Using Baby Sleeping Bags

Baby sleeping on her back in a merino kid's sleeping bag
The Merino Kids Baby Sleep Bag has a five star review on Amazon. See below for a full range of baby sleeping bag options.

Do you worry that your baby is too warm or too cold at night? Or perhaps check on her sometimes only to find she’s pulled the covers over her face? Or you go into your crying toddler to find he’s completely uncovered and freezing?

The answer to all these dilemmas is to put your baby to bed in a specially designed baby sleeping bag, with an appropriate TOG rating. Baby sleeping bags (also called sleep sacks) can even be good when you bring your baby into bed to feed her. By having her on top of the covers you can be sure she isn’t going to get her head covered, and you can have the blankets pulled all the way up to just under your breasts. So you both stay warm, without risk.

A baby sleeping bag is easy to use. It is not unlike a regular sleeping bag, except that it has arm holes (or sleeves) and a neck opening that is small enough that your baby’s head can’t end up inside the sleeping bag.

You can get sleeping bags for babies with arms and without, with zips up the front or the side, with two way zippers (so that you can undo it from the bottom only if you need to change a nappy in the night), in winter or summer weights.

What weight of sleeping bag should you get?

Most articles on baby sleep recommend keeping the room at a constant temperature, which makes choosing a sleeping bag based on TOG ratings seem simple, and makes sleeping bags with no arms quite effective. However often bedrooms are not at a constant temperature all night, and particularly once your baby is a bit older* many parents balk at keeping the house at a constant 16 or 18 degrees all night in winter. In this case you will probably want to get a sleeping bag with arms for your baby or toddler, or you might find you are waking up to a cold crying baby at 5am.

It is, however, important that your baby is does not overheat, as this has been implicated in increased risk of SIDS. So do not choose a sleeping bag that is extra warm, just in case your baby’s room cools down. Instead, especially during the first year of life, it is ideal if you can keep the room relatively warm over night and dress your baby appropriately.

To determine what weight of sleeping bag you need, check out our TOG rating page, which also gives you an idea of how to dress your baby under the sleeping bag, depending on the temperature. Don’t forget to put socks on your baby, as cold feet can wake anyone up!

Note, however, that not all sleeping bags have TOG ratings, especially the cheaper ones. Without this rating though, it can be very hard to know just how warm the bag is keeping your child, so I would always recommend looking for a bag with a TOG rating.

*So called baby sleeping bags are really routinely used for toddlers up to two or three years old, and there are even sleep suits with legs for up to four or five year olds.

Other considerations

Seatbelt hole: Some sleeping bags have a hole below the bottom of the zip for slipping the crotch strap of a car seat or pram through. This can be great if you are likely to be taking your baby out at night and want to be able to transfer her from the car to her bed without waking her, or if she is going to be sleeping in the pram with any frequency.

However, my baby’s have all got their feet stuck out these holes on occasion, and woken up! So if you are not likely to use the belt gap, I would get a sleeping bag without, or even consider having one of each.

baby sleeping with knees drawn up in stripey light blue sleeping bag
Merino Kids Baby Sleep Bag, Natural Merino Wool Sleep Sack, available for Babies, 0-2 Years, and Toddlers, 2-4 Years – Lots of options!

Zip location: Some baby sleeping bags have the zip at the side, but most have it up the front. The advantage to having it at the side is that the zipper is not going to flip up and stick into your baby’s neck (though I suppose it could stab him under his arm!). Also, older toddlers are less likely to undo the zip this way, though that is not something I had trouble with with any of my children. For those that zip up the front, some sleeping bags have a flap of material with a snap to go over the top of the zipper. Other’s have just a tiny flap of material that the zipper is supposed to slip under, but in my experience these don’t work all that well. Look for one with the snap up flap. This will also prevent an older baby from unzipping their own sleeping bag.

