Kids & Sleep: Environment

After talking about why our babies need sleep and how to figure out when they need sleep. Lets talk a little about actually getting them TO SLEEP.

Environment plays a huge part in getting your baby to sleep and to stay asleep. Again, I've read and researched tons as well as talked to many friends and pediatricians about sleep environment. Here are the things I've found to help my babes {and many others}:

  • Safety 1st

SIDS {sudden infant death syndrome} is a huge concern. To reduce the risk of SIDS follow these simple steps-

  1. Back is best: always put baby to sleep on his/her back. When they begin rolling over on their own, allow them to but always put them down on their back. Swaddling can provide comfort, warmth, and keep that startle reflex from waking them without sleeping on their tummy.
  2. Use firm sleeping surfaces: a firm mattress is best but even when using a pack-n-play make sure the "extra padding" you may use is tucked securely under a fitted sheet all the way around the pad.
  3. Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib: cutesy bedding and stuffed animals may be super cute for photo time but are not safe for baby's sleep. Even providing your baby with a small blanket should be postponed as long as possible. Bumper pads seem provide cushion for baby's head when snuggling against the railing and keeps that paci from falling out but makes it dangerous for baby to get caught in or to use for baby acrobatics when he/she begins climbing.
  4. No co-sleeping but close sleeping: there's nothing sweeter than snuggling with a sleeping infant but having them in your bed can be one of the most dangerous conditions for baby combining many of the other hazards. Having your baby in their own bed in your room during infancy can make listening for them safer.
  5. Offer a pacifier at nap and bed times: pacifiers are a good source of comfort for baby, help with breathing for infants, and are easier to transition out of using than a thumb.
  6. No bottles in the bed: "Don't feed a child of any age from a bottle while he or she is lying in bed. Lying down while drinking from a bottle can lead to blocked auditory tubes."
  7. Keep the room and baby cool: keeping your home around 70', your baby in comfortable, warm clothing {but not too warm} will help breathing during sleep
  8. Smoke free home: smoke will hinder lung developement and obstruct breathing of everyone in the family and especially baby

More resources on safe sleeping HERE and HERE.

  • Black out room:

"Baby’s circadian rhythms develop over the course of the first 2-4 months. Exposure to natural light helps to set the circadian rhythm early on." At the same time, blocking out light during naps using blackout shade, thick curtains, or even a blanket will help baby know it's time to sleep.

  • Play quiet instrumental music:

classical music is proven to help brain developement in children, quiet music is calming {music with words may encourage play rather than sleep}, and the light noise will help distract from other noise in the home during sleep time

  • Only use the room for sleeping:

avoiding toys in the room will help baby know it's time for nap and minimize play

  • For older children:

  1. A small stuffed animal blanket creature or simple stuffed animal may be a good transition for older children who need a little extra comfort when they are at the age to know they are missing out on something.
  2. Patting or rubbing their back can help calm them. I recommend only doing this for a short time and still allow them to sooth themselves all the way to sleep.
  3. Laying next to him/her is some times the only resort for getting big kids to lay still enough to fall asleep. This is a habit I don't really like but we are currently having to do with our 4-year-old who still desperately needs naps. This is super hard with 2 younger siblings on different nap schedules but gets the job done. DO NOT Co-Sleep! This is a habit you'll regret and will be crazy hard to get out of for both of you. Try transitioning from laying next to them, to sitting next to them, to being in the room, and then eventually right outside the door/outside the room.

I would encourage you to click away in this post. Each blue colored word is a link to another resource. There are so many more out there though. I couldn't get it all in this one post.

Hope this was helpful! Let me know what tricks you've got and please share the ones I didn't have room to include!

This is the 3nd in a series I'm doing on Kids & Sleep. You might also want to read

Why Should Children Have a Nap Schedule,

Charting Baby's Routine, and

"Cry-It-Out" . {These may change a little based on comments and questions as we go}

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  1. I think my favorite part is the “no bumper pads” part, paired with the picture of my beautiful, handmade ones. 🙂 For our eldest, we switched his “came with the bedding” bumpers out for breathable bumpers when he started rolling over. They are mesh and keep limbs from getting caught in the slats and catch flying pacifiers. They gave us great peace of mind as new parents.

    • I’ve gone back and forth on bumper pads, litterally. In the crib then out… I’ve actually had one of mine get stuck. Thank goodness it was only her legs under it and through the rails, and we found her quickly but that was enough for me to elliminate them. I should look into the breathable bumper for our next {no…we’re not preggers yet ;o)}.
      And your bedding is GORGEOUS!!!! Thanks for the awesome pic of a beautiful sleeping environment!


  1. […] schedule, how to chart baby’s routine to figure out when they should nap, and how to set up their environment: methods to get them to learn to sleep on their […]

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