If you're here because you googled "how to get a baby to sleep," you're probably an animated undead surviving on HGTV and the internet. Been there. Don't give the baby whiskey or let it cry. I'll walk you through this thing. (OMG! I just took a stance on cry it out. Quick, someone call the troll patrol!) From my experience, the one baby I "sleep trained" ended up being my least affectionate, least trusting child. That's us. That's my family. That's the way it all shook out in this house, so extrapolate and judge as you see fit but for us, it's the truth. Which is why I've been seeking sleep solutions for my third child and guess what? I HAVE SOLUTIONS!
How to get a baby to sleep: Keep the baby warm.
Maybe you've thought of that, but it honestly did not occur to me until I had my third winter baby that the reason they keep waking up is because um, they hate feeling like an ice cube. All the SIDS guidelines (no blankets! no hats! fans! no bumpers! nothing soft! flat on your back! stare at the ceiling!) don't exactly make for a comfortable sleeping arrangement for someone who used to live in a warm, squishy bag while doing a headstand. The least you can do is keep the baby warm.
But what if your baby is a giant, like my child, who was nearly nine pounds (two weeks early) and at three months has outgrown her 9-month sleep sack? She's my uberbaby. She laughs villainously at swaddles. Mwahahha! HULK BABY NO LIKE RESTRAINT. HULK BABY SMASH SWADDLER.
I searched and searched for the right thing to keep her warm. After some trial and error, I achieved victory when she began sleeping 12 hours a night. Note: She does have a heart defect, which can make some babies tire more easily. My pediatrician said she's probably just a very good sleeper. One can never be too paranoid, but let's act like I had some hand in this, shall we?
Here are my thoughts on the various things I bought to help her become a good sleeper. NOTE #2: I spent my own money with these companies and found these products on my own. No one is paying me. I do not have a gun to my head and I am not trapped in a telephone booth. (The last item, however, Zipadee-Zip did send me an additional one for free, but I just kind of consider that a bonus.) End note #2. Onward.
1. The Dream Bag. I had super high hopes for this when I ordered it online. As a matter of fact, I was so excited before it got here, I found a cheaper one directly from China that I bought on eBay for half the price (that has yet to arrive because it must be floating via row boat.) Mistake! Turn around, Chinese row boat! It's ridiculous. I cracked up when I open the mail and saw it. This is supposed to fit a 6-month-old:
I mean, the thing is freaking huge. It was way too much money to spend on something that didn't fit my needs. Or barely into the crib. I mean, if it were like $10, I'd probably donate it to an organization for circus giants or something but $60 is too much to throw in a drawer and forget. So I packed it back up to return. Then yet another snow fall of #Chiberia set upon us that same night and in a moment of desperation, I ripped the package back open and stuffed her in. I declared it a miracle at the time because it was the first time she slept all night.
It's so huge, it's basically its own load of laundry. If the aesthetics and price do not bother you, or if your newborn weighs 50 pounds, this is a good sleep solution. But still. After a few nights of this, I decided there had to be a better way.
2. Bigger Halo sleepsacks. Don't bother. The bigger sizes don't have sleeves for some stupid reason, and sorry, I have never respected vests. Why would you make a sweater with no arms? Either you are cold or not-cold, you can't be both . . . unless you are a delicious sundae? That's absurd! I just do not understand the appeal of this item. I only bought it out of sheer hope. Sheer, failed hope. My baby is still cold, especially her hands. THANKS OBAMA.
3. Zipadee-Zip. My friend Heather (hi Heather!) sent me a link to this product and I had a long conversation with myself if I could justify the purchase. If you're counting (I hope you're making chalk marks on your wall to keep track of my sleep sack purchases while reading this post) I've now invested in two brands of sleep sacks, resulting in three items and I'm not super happy with any of it. Oh well, I do need a baby shower gift soon so if I eyeball it in person and hate it, at least we knocked a bird out. Right?
The real deciding factor was how cute it is. I mean, look at this thing. Go on, get hypnotized:
The marketing of the Zipadee-Zip is that it is a transitional sleep sack to "wean" your baby from swaddling. It is intended to be a little snug, but still allow enough movement for your older baby (3 month+) to roll and kick and whatnot. That is the official purpose, but my baby is not rolling yet and we like things loose so we went with the size medium. That said, this is our solution of choice! I like it because it keeps her little hands warm, she doesn't fight it like a swaddler (seriously, all my kids have hated those) and it's thee cutest thing ever in the history of ever. OF EVER. Put your eyes back on that picture. I'll wait. Are you back? Still lost in the dreamy gaze of my infant? Just me? Why are you afraid to love?
The other thing I like is there's enough slack so it can be worn in the car seat. It's been rad to have her hands covered in public. All those
germy charming little girls running up to us to touch the baby after dance class are now powerless to give us the flu. Sort of. This little sack is certainly better than baby mittens or tiny boxing gloves. Wait, no, that would be adorable.
The con to the Zipadee-Zip is maybe the price. $41 with shipping. Ouch. This might be the type of thing you ask your in-laws for or give as a shower gift.
On to something fun! I'm not 100% sure how to do a giveaway since this isn't usually that type of blog, but Zipadee-Zip offered and I figured you might want one. I'll try to do this right. If you would like to win a Zipadee-Zip (this germ-shield adora-sack could be yours for the low, low price of . . . nothin. I would like to be you if I was not already me) you need to like them on Facebook and . . . leave a comment on this post so I know it's you? Yes. Let's go with that. How about we do a random drawing on . . . March 15. The ides of March! Et tu, Brute? ET TU??? Yes, you too can have a Zipadee-Zip sneeze-guard star-baby in a bag! I am having way too much fun.
The other way to get a baby to sleep is to walk around your house doing the sway-bounce for 18 months straight. Or try that whiskey. KIDDING! I can't believe I have to say I'm kidding, but welcome to the internet. Good luck, everybody.
Click "like" up there, share this post and jump into the mom swim on my Facebook page! DO IT. I'M A BOSSY LADY.
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UPDATE MARCH 15, 2014 8:53am FROM MY LIVINGROOM- The wiener via random.org is Renata Pawluk! If one of you guys knows her, can you please tell her? I tried to message her, but I went to Facebook's "other" folder like a chump. Later my taters.