Popular brands

There are many popular brands of baby sleep sack, with perhaps the most popular being Grobags. In fact, if you are buying a ‘Grobag’ second hand, make sure it is genuine – many people use grobag as a generic term for baby sleeping bag. Halo sleep sacks are also poular, though they do not have TOG ratings. Merino Kids do a 100% merino wool sleeping bag (pictured above and to the left), which is said to help baby regulate temperature. While they don’t have TOG ratings, they do a winter weight bag for rooms of 59F-68F and a year round bag for rooms at 64F-75F overnight.

Baby Sleeping Bags are becoming as popular in the US and Canada as they are in the UK.

In warmer weather a TOG rating of 0.5 to 1.5 is appropriate in most regions.

Gorgeous Themes for Your Baby Boy’s Bedding & Nursery

Jungle bedding set with lion, giraffe and monkey design
Jungle bedding set with lion, giraffe and monkey design
NoJo Little Bedding Jungle Pals, 4 piece set

Picking the theme is one of the first and most fun choices a parent gets to make when they are designing a nursery. Many nurseries have a common theme that is reflected in the wallpaper, bedding, toys, etc.

Below is a list I have assembled of the most classic themes for baby boy bedding. They are great themes to use, although if you prefer a mix and max approach there is nothing wrong with that either!. You will have a much easier time finding corresponding nursery decor!


Keep in mind that cot bumpers are not recommended for babies under twelve months, as they can contribute to the baby re-breathing the same air, which is a risk factor for SIDS.

The same is true of pillows, stuffed animals, and loose blankets. Blankets should be tucked in tightly, with the baby positioned with her feet close to the bottom of the cot. Many people prefer to use baby sleeping bags in the first year to keep baby warm and safe.

Sleeping bags can also tie in with your nursery theme. Although you may not find one that matches perfectly, you can find zoo or jungle animal themed sleeping bags, moon and stars bags, and giraffe sleeping bags or even Winnie the Pooh sleeping bags among others.

Chibi Zoo Anime Nursery Ensemble, with monkey, zebra, tiger, elephant and hippo
Chibi Zoo Complete Nursery Ensemble & Crib Bedding Set

Baby Boy Bedding Themes

Jungle Animals – The jungle holds many exotic creatures. The colors and patterns of these creatures will make for very cute baby boy bedding and are sure to excite your baby’s imagination and senses. It’s also very easy to find lots of different stuffed animals, like lions, zebras and monkeys. You can make the nursery into a jungle zoo! Jungle, Zoo, Farm and animal themes are very popular, which means there is lots of material to choose from, whether you want to buy a ready made set (like the one pictured) or make your own bedding from themed fabric.

Moon and Stars – This theme will give your nursery a very soothing ambiance. The heavenly bodies in this theme will have a very calming effects on your baby. Optionally, you could also add spaceships.

"Wish I May" moon and stars 100% cotton baby bedding set
“Wish I May” Cotton quilted Crib Bedding Set

Transportation Vehicles – I will probably never be able to explain it, but for some reason toddlers just love transportation vehicles. You can try to prevent it if you want, but sooner or later he will each out his tiny hand to the cars passing by and mimic their sound, “Vroom vroom!”

Instead, just accept that you have a little daredevil on your hands and cater to this inexplicable interest he will sooner or later develop. Like the jungle animals bedding, the cars or trains in this bedding theme come in a lot of fun colors and shapes. It will be great for your baby’s senses.

Cartoon & Movie Characters – This should need no explanation. Kids just absolutely adore cartoon characters. Personally, I think a classic Winnie the Pooh nursery is among the best choices you could make. But that’s just me. Other’s prefer a Lion King theme, or even a bright Sesame Street Theme.  Decide for yourself.

How Long Will Your Baby Keep This Theme?

Classic Pooh 3-pc. Crib Bedding Set in Neutral Colours
Classic Pooh 3-pc. Crib Bedding Set

Something else to consider when choosing your theme is whether your baby boy is going to stay in this room – with this theme – as he grows into a toddler and preschooler, or the nursery is going to be used for another baby later, while you little boy moves into another room.

