Nothing feels more critical to your sanity and health as a new parent than getting adequate rest. We speak from experience when we say that some of our poorest parenting decisions have come when we’re sleep-deprived. And while we’re not fans of conventional sleep-training for babies, there are some tricks, tools and natural baby sleep aids that can help make those zzz’s come more consistently for your little one – and mercifully, you.
When choosing baby sleep aids, you’ll want to always keep safety top of mind. Parenting and safety experts advise against placing additional objects in baby’s sleeping area (pillows, blankets, bumper pads, and loose sleep aids) until your child is 18 months or older.
These tools and ideas can work for co-sleeping families or when baby sleeps in a separate room. Keep in mind, the term “co-sleeping” doesn’t just mean bed sharing. It can be any form of children sleeping in the same room as their parent. It’s commonly practiced in many cultures around the world—whether by necessity or choice.
By sleeping in the same room as your child, not only are you able to sense your baby’s needs more easily, but you also can meet those needs more quickly. There are many benefits of co-sleeping, especially in the early days. So even if it’s not part of your long-term plan, it can help get your baby off to a securely attached start.
THE BEST ECO-FRIENDLY BABY SLEEP AIDS
We’re sharing our top baby sleep aids to help your baby fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer.
A Night Doula or Sleep Nanny
Nighttime help – even for a couple of nights a week – can be a game changer in those early weeks with a newborn. This may be the best, yet often overlooked, natural baby sleep aid out there. Trust us. This can be through the help of a grandparent, family member, friend, or a postpartum night doula (a person who provides in-home overnight support for families with a new baby).
Overnight support also means your infant is well attended while you rest. This mental unburdening can be huge! You get the sleep you need without the worry (or guilt) many new moms experience. If you’re breastfeeding, your night doula can bring baby to your bed for feedings, then resume baby duty, diaper changing, etc. so you can get back to sleep.
To find a reputable night doula, ask members of your local moms group, your birth doula or midwife, or your pediatrician or local hospital. Care.com has a section for local night nannies, too. Be sure to thoroughly check your candidate’s references and credentials, and make sure they’re certified in CPR and first-aid.
Gripe water can help provide natural relief from gas and tummy troubles that are typical for newborns and infants. With organic ginger, organic fennel, organic dill, and organic kiwifruit extract, ChildLife Essentials Organic Gripe Water is a liquid herbal supplement that contains a combination of soothing and calming herbs used to comfort infants experiencing bloating and stomach discomfort often associated with colic, teething, and hiccups.
ChildLife’s Organic Baby Essentials line is specifically designed for babies with meticulously sourced ingredients to ensure safety. You never have to worry about unwanted ingredients. These supplements are non-GMO and gluten-free, and they contain no fillers, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, or artificial flavors.
Swaddling your baby can help him feel safe and secure, prevent her from flailing her arms or legs and startling awake, and keep him cozy and warm.
Monica + Andy blankets are made with a dual layer or organic cotton and a bit of stretch, making swaddling easy. Super soft, GOTS certified, and free of lead, phthlates, and flame-retardants, blankets are available in beautiful prints and colors. Add an optional embroidered name or monogram to make this a keepsake.
Loose blankets can cover a baby’s face and interfere with breathing, as well as being kicked off, leading to baby waking up cold.
Halo’s Sleepsack is a wearable blanket that keeps baby cuddly warm all night, sleeping more safely and more soundly.
A stuffy nose can prevent a good night’s sleep for anyone, and babies are no exception.
Until your child can blow his own nose, you can help keep nasal passages clear with a nasal aspirator. The fridababy NoseFrida is non-invasive (you place it on baby’s nostril, not in it) and uses suction from your mouth to gently remove mucus. The hygiene filters ensure you won’t get anything in your mouth!
Studies have shown that lavender can help one fall asleep faster and improve quality of sleep.
Earth Mama’s calming lavender lotion contains a pure essential oil blend of lavender and vanilla and contains organic herbs and oils to moisturize delicate skin. Follow bath time with a gentle massage to get your baby ready for a good night’s sleep.
Use code WeLoveGC for 20% off your purchase at EarthMamaOrganics.
The Baby Dream Machine combines several methods to improve sleep. The red light built in helps baby produce melatonin to help them fall asleep and stay asleep.
An adjustable cool-mist humidifier keeps room humidity at an optimum level, and works with the included sweet dreams essential oil. It also serves as a pink noise machine (like white noise, but with high and low frequencies) to help further increase sleep quality.
If you choose a crib for baby’s sleep, Naturepedic provides a non-toxic sleep surface free of fire retardant chemicals. The certified organic mattress meets all state and federal flammability standards (learn more about mattress flammability here). It also has a food-grade waterproof surface that easily wipes clean. Available in lightweight or innerspring options, the mattresses fit standard cribs and toddler beds.
A super soft, breathable sheet can help keep baby comfortable enough to sleep soundly and maybe even settle if they wake briefly. Organic cotton muslin helps keep your baby’s temperature regular all year round – neither too hot or too cold.
The adorable hedgehog pattern is printed with non-toxic, eco-friendly dyes and the fabric is GOTS certified organic cotton muslin.
White noise provides a soothing sleep environment and blocks out background noise that can disrupt baby’s sleep.
Dohm’s white noise machine is fan-based, without the cooling air movement of a fan. The compact design is available in several colors, and you can fine-tune the sound with a high/low switch as well as pitch adjustment.
The Slumber Buddies Elephant Soother has 5 meditative songs and nature sounds with three volume control levels. The calming starry sky can be displayed on the ceiling and walls and has a 15, 30, or 45 minute auto shut off. This soother can be a child’s bedtime companion well after the baby stage.
Caitlin, our Baby Editor, still uses this with her toddler: “I use the stars that project as something to talk about and I count the stars and planets on her ceiling to distract her from the fact we’re winding down. She knows Saturn and the Moon. I find that the rockabye song and green light setting worked the best, so we use that same one every night.”
The sun has a strong effect on our body’s circadian rhythms. It can be difficult for a baby to sleep when excess sunlight enters their sleeping area, particularly during the long days of summer.
Blackout curtains help, but can be expensive. Gro Anywhere blinds attach to nearly any window with suction cups, blocking out light completely. Easily portable with the included travel pouch, your child can rest well no matter where you are.
DO I REALLY NEED BABY SLEEP AIDS?
Even when you buy eco-friendly baby products, an important question to ask is whether you actually need this item. Consider your family’s sleep arrangement, goals, and what your baby may be struggling with. Once you learn to tune in to your body and trust your instincts, you’ll probably get a feel for what your baby needs.
And you won’t be the first parent to suffer from trial and error. Our editor and her husband returned a bassinet because their son didn’t sleep in it. “It took a while to understand how marketing can reel you in… and how silly we were for not realizing our son wanted to be with us, not a ruffled rectangle all by himself.”
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE FINISHED WITH YOUR BABY SLEEP AIDS
Obviously, the consumable items can’t be passed down, but you should take care to reuse or recycle the containers. However, some of these natural sleep aids can be useful well after the baby days. When your child outgrows one, pass it along to a friend or family member to help their baby get better sleep!