so I chose to rather go with a Rose Quartz lamp. I know nothing about crystals, but thank goodness for Instagram, and I remembered I had a fellow blogger friend who knows everything about crystals. Thank you Siobhan for answering all my questions!
I ordered my pretty pink lamp from Static Energy, and it is my absolute favourite thing about Everly's nursery. It casts a very soft and warm glow on the whole room, and although I now turn it off when I put Everly to sleep (it's rather bright and now that she's older she wakes up more easily), it goes on every evening during bath time and bedtime, and helps Everly know that it's time for bed.
5. Baby Nest
Our Baby Nests have come from BumBumz, a lovely local business run by the delightful Sharon. If you order our BabyNest from her, tell her Roxy sent you. She is a dear friend, and runs her business with love and passion.
She also running a special on her products for the month of February...15% off everything a flat rate courier fee of R100.
Although similar in function to the NurtureOne Cushion, the Baby Nest has been our absolute favourite sleep accessory. So much so, that we are still using one (we have a bigger sized one now) and will probably even get the large size in a month or two. A Baby Nest is sturdier and hardier than the Nurture Pillow, and so, is very easy to travel with and take anywhere and everywhere. It's also really great for slightly older babies, as they can't roll of it.
Once it got too hot for the NurtureOne cushion, I put the Baby Nest in the bassinet, and then was still able to move her around the house while she slept. We also moved Everly to her cot at about 2.5 months (for no other reason that I wanted her to start using it, and the bassinet was really hurting our backs from picking her up and putting her down in it).
She carried on sleeping in her Baby Nest, inside the bassinet, right up until she just got too big for it!
I recently went on holiday to the beach for a week, and instead of having to take a camp cot/bassinet, I just took the Baby Nest and Everly slept like a dream the entire time.
The BabyNest is super easy to clean, simply pop it in the wash and then put it out in the sun to dry. I have been very pleasantly suprised at how well both of them have washed in the washing machine. The spin cycle generally sorts out most of the left over water and then the sun does the rest of the job beautifully. You can also spot clean by hand, which I am proud to say I have had success with.
The other sleep essential is a dummy/pacifier. Everly only gets it when it's nap/sleep time, and pretty much puts herself to sleep when she has it in her mouth. I also give it to her in the car for long journeys. Although there is (again) much debate about the use of a dummy, we are grateful she will take one, and like that she uses it for sleeping.
So there you have it, our favourite sleep accessories for our little girl. Is there anything you would recommend to new moms? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!