If the latter is true, you might want to consider a unisex nursery theme, in case your next baby is a girl, while if the former is true, consider whether you want to choose a theme that will last into your child’s grade school years, or you are happy to change the decor as your child grows older.

One option if you don’t want to have to change too much, is to choose a specific theme for the crib bedding, but carry it through the to walls, curtains and other furnishings only in colors, or not at all. That way, when your baby body grows into a big boy bed, he can have a new theme, with relatively little pain or cost to you!

Stressful Nights: Understanding Your Baby’s Sleep Cycle

The Baby Sleep Book by William Sears et al, with a forward by Dr James McKennaHere’s a well-known fact: Your baby needs more sleep than you do. In fact, babies spend two-thirds of their day sleeping to help their brain make the proper connections. This only happens during sufficient sleep time.

However, your baby’s sleep is often interrupted making you sleepless at night. It’s not because they can’t sleep a full, long stretch but because they need to wake up to be fed or be made comfortable (changing time).

Usually, the average time your baby will sleep is be between 14-16 hours. Their sleeping routine starts out with short sleep and wake cycles with longer wake-up cycles during the night for feeding and changing time. But then as your baby grows older, their sleeping time is gradually reduced, as are their night wakings. By the time that they’re 18-24 months old, their sleeping hours have likely been reduced to 11-13 hours.

The stages of your baby’s sleep

Just like the normal adult, your babies experience different stages of sleep. To understand that better here’s the order of your baby’s sleep cycle:

  1. Drowsiness your baby’s droopy eyes is a good indication that they would go into light sleep.
  2. Light sleep this is just your baby relaxing and preparing to enter into quiet sleep.
  3. Quiet sleep or NREM this is the between stage from light and deep sleep where dreams can also happen. In older children this stage of sleep is where sleepwalking and nightmares usually occurs. As for babies, this stage is mostly a non-dream state that is shorter and is well developed in newborns rather than adults.
  4. Deep sleep by this time your baby will be deep into sleeping and is actually dreaming.
  5. Dream or REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep most babies spend 50%-80% of their bedtime on REM sleep. Premature babies spend a lot more time in REM sleep than full term babies accounting to 80% compared to 50% of the latter. While an adult dreams for an average of two hours, babies can accumulate a total of eight hours of dream sleep alone.

It’s very important for you to understand the stages of your child’s sleep because that is how you will understand their movements while they have their eyes shut.

Babies in REM sleep tend to have the occasional twitch, irregular breathing and eyes darting back and forth under the eyelids while having their bodies completely still. During quiet sleep or NREM, babies will have deep and regular breathing. However, you may notice your babies give a start, move their arms, legs or suddenly suck their fingers or do similar actions during this time, but these movements known as hypnagogic startles and are very normal. Sometimes, your babies will even open their eyes and look like they’re already awake but actually they’re not. They are still truly asleep and only need a minute or two to get back to their sleeping cycle. Don’t disturb your babies right away and let them sleep by themselves.

Usually, after entering REM sleep, your babies will go back again to the deep sleep cycle and quiet sleep before waking up. Unlike adults, who have an average 90 minutes sleep cycle (though it varies through the night), your baby will have a complete sleep cycle of about 50 minutes.

So now that you know exactly how your baby sleeps, the next thing to do would be to develop good sleeping habits and bedtime routines for them to ensure that they get to enjoy a good night’s sleep and that you get enough sleep too.

Keeping Your Toddler Safe At Night

Toddler bed with removable safety rail, and toddler climbing carefully around it.While the risk of SIDS is greatly reduced by the time an infant reaches the age of one, parents of toddlers should still be concerned about and take action to ensure their child’s safety. The three greatest steps a parent can take are to make the crib/bed safe, childproof the room for mobile toddlers, and monitor their toddler.

