How to choose the right sleep solution for your newborn

Posted by Carly Sachs on February 26th, 2021

Hi there! If you’re reading this, congratulations! I know you can’t wait to meet your little one on the way. I’m also guessing you have a fair amount of anxiety about everything that needs to happen before your baby gets here and that you also want to make sure you’re keeping her as safe as possible once she arrives. This includes a great safe sleep space you can feel good about, that she’ll actually sleep in. So - we’ll dive into all the sleep options for your newborn in a bit. 

But first, let’s talk a little bit about sleep. It’s a hot topic among all new parents. As a parent of an infant you’ll get asked the following questions a lot: Are you sleeping? Is the baby sleeping? Do they nap well? It seems like everything revolves around sleep in the early days. 

Safe Sleep for Newborns

And since sleep is such a hot topic, we might as well talk about safe sleep. The safest way for your newborn to sleep is in her own space, on her back, on a firm surface, with no other items in the area. This means that co-sleeping is not the safest way to sleep. There are lots of people who promote co-sleeping, and there are ways to bedshare more safely, but that’s a topic for another day. In this article I’m going to talk about the safest spaces for your baby to sleep alone. Should you decide to co-sleep I definitely suggest researching safe co-sleeping options before you bring your baby into your bed.

So, let’s dive right in…

Safe Sleep Solutions for Infants

Luckily, there are a variety of sleep solutions that are safe for babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sharing a room with your infant for the first six months of life. While it IS possible to just bring a crib into your room, many parents find it more convenient to try a different sleep space while room sharing. Here are some of the traditional options:

Bassinet

Bassinets are the traditional choice when it comes to infant sleep, and they come in a variety of styles. From the traditional bedside bassinet, to a cradle or the high end SNOO, you have a lot of choices in this department. 

Most bassinets are much smaller than a crib, and are conveniently placed close to bed height so you can simply sleep with the baby next to you all night. This is fantastic for breastfeeding moms who want to be close for middle-of-the-night nursing sessions. 

Some bassinets now automatically rock your baby, and our personal favorite, the SNOO, automatically adjusts its white noise and motion to the level of your infant’s cries. If you’re considering investing in a SNOO, check out my honest SNOO bassinet rental review before you purchase, just to make sure it’s right for you. 



Pack N Play

A Pack N Play is also a great in-room sleep option as it’s much smaller than a crib, and it will eventually double for travel or as a play area. We had a Pack N Play that had a bassinet attachment, which is basically a netting that raises the mattress for very small infants. Our first daughter slept in a Pack N Play until she was almost four months old and we transitioned her to her own room. 

This is probably your best bang for the buck, as you then won’t need to buy a separate travel bed, and it can be used to keep your baby safe for play when they’re a little older and more mobile. Even if you only want it at a grandparent’s house - a Pack N Play is something you’ll definitely use for more than a couple of months.

Crib

Many parents come home and put their babies directly in the crib. This works for some newborns, and some just don’t like the feeling of such a wide-open space. If you’re putting your baby directly in their nursery this may be a good option, but it’s likely going to be a hassle trying to set up a crib in your room unless the space is very large. 

I’d recommend another sleep solution (like the SNOO or a Pack N Play) while the baby is in your room, but a crib is definitely an option. It’s also the MOST cost-effective, because you don’t have to buy a separate bed.  




Baby Box

These are truly just boxes that babies can sleep in, and have only become more popular in the U.S. in recent years. The companies that sell baby boxes are on a mission to educate parents about safe sleep. Baby Boxes have had no injuries associated with use, and one of the main benefits of using one is simplicity. 

There is literally no setup, there is nothing for the baby to get caught on (like a cord or bumper) and they’re incredibly portable. 

The cons -- they’re truly just a box. You probably won’t be using it for very long, but it just might get you over the hump of having a newborn at home in your room. You can also repurpose it as a toybox or for toddler fun. 

Also, they go on the floor. That might not seem like a big deal, but there is something about having the baby at bedside level just feels better. 



Co-sleeping with your infant

If you decide to co-sleep with your infant I STRONGLY suggest you research safe sleep and how to do it as safely as possible. I’m not going to go into that here, but if you’ve stumbled upon this article and are in a sleep haze about to bring your newborn to bed with you, please ensure you do the following:

  1. Use a firm mattress. No pillowtop (or god forbid waterbeds) if you’re sleeping with an infant. If you don’t have a firm mattress and want to co-sleep, try a floor mattress. 

  2. No blankets or sheets. Strip the sheets and blankets from the space where your baby will sleep. This includes pillows. 

  3. Don’t put your baby in the middle. If you’re breastfeeding and bedsharing you’re much less likely to roll over on your baby than your partner is. Put your baby beside you only.

  4. Never put your baby in the bed with anyone who has been drinking, doing drugs, or taking other medication that makes you drowsy

  5. Don’t put your baby in bed with pets or toddlers



I hope you learned a little bit about the options and sleep spaces for your newborn. We loved using the SNOO, and also found the Pack N Play worked well in our room. Although the crib is the most economical option, it just didn’t feel feasible to set up and then take it down again in our room. Luckily, there are lots of newborn sleep solutions for different sleeping situations and parental preferences. 


Carly Sachs

About the Author

Carly Sachs
Joined: December 29th, 2020
Articles Posted: 1

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