It’s 2AM, your brand-new baby is finally home. You are running on a mix of adrenaline, coffee and a little fear. Your newborn is sleeping, but you are too terrified to make any moves. The transfer from your shoulder to the bassinet is just not worth the risk.
The lights are low and the room is quiet. To keep from nodding off, you turn to your phone. Before you know it, you find yourself searching newborn sleep aids, best products for baby sleep, how to get your newborn to sleep. And then the treasure trove that is the internet unveils shopping guide after shopping guide, new parent advice listicles and new mom chat groups.
Navigating Amazon with one hand, your cart fills up. In addition to the top three sleep aids just identified through your after-hours online research, you throw in that wipe warmer you didn’t get from your registry and a few teethers—because those are essential on day four of life, right?
Your recent purchases have another day before they arrive—all hail two-day shipping—so you turn to social media the following night. After swiping past your college friend’s post of the tacos they ate for dinner and your sister’s not-so inspirational “keep calm and don’t care anymore” meme, your finger lifts. Your scrolling stops and your eyes zero in on an image of a blissful baby sleeping face up in their newborn-approved bassinet.
You’ve been targeted. It’s too late to un-see the headline touting this sleep sack as the latest and greatest innovation in baby sleep. This is the “game-changing” purchase that will set you up for new parent success.
Your next move?
Three words: Add to cart.
It may take a week for that baby sleep innovation to arrive, but in the meantime you try out and then retire the other three sleep products you ordered, never open the wipe warmer and bury the teethers under the stockpile of milk bags that you hope to one day make use of—think positive mama, oversupply can happen!
And when said life-changing sleep sack does finally arrive, you won’t even bother to open it because you’ve come up with your own solution—for the time being—and there’s no way you’re going to mess with it.
New parents can be especially vulnerable throughout the first few weeks and months of their baby’ life. And marketers know it! We are faced with having to care for our new additions while also having to navigate the responsibilities of our day-to-day. So, any product or new parent advice that promises the glimmer of relief or support has to be at least worth a try—especially if it is potentially life changing.
Unfortunately, in my experience, that just hasn’t been the case.
The amount of money I spent on the plethora of baby sleep aids while I was “sleep shopping” could have added up to the amount I eventually used on my baby’s crib and mattress. The menagerie of teethers I have collected thanks to middle-of-the-night panic purchases could decorate an entire—very bizarrely themed—Christmas tree. Even the combined assortment of toys I’ve impulsively added to my cart in the wee hours don’t match the fun my baby has when she’s watching our dog’s tail wag.
Eight months into parenthood and I have developed a few mantras. The first of those being: Click bait is click bait.
Even if an average looking sleep sack is promising to have your baby on a sleep schedule after three nights, chances are, it is just an average sleep sack. Additionally, that same sleep sack will be for sale tomorrow and the days after that. There is no reason to buy it the moment you see it. That’s one token of new parent advice, but I’ve also learned not to buy in bulk before I have tested the product and that the most expensive baby anything isn’t always best.
“If I have all the tools, I’ll be a good parent.”
There is a good deal of trial and error when it comes to baby products, and parenting in general, that is a fact. But you don’t have to try everything, and you don’t have to make any buying decisions before your baby wakes up for their 3AM feeding.
Every baby is different and while “best of” lists may offer a starting point, you’ll just have to wait, try and see. There is no better practice of patience than parenthood—and that’s mantra number two.
I know how hard it is. You can be desperate for help and restricted with where you can go with a newborn—and not to mention physically limited if you have just given birth. The potential of finding help in a product that’s delivered to your doorstep could very well be that lifeline you so badly need. And just having hope of a better tomorrow night might get you through the rest of the endless night you’re currently in.
But before you commit to a purchase, let the item sit in your cart for a day.
Tap into the best resource, fellow parents.
Share the link out to your group chat of moms or social media friends (just keep your sponsored ad blinders on) and see what people you know have to say about it. You might even find that one of your friends has a child that has outgrown the object of your latest desire and is willing to give it to you.
Or perhaps they’ll tell you it was a complete waste. Now that you’re looking at it with fresh-ish eyes, the product that was so full of promise last night, might not even seem as alluring the next day.
When it comes to your new baby, you’ll want to do anything you can for them. You’ll listen to unsolicited new parent advice. You’ll be willing to spend money, time and tears so that they are comfortable, happy and set up the best they can be to adjust to this crazy world.
And some new parent advice and recommended items, even if only a small percentage of what you’ve equipped yourself with, may save the day or night. But try to trust your instincts, get to know your little person and see how they respond to what you have before you spend hundreds of dollars on stuff you will never use.
Nothing can compare to the time you spend with your baby. The smiles you share and the snuggles they’ll all too soon outgrow don’t cost anything.
And recalling these times during the not-so euphoric parenting moments can be just what you need to keep calm and literally carry on through the night with that beautiful baby of yours—no purchase necessary.