Make Their Crib/Bed Safe

You can breathe a sigh of relief when your child turns one that your fears of SIDS haven’t come true, but don’t get careless with your toddler’s nighttime safety. Suffocation is still a risk that you should take steps to minimize. Don’t let your toddler sleep with too many toys, especially plush toys or stuffed animals. Don’t put any toys with ropes or strings near the bed. While your child can now sleep with a blanket, continue to limit blankets, quilting, and other bedding to what is necessary. Try to wait until your child is at least 18 months old to introduce a pillow, and only do so when the pillow will help them be more comfortable and sleep better, which may not be until they are three years or more. All of these actions can protect from suffocation and give you peace of mind when your little one is sleeping.

One of the biggest questions parents of toddlers face is when to transfer their child to a “big boy” or “big girl” bed. For safety, wait as long as you can for this transition. Many parents make the switch when their son or daughter starts climbing out of his/her crib. While it’s easier to control what a toddler gets into from a crib, your child could get hurt by falling when climbing out of his/her crib, so the actions of escape artistry are good signs to make the switch. With a toddler bed, you will still need to be concerned about safety. Keep up your precautions against suffocation. Put toddler rails on the sides of the bed so your child doesn’t fall out. And be sure to childproof the room so your toddler can be safe at any hour.

Childproof Their Room

You may worry about your toddler getting into trouble while they’re alone in their room, and these fears can be well-founded. When your child can get out if his/her crib at will, things that posed no threat because they were far from the crib are suddenly hazards you need to deal with.

One of your top priorities needs to be the safety of the furniture in your child’s room. Every year many toddlers are injured from pulling furniture over on top of themselves, and too many of these preventable accidents are fatal. Check whether each piece of furniture can bear the full weight of your toddler if he/ she were to climb on it. Play it safe by anchoring furniture to the wall with specially-designed straps. And clear anything that would fall if pulled or shaken. Also consider covering the sides of sharp edges and corners on furniture that could cause serious damage if your child fell onto them.

Use a hand sander to smooth the corner edges of walls. Check for other sharp corners that need to be smoothed as it can prevent a serious bruise on their head if they directly hit the wall corner. If your hand sander is not working, you can find the right parts to repair it here.

Turn a keen eye to anything else in the room that could be a hazard. This includes electrical outlets. At minimum protect your child against electrical shock by using outlet plugs. These may not be enough, though, if your child can mimic you and knows how to take them out. Consider investing in special outlet covers for top safety. Also, you may want to cover up any exposed cords if your child is likely to pull them out. And finally, think of whether any toys are too dangerous to allow easy access to (again, ones with strings may be big concerns), and put these where your child can only play them with under supervision.

You may feel like your childproofing is a little excessive, but you can never be too safe when protecting your kids. It only takes one curious night for your child to get seriously injured, so prevent dangers before you are forced to respond to them.

Monitor Your Child

This one may go without saying, but many parents may need the reminder. You may have been okay letting your child play safely in their crib, but a child can get into a lot more trouble with a whole room to explore. You can use a video monitor to keep an eye on your son/daughter, and check on them frequently if you know they’re awake. Be ready to intervene as the need arises.

No parent can stop worrying completely about their toddler being safe at night. But following these tips will help you minimize threats and hazards and give you peace of mind that your child is safe in his or her room at any time of day or night.

