Baby Sign Language, A lifesaver

A couple years ago when I was pregnant, Waseem and I took a tour of the birth center we planned on giving birth at. While walking around the center we were pleasantly surprised to bump into someone Waseem has known since he was a camp counselor at Camp Tawingo. It turns out her sister was in one of the rooms giving birth and her and her Mom were waiting in the waiting room. While chit chatting about her young daughter, she told us all about the sign language they were using with her. That’s where we first heard about baby sign language. We were definitely intrigued.

Fast forward a year or so later, Waseem and I learned a few signs and started using them with Zayd. (I want to say around the 6 month mark). We started by signing “more” when we started him on solids. Of course he wasn’t able to sign back yet, but we were determined to practice it regularly with him in hopes he would one day get the idea. We also used the sign for “milk” before I nursed him and “bath” before or during bath time.

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The first time Zayd signed we were taking a walk at Red Sea Mall. He must have been around 11 months old. I vaguely remember it at this point but I do remember being extremely proud and happy about it. He signed “more” while I was feeding him. Needless to say it was the highlight of the week!
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He’s now two years old and he’s been signing like a pro for the last year or so. I have to say it has really made our lives a little easier. He doesn’t get as frustrated as he could get because he’s able to tell us when he wants to nurse, eat, drink, or take a bath. He’s even started coming up with his own signs! Of course when he does it takes us a few tries to guess what he means but then once we do we’re golden.

The funniest sign he’s made up is his sign for “cheese” (the food). He will point as his cheek and say “chee”. We’re not sure how it all started but we’re thinking it’s probably a combination of the word “cheese” sounding similar to “cheek” and the idea of saying “cheese” when you are having your picture taken.

Since we speak to Zayd in English and in Arabic, he’s taking his time with speech. He’ll say a couple words here and there “Baba” (he calls everyone that, even me!), “turtle” (he’s obsessed with the turtles at Allen Gardens so that’s where that came from), and of course the famous “daqqa” which he uses for almost everything (musical instruments, construction vehicles,  airplanes, and helicopters, you name it!). Some argue that it’s the reason he’s not really using words, we argue that it’s helped us communicate with him for a long time now and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

It can seem intimidating to learn and teach your child sign language, but it’s actually not intimidating at all. You can learn just the words that are most beneficial to your family and start practicing them with your child right away. Practice is key and so is patience. One day your kid with just use a sign and it will make you happy/excited beyond belief. Makes me super excited for him to actually start using his words! That’s gonna be a whole other type of fun!

 

 

5 Best Baby Bath Products

I put together a list of my favorite products to make bath time easier and more fun. Hope you like it!

If you find this list useful and are curious to see what other lists I have on the blog, check out 8 Best Pregnancy Products, 6 Best Postpartum Products or even 6 Best Baby Transport Products!

COLLAPSIBLE BOON BATH TUB

When I was trying to figure out what the best tub would be for our family, I got pretty excited when I found one that I could collapse flat and store out of sight. When you live in an apartment, you can quickly accumulate so many baby products that you forget adults also live in the home. This tub is very simple and extremely practical when you’re dealing with small spaces. The fact that it also has a newborn and a toddler setting makes it even more appealing because we can use it for a long time. Zayd is 17 months old and he still uses it. We put it in the big bath, but this way we don’t waste too much water because we only fill his tiny tub up. It’s size is great too to contain his toys all within arms reach. When we’re done using it, we flatten it up hang it behind the bathroom door. It’s even got a hook at the top of it for easy storing!


SUMMER INFANT BATH SPONGE

If you opt for the Boon tub (or really any baby tub) this sponge insert works really well for the newborn days. It’s pretty thick and soft so baby will enjoy laying on it, and I love the fact that it stays warm while you’re bathing baby. It’s also very easy to wring out and dry. Another plus is it’s very affordable and does the job well. With all the baby products you need as a new parent, it’s nice to not always have to splurge, especially when it’s something you will really only be using for a couple of months!


