As with everything, you learn as you go. When I found out I was pregnant, of course decorating the nursery was something I couldn’t wait to do. From bumpers and blankets to pillows and stuffed animals that claim to help your baby sleep through the night I registered for it all. But I soon found out that The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that a newborn baby should sleep with nothing in their crib. Nothing? Really? So my visions of the perfect crib (you know the one’s you see on pottery barn kids and restoration hardware baby) turned into, well, a crib with nothing. But I soon came to find out that the whole nothing thing really didn’t work so I did some research and I found a few key items that are safe, effective, and better than nothing at all! While my baby’s crib isn’t the comfy, plush oasis I imagined, it is a safe haven where she can get her sleep on.
1. Bumpers – The AAP recommends against crib bumpers for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) prevention. So as quickly as I put up those beautiful bumpers that matched the nursery perfectly I took them down. I soon discovered that no bumper was just as unsafe. A few nights my baby got her hand or foot caught between the bars of the crib and I had to reposition her. Someone told me about breathable bumpers. I looked into it and found that these were a great solution. BreathableBaby makes a breathable mesh crib liner that promotes airflow reducing the risk of suffocation and re-breathing carbon dioxide, a risk factor for SIDS. It also protects from bumps and bruises and reduces the risk of getting arms and legs stuck between crib slats. They come in solid colors as well as fun prints and designs.
2. Sheets – After a lot of trial and error I found the comfiest, coziest, sheets around. With my first I was given the most amazing blankets from Aden + Anais made of muslin cotton. I loved them because they were super breathable (every new moms biggest fear is a blanket covering their baby’s face and if these blankets did, the open weave of the fabric allowed for airflow, amazing!), came in the most amazing prints and served many purposes (from blanket to swaddle to play mat). So when I found out that Aden + Anais made crib sheets I was ecstatic. Made with fully certified organic cotton, their Organic Cotton Muslin Fitted Crib Sheet is gentle on baby’s skin, yet durable enough for everyday use. It keeps your baby warm in the winter and cool in the summer and I swear it gets softer and cozier with every wash.
3. Movement & Sound Monitor – Baby girl number two was put in the crib in her room at three months. I didn’t put my first in her room until six months so I had much hesitation. SIDS really scares me and I know that the first 4-6 months is when they are at highest risk. Someone told us about the Angelcare Movement & Sound Monitor. It is a device that you put under the mattress that senses each and every one of your baby’s movements and will sound an alarm if no movement is detected after 20 seconds. I recommend using the Deluxe Plus Angelcare movement and sound monitor as it has two sensor pads that go under the crib. While we have had a few false alarms (it is super sensitive and when my baby rolled on her side it couldn’t detect her breathing) it is totally worth it. Obviously it shouldn’t be replaced with you going in to check on your baby, but it is an extra layer of protection and it has helped put my mind at ease. My baby is almost 8 months and I still have it in her crib and use it every night and for every nap.
4. Lovey – When my first little girl wasn’t sleeping through the night I gave her a lovey (a cozy little stuffed animal) that I kept in my shirt so that it would have my scent on it. I would put it in her hands when she went down for bed so that she wouldn’t be alone and would have my scent on her all night. My baby girl now loves her lovey. We call him boo boo and she hold on to that thing so tight. At night we catch her searching around for him in the monitor if she looses him and she finds him every time. Boo boo is small enough that he can’t cover her entire face so I am not concerned that she won’t be able to breath. Bunnies by the Bay is the one that we use. It is supposed to be used as a pacifier holder, but my baby doesn’t use one. They have so many cute options to choose from.
5. Mobile – Once I learned that I couldn’t have anything in the crib, I was even afraid to put up a mobile for fear that it would fall and land in the crib. I found a really amazing one from Tiny Love called the classic mobile. It attaches and detaches from crib super easy so I can put it on when I want the baby to use it and take it off at night or when she goes down for nap. It plays classical music and is great for baby’s cognitive development. My baby will follow the little characters as they circle around. I can put her down in her crib while I am folding clothes or straightening up and know that she is safe and entertained. Both of my girls loved it and it is so fun to see how excited they get when they see their “friends” as we call them. Definitely a must-have. While it isn’t the cutest looking mobile, babies love the colors, the shapes, the movement and the music and you will love it too!
Above are my recommendations of items that I have used, but please consult with your pediatrician and refer to the American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines for Infant Sleep Safety and SIDS risk reduction.