Eliminate Bedtime Frustration with These Tips to Help Your Child Get to Sleep Faster

no cry sleep soluton by elizabeth pantley happy babies sleeping

(This is a guestpost from the author of

Gentle ways to stop bedtime battles and improve your child's sleep The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Gentle Ways to Stop Bedtime Battles and Improve Your Child's Sleep by Elizabeth Pantley, with a forward by Harvey Karp (Foreword) I know I am not the only one who has been played, almost on a nightly basis by my young children at bedtime. You just get them down, tucked nice and cozy in their bed and begin to meander back down the hall with an excitement similar to that of a child’s on Christmas Eve of what you are going to do with the next couple of hours that you have to yourself, and then……it starts:

“I forgot to get a drink, I need to go to the bathroom, I forgot to brush my teeth, I’m scared, I need to say my prayers, I had a bad dream…”  (even though they haven’t even been to sleep yet) and the list goes on and on. The excuses are pretty much the same ones that you used as a kid. So, there has to be an answer to this nighttime nonsense, right? Here are a few strategies that havebeen helpful to me:

  1. Consistent Bedtimes: Kids need to know what to expect. If their bedtime is constantly changing, it will be hard for them to take you seriously when you say it is bedtime. Sometimes events come up that may alter bedtime a little bit, but for the most part, once a time is established, it should be adhered to. Our kids are still in grade school, so we prefer to put them all to bed at the same established time of 8:30 pm., however, staggering bedtimes based on age is another option as well. Providing a little leeway on the weekends, I have found, gives them something to look forward to and even helps them accept the earlier weekday time.
  2. Routines Rule: Establishing a nighttime routine that the child can go through each night will ensure that everything on the checklist gets checked long before the covers are pulled up. It takes some dedication and a small time commitment, but it will go a long way to eliminate the repeated tuck in game. The things that I like to include in my kids bedtime routine are reading a book , getting a final drink, going to the bathroom, brushing teeth, saying prayers, and of course saying goodnight and easing any concerns about open closets or other things that are “scaring” them.
  3. Offer Incentives for Staying in Bed: One that my kids enjoy is being allowed to read in their bed for a few minutes before lights out, or listening to soft, quiet music to help them fall asleep. We also will give them rewards such as special nights of storytelling, or being able to have a slumber party in the living room, or a movie night, if they go to bed well during the week.

If you’re like me, seeing your kids sleeping peacefully is a beautiful sight. Never do they seem more sweet and innocent and wonderful, it’s just getting them there that can be challenging.

Once you find that perfect routine or incentive that will make it happen smooth and seamlessly, you will be able to slip in that extra activity that always seems to take a back seat, like exercise. You could then stop by my blog for some great information on top rated home gym pieces.

5 Great Toys For Infants

Baby sitting up playing with the laugh and learn kitchen, opening the oven

Baby laughing in car seat with the Sunny Stroll arch over the seat,with Transparent sun prism, propeller and other toys visibleThe first 12 months of your baby’s life is a great period of growth. During this time, you want to choose toys that help babies develop their five senses. Toys that stimulate sight, sound, touch, and hearing are great. Choose toys that are colorful or make fun noises. Choosing the right toys for babies can be difficult. Here are some wonderful toys in 2012 that are best suited for babies.

Sunny Stroll

Here’s a colorful activity arc that clamps to just about anything. You can attach it to a car seat, stroller, or even high chair, since you can easily resize the arc. The twist clamps are secure and we like how you can easily position it forward and backward.

The Sunny Stroll helps children explore their different senses. The colorful animals and toys keep babies entertained. Kids are going to love spinning the propeller and gazing through the transparent sun prism.

Designed for babies five months and up.

My Discovery House

Ding Dong. Come inside and play with this fun play house.

Leapfrog My Discovery HouseOlder babies and toddlers are going to love exploring this little house from LeapFrog. The house is set up like a real house and there are five areas to explorer including a kitchen and bathroom.

Kids can push the doorbell and turn off the lights. It introduces them to basic cause and effect. They will love opening, closing, pressing, and turning the various elements. There are plenty of songs, stories, and sounds to keep babies entertained.

My Discovery House is the perfect busy toy designed for babies six months and up.

Infant sitting up playing with the poppity pop musical dino, which is about half his sitting height.Poppity – Pop Musical Dino

This fun colorful dinosaur toy come from Fisher Price.