POTTERY BARN BATH WRAP

If you’re looking for a hooded towel that’s really soft and big enough to use for the first few years of baby’s life, Pottery Barn bath wraps are definitely the way to go. They’re made of really nice cotton terry material and they have so many different characters. Unicorns, raccoons and sharks just to name a few! With all the “baby shark do do do do do dooo” hype you’ll wanna get your hands on one to help entice your little one to get out of the tub at some point (cause sometimes they wanna stay in the tub forever!)


BURT’S BEES

When Zayd was born I went a little nuts only wanting to use natural and chemical free products on him. I started off with Aveeno and Johnson & Johnson until I read all about how J&J was being sued over an ovarian cancer case because of asbestos in their baby powder. That was enough to put me off of J&J. I was then reading the back of the Aveeno baby bubble bath bottle and I saw that it was a J&J product! I got pretty mad and immediately stopped using that as well. Now I check all products I buy (for Zayd or for us) to make sure J&J is nowhere to be seen.

The next baby wash and shampoo I tried was The Honest Company and although I loved the way it smelled (and the fact that I could get two pretty big bottles as a set from Costco), I felt like Zayd’s hair was always oily. It just didn’t feel like it was getting the job done. So the hunt went on.

Since Burt’s Bees was a company I always use and love for myself, I got pretty excited when I found their line of baby products and decided I’d give them a try. Problem was it was one of the more expensive products (hence the trying it so late in the game). Once I tried their baby products though, I was immediately hooked. Every one of their washes smell amazing, the bubble bath makes the perfect amount of bubbles for bath time and never leaves Zayd with greasy looking hair. Finally, the search was over! If I could do it all over again I wouldn’t waste any time and just go right for Burt’s Bees. They make the best products for babies and adults!


SUMMER INFANT 4 SIDED CHANGING PAD

This is the changing mat we opted for. Instead of having two contoured sides it has four for just a little added security. It’s pretty long and can be used till your baby is around 3 years old (hopefully you won’t still be changing diapers by then!) and is very well cushioned. Having a strap is an added bonus for when baby starts to learn how to turn over and plan his escape! It’s also very affordable compared to a lot of other mats out there that don’t have the same 4 sided feature. We use this mat in the bathroom for putting pajamas on after bath time.


MUNCHKIN WATERPROOF CHANGING PAD LINERS

Most parents opt for purchasing extra changing pad covers for the ability to wash ones that have been soiled. I initially thought I would be in the same boat until I came across these great pad liners. Moms have so much to do on a daily basis that it just saves time to throw one of these guys on top of your pad for ease of changing. They come in a convenient pack of three and they wash pretty well. I also used to throw one into the diaper bag or a purse if I didn’t want to take the diaper bag out that day just to have on the road. They can be put under a sleeping baby, on a play mat, anywhere really. Bottom line, they’re so versatile and useful that I think all parents should have a set!


If you find this list useful and are curious to see what other lists I have on the blog, check out 8 Best Pregnancy Products, 6 Best Postpartum Products or even 6 Best Baby Transport Products!

6 Best Baby Transport Products

Here are our favorite products for moving around with baby. You may also like to see my list of  8 Best Baby Travel products.

BUGABOO CAMELEON 3

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This was our number one choice for our every day stroller. Years ago I lived with my Uncle and his wife and their two young boys, and they had a bugaboo that I got to know very well. I immediately knew that one day, this would be the stroller I would have to get when I had a baby. Luckily, my in laws gifted the Bugaboo Cameleon 3 to us when Zayd was born. The Cameleon has lots of different features that we love.