When you turn it on, it starts playing music but the fun begins when you place the six colorful inside the dinosaur’s stomach. It’s a fun popping toy. Some of the balls will roll out of the dinosaur’s mouth, but some of them will randomly fly in any direction. Kids will have to chase after them.

Kids will be attracted to the bright colorful balls and music. It’s a great way for getting infants up and active as they develop their fine motor skills and senses. The Poppity-Pop is designed for infants 6 months and up.

Laugh & Learn Learning Kitchen

Baby sitting up playing with the laugh and learn kitchen, opening the ovenLittle kids are going to love pretending with this fun play kitchen from Fisher-Price. With four different modes of play and 20 different songs, there are so many different activities that kids can do with this interactive toy.

On one side of the toy is a refrigerator. Turn the toy around and you’ve got a complete kitchen. Open up the refrigerator door and you got an even bigger play set. Kids are going to love flipping switches and stirring what’s cooking; sorting shapes and ‘posting’ food into the fridge . Don’t forget to check the oven!

It’s a great toy for introducing infants to numbers, letter, colors, and shapes. It’s even got a Spanish mode. Babies 6 months to 36 months can laugh and learn with this fun learning kitchen. Click on the image to visit Amazon and see a video of the toy in action!

Winfun Grow With Me Musical Walker

Musical walker toy that a baby can walk behind, with detachable phone and other activities to play on the frontGet your baby off the floor with the fun Musical Walker from Winfun. It’s great for helping your little one with their sense of balance. Kids are going to love playing with all the different colorful gadgets and toys on it. They can touch different areas to hear different sounds and music. It’s even got a phone and piano on it. We love how they are detachable.

Make learning to walk fun and exciting with this colorful walker designed for babies 6 – 36 months.

Mommy blogger, Melissa Rodriguez creates articles about infants, toddlers, and kids. Every year she creates a listing of the most popular playthings for kids. Click here to view her full list of all the best toys for 2012.

Personalised Embroidered Baby Blankets make a Special Gift

close up of an embroidered blanket corner. Click to order.

Two examples of personalised embroidered baby blankets. Click to order.Embroidery can be simple or elaborate, but no matter how much embroidery there is on a piece of clothing or linens, what makes it really special is having it customized.

Sometimes the customization is as simple as having initials monogrammed into the corner of a baby blanket, and other times it can be very elaborate, like having someone embroider the edges of the blanket with a design you came up with (or doing it yourself!).

Custom embroidery is going to cost more, though, than having a basic pattern mass-embroidered onto the blanket, so choose your custom embroidery pattern carefully. You don’t want to spend money on something that you will not even look at a few months from now.

Companies that offer embroidered baby blankets will have different procedures for getting the pattern to them, so be sure that you do not assume you know what to do, but rather double-check each step to ensure you are not confusing the procedures from two different companies. If your pattern is hand-drawn, you will have a different procedure to follow than if you have one that is computer-generated. Embroidered baby blankets can also take time to do, so be sure to allow enough time if the blanket is a gift.

If you have created a custom embroidery pattern for several blankets, it can take time to get all of the blankets embroidered even if the company is using an embroidery machine. If you have a last-minute job, apologize and ask them about rush jobs. Those could cost even more, understandably, because they would have to move other jobs back in their schedule in order to fit yours in.

However, sometimes circumstances conspire to make something occur at the last minute, so do not be completely nervous that you will not be able to find someone who can take the job. If your first choice of company can’t do it, look for another company that can.

close up of an embroidered blanket corner. Click to order.A really nice gift can use an embroidery design that is linked to the family somehow. Maybe it is based on designs particular to the family’s culture, or maybe it has to do with their favorite hobbies; whatever you choose, if it is personalised this way, it will show that you really took the time to think about it, rather than grabbing a baby blanket off a store shelf.

This will also make your gift stand out among the many store-bought onesies and toy animals given by other people.

The blanket is also something that will remain usable for a few years because even when the child is a toddler, he or she will likely still be able to use the blanket, at least as part of a bedding set. Some children stay attached to their blankets for much longer, or it can be something that is kept by the parents for their child to pass on to the next generation. Those newborn onesies will not fit, but a blanket is always welcome on a cold night.

Note: One thing you should ask the embroidery company is if the dye in the thread will run when the blanket is washed. The last thing harried parents need is for all of their light-colored baby goods to turn pink or gray after being doused with dye. Having something embroidered with red thread is not a guarantee that dye will run out of the thread, but it is a risk. If the embroidery company says that the dye might run, ask about modifying the pattern’s colors or using a different type of embroidery thread.

How Not to Sabotage Your Sleep Training Efforts

child sleeping peacefully in a single/twin bed with bright blue bedrails on both sides
shows white panel bedroom suite with stripped red bed covers and a teddy bear, plus matching trundle bed
A bed that your child will be comfortable moving to, but that will last many years and be comfortable for you to sit or lie on too, is a great choice, when it's time for your child to move to a room of her own.

When it comes to sleeping arrangement for an infant or a toddler, there are generally two camps: those who prefer to have their baby sleep in the crib or a cradle and those who opt to have a superkingsize mattress for a family bed. Both sides have good reasons for deciding one way or another– convenience, safety, closer bonding, etc. And yet, there comes a time when every parent gets to ask: when does a baby sleep in a youth bed?

Parenting authorities and publications may have various opinions on this, but the bottomline is that each family is different. For instance, some may decide to move the baby to his or her own bed right after weaning from breastfeeding. Others may wait until the child has become agile enough to be able to get in and out of bed on his own. Still others may decide to just preserve the status quo until the child simply grows too big to sleep with the parents, or when another sibling is in the way.

Note that there are certain cultures in which co-sleeping is the norm rather than the exception.

There are various means to success when training your child to sleep on his or her own bed. Much like other milestones such as toilet training, walking or talking, children reach the right level of readiness at different times. Be prepared to be very patient and understanding during the process; some firmness is of course essential, but never be punitive or belittling.

We compiled some tips from veteran parents who have (give or take a learning experience or two) successfully navigated the pitfalls of sleep training:

child sleeping peacefully in a single/twin bed with bright blue bedrails on both sides
Bed rails can help keep your child safe when he first moves to his own bed (and also provide something for you to lean against if you're lying in their with him sometimes!)
  • Prepare your child for the eventuality of sleeping alone on his or her own bed way ahead of time. If time allows, do this months in advance, so that your child understands that it is a necessary and inevitable process rather than something you just arbitrarily decided. You can even make it an exciting event by picking out a new bed and then saving up for it together – carefully timing it so that you just happen to have enough when you think he or she is ready to start sleeping solo.
  • If you are not getting a new bed, you can do the same process with the bed linens, the pillows, or a cool night light, really just about anything that makes it more of an accomplishment. That way, your child will see the event as a challenge rather than something to be dreaded.
  • Once your child has started to sleep in his or her own bed, discourage regression. For instance, if your child is sick and needs extra cuddling and attention during the night, sleep in your child’s bed rather than letting him or her back in your marital bed. Doing the latter will just make it harder and more confusing. This is one good reason to opt for a full-size double mattress and bed frame if your child’s bedroom can accommodate it, rather than an easily-outgrown cot.


Tips For Helping Your Toddler Sleep

The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Gentle Ways to Stop Bedtime Battles and Improve Your Child's Sleep, Elizabeth Pantley Author of The No Cry Sleep Solution,

The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Gentle Ways to Stop Bedtime Battles and Improve Your Child's Sleep, Elizabeth Pantley Author of The No Cry Sleep Solution,Getting my 2-year-old to sleep was one of the most daunting challenges I ever had to face. It seemed that his energy picked up exactly at the wrong time. With that aside, handling the tantrums that came with waking up in the middle of the night and transitioning back into a peaceful sleep was another issue altogether.