PROS

  • This stroller glides beautifully. It really feels like you’re pushing it on a cloud.
  • The Cameleon comes with a bassinet that can be used for 0-6 months and a seat that can be used from 6 months until approximately 3 years.
  • Most car seats are compatible with the Cameleon and can easily be clipped on to the stroller frame, making it easy to move baby from the car to the stroller without having to disturb sleep.
  • The handle can be adjusted to fit the height of the person pushing it.
  • The handle can also be moved back and forth making it easy to push the stroller up to a table if you don’t have a high chair for example, or if you would like to have the big wheels in the front when you’re at the beach or on a hike.
  • I love that I can pick up the seat and turn it around to either face me or have it’s back towards me. (This is great when you have a fussy child who would rather see the world)

CONS

  • The undercarriage can be a little hard to get to when the seat is in the upright position. It comes with a drawstring covered top so your belongings can be hidden away, sometimes that’s useful (like if it’s raining), but sometimes it can be a little annoying.
  • Unlike some other strollers on the market, the foot rest can not be moved up, so baby’s feet are always dangling unless the whole seat is in the recline position.
  • The Cameleon 3 does not make the best travel stroller since it’s pretty big even when folded and placed in its travel bag.
  • Finally, it is considered to be one of the more expensive strollers on the market. It’s extremely high quality and will last for years and years to be used to with multiple pregnancies. It also has a pretty high resale value and can be sold for close to 50% of it’s retail price even years later.

BABYZEN YOYO+

There’s a reason this is one of the best travel strollers on the market. Besides the fact that it looks stylish and glides so easily when you push it with one hand, it also only weighs 13 lbs making it easy to carry around. Since we had the Bugaboo I was convinced I wound never need another stroller, but when we decided to go traveling around Asia for a few months, I started to look at lightweight travel stroller options. Never did I plan on owning a Yoyo+ since we already had one pretty pricey stroller. (A yoyo+ costs around $500 USD!). I was pretty lucky when my cousin called and told me that she had just been to the second hand store in town and saw that they had one of these guys for sale. I then of course headed over to see it as soon as I could and boy was I happy I did! I ended up buying it for $50! I was really lucky with the price since the people selling it had no idea how much it originally cost. A few bucks later and we had a brand new fabric set too. Let’s just say I still talk about it as being the deal of the century haha!

PROS

  • The Yoyo+ can be used from 0-6 months in the flat nest and from 6 months to around 40 lbs (4-5 year old) in the upright position. The same frame can accommodate both positions.
  • This stroller feels like silk and can easily be pushed one handed while the other hand pulls a suitcase or holds a coffee.
  • The seat it fairly easy to recline and although doesn’t go flat, it is still goes back at enough of a recline for nap time.
  • It’s claim to fame is it’s ease of opening and closing. It’s actually unbelievable that it can be opened and closed with just one had. (Click here –> I had to see this to believe it!)
  • This stroller can fit in a backpack (sold separately) that can be carried on your back, which is really perfect when traveling.
  • The hood is SPF 50 which is great for traveling and also has a peek through window up top to spy on sleeping baby.
  • There’s a big zippered pocked under the handle for storing diapers and wipes or a phone and wallet for quick trips (this is so practical!)

CONS

  • The handlebar isn’t adjustable so that may be an issue if you’re very tall or very short.
  • It is one of the most (if not the most) expensive travel strollers on the market.
  • The undercarriage is quite small and doesn’t fit much.
  • Since the stroller is so lightweight, it makes it difficult to hand a diaper bag on the handle without being afraid the stroller will fall over.

MAXI COSI MICO CAR SEAT

We love our Maxi Cosi Mico car seat. A really good friend gifted it to us when Zayd was born and boy are we grateful for that. We initially didn’t think we needed to get a car seat because Zayd was born in downtown Toronto and we don’t have a car. Also, the birth center where he was born had car seats for rent. After lots of discussions with friends I have who already have kids, I was convinced we’d be happier with one. It just makes life a little easier if we needed to take a cab somewhere or for when we traveled. A lot of the time we actually would go out for walks with the car seat attached to our Bugaboo instead of the bassinet. I liked letting Zayd sit up right and see the world sometimes. He did too!

PROS

  • The Maxi Cosi attached to our Bugaboo pretty easily with the extra attachment clips (sold separately)
  • It’s very lightweight at only about 9 lbs. This makes it very easy to move from the car to the stroller base and to travel with.
  • The entire fabric set comes off and can be washed in the washing machine. (Perfect when you have accidents)
  • It comes with an extra head support pillow for newborns.