It was time to do some research to find out how to get over this hurdle in his development. With a bit of consultation and advice from my own mother, tips from other experienced mothers and some Internet research, here are a few tips I found that can help your toddler sleep better.

Create a regular sleep cycle/routine

With toddlers, it’s all in the regularity of what happens at sleep time. If you child grows to expect nap time as part of his regular daily activities then rather than fight it afresh each time it comes up, he goes to sleep more willingly which means less stress and better sleep for longer periods. Try creating a pattern such as a slow down period of reading books and perhaps singing quiet songs before naps, and a longer routine before bedtime such as dinner, then a nice bath, followed by brushing of teeth then maybe you can allow your toddler to pick out a nice storybook and his pajamas, as it can make him more willing to participate if he feels involved.

Allow comfort objects in bed

Does your toddler have a favorite blankie or teddy? Let him bring it to bed. If there is any way to make bedtime more pleasant and easier, then make the most of it. At this stage of life, it is a well known fact that comfort is one of the most important needs that one can satisfy in their toddler.

In some instances, co-sleeping is the ultimate form of comfort a parent can provide for their toddler. If a child wakes up in the middle of the night due to nightmares or just for a normal break, it helps to know that someone they trust is nearby and helps them transition back into sleep much faster and more peacefully.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When it comes to comfort objects, pick items that won’t pose a health risk. Teddy bears and other toys may pose a choking hazard if they’re too small or may cause bruises if they have rough/sharp parts. In other instances, blankets and teddy bears may cause respiratory problems if they shed. Allergies to fabric or materials used to make the comfort objects also need to be taken into account. And these objects should be left out of bed when your child is still a baby.

Regulate what your baby has at dinner or for snacks before bed

Sugar only serves to raise the energy levels that are supposed to be bundled up at bedtime. The level of sensitivity to sugar and caffeine for toddlers is such that even healthy yet sugary foods should be avoided before bedtime. This includes fruits and vegetables and sweet nuts. Natural juices should also be checked for sugar levels to avoid giving baby a fresh jumpstart right when he should be settling down. Try warm milk with dinner instead of juice.

These are just some of the simple I learned for how to get your baby to sleep through the night.

Our guest writer for this post, Mary, is a mother of two and a regular blogger at Miracle Maternity

Marital Satisfaction Declines with Kids – But Don’t Worry: It’s Normal

Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up by Harriet Lerner PhDWhen your baby doesn’t sleep well, it can be extremely stressful for the whole household, particularly, of course, the parents. But in truth, many studies have now concluded that marital satisfaction goes down with the addition of kids to the equation, whether they sleep or not! In fact, one eight year long study found that 90% of couples experienced a decline in satisfaction.

That may seem like a depressing statistic, but if you have children, I hope you won’t take it that way.Co-author of that study, Brian Doss points out

The fact that we’ve been largely unsuccessful [in stopping declines in satisfaction] may suggest it’s a really difficult and tough experience and it’s not necessarily a deficit in these couples’ relationships or how they’re approaching it.

Harriet Lerner, clinical psychologist and author of a new book Marriage Rules, suggests waiting it out. “Relationships that appear to be falling apart … may look entirely different down the road,” she says.

One of Lerner’s rules is “Don’t obsess about getting it right”. This fits in well with new research out of Ohio State University by Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, which found that parents show poorer adjustment if they think society expects them to be perfect.

So don’t obsess about getting it all right, remember to nurture your relationship as well as your kids, and wait it out. Anecdotal evidence is that, although martial satisfaction may decline, most parents still feel their kids bring more over-all joy and satisfaction to their life, than they cause stress and dissatisfaction. When your baby is screaming at three in the morning though, it may seem like a fine line!


Note: If your baby doesn‘t sleep well, you might like to read our articles Your Baby’s Sleep: Swaddling Newborns, Eight Sleep Tips for Every Child, from Elizabeth Pantley, and Your Baby’s Sleep: from Birth to Six Months