CONS

  • It can be used for around a year (5 lbs to 22 lbs) which may not be the best option for a family who does little traveling and doesn’t want to invest in more than one car seat.
  • The sun shade could be a little bigger but I used a car seat cover for when we were out and it worked fine.
  • The base is sold separately and although you don’t really need to purchase it (you can strap the car seat into any car using a regular seat belt), it does make it a lot easier and saves time to just snap it in a clip it out when using the base.

LILLEBABY COMPLETE ALL SEASONS CARRIER

This is hands down the best carrier on the market! I’ve been using it for 16 months now and I feel like it’s growing beautifully with Zayd. We’ve literally been using it since the first week of his life. I don’t know how we would have survived without it. It’s been all around the world with us. We used it in really hot climates with the mesh exposed and in really cold winters with the mesh area zipped up for more warmth. I’ve worn it and Waseem has worn it. It’s just the best. Zayd even loves it and will see either of us putting it on and come right towards us because he knows he’ll be going for a walk.

PROS

  • Can be worn with a baby from 7lbs to 45 lbs
  • We love the fact that baby can be in this carrier from birth and that you don’t need to purchase and infant insert to use it with a newborn.
  • The main reason we were interested in this carrier is because there is a flap on the front of it that can be rolled down exposing a mesh window for hotter climates. The window can also be closed up for colder weather.
  • It’s great that there are six different positions you can put baby in with the Lillebaby all seasons. We loved having Zayd on our back for nap time while we were out exploring on our trips.
  • This has to be one of the most comfortable carriers our there. It comes with a lumbar support piece that really counters the weight on the baby on your front. Zayd now weighs about 22 lbs and I can comfortably wear him for a little over an hour before getting tired.
  • The straps can be worn like a backpack and also crisscrossed for someone more petite or to make it easier to nurse while baby wearing.
  • The torso is extra tall for bigger babies (or toddlers) and provides extra neck and back support that can be snapped up or down.
  • The seat area can be changed to wide for facing Mom or narrow for facing out. This makes carrying baby way more comfortable.
  • One of the best things about this carrier is that you can use it with baby front facing. This was a priority for us since we knew we would be doing a lot of traveling and we wanted to make sure we had the option of Zayd seeing the world. You’d be surprised how many carriers don’t have this as an option.
  • Can you tell I could go on and on?
  • One more thing! There are soooo many different design options for this carrier I will say picking out your favorite is definitely the hardest part!

CONS

  • It’s a little bit bulky if you want to travel with it. I wish it came with a travel case or a way to wrap it up to make it more compact.
  • We really have used it like crazy so some of the stitching has come undone and I had to sew it up myself (so it doesn’t look the best) but I will actually say that this may just be because we traveled around Asia with it for 4 months and used it every single day (there are hardly any sidewalks in Bali and Vietnam so we didn’t use a stroller much)

BAMBOO MOBY WRAP

For as much as we love our Lillebaby Complete All Seasons carrier, we also have a very soft spot in our heart for our Moby wrap. This was another gift Zayd got when we was born and boy did we use it like crazy.

PROS

  • The bamboo fabric is just the softest we’ve ever felt.
  • Zayd loved sleeping in this carrier for hours when he was first born. It kept him close enough to my chest that he could hear my heartbeat and I think that really helped calm him.
  • I found the soft fabric carriers to be the best for using around the house to get things done while your newborn sleeps (bonus: it’s also a workout!).

CONS

  • It can take some time to figure out how to best wrap up baby but once you do it’s a piece of cake! (Check this video out for some help)
  • I found it hard to use while out of the house because I was always trying to make sure the fabric wasn’t falling on the floor as I was tying it up.
  • I found that Zayd and I only liked using this wrap until he was about 4 months old and then he got a bit too heavy and the fabric kept loosening while I was carrying him, which got a little annoying.
  • It’s pretty pricey at $45 and I don’t see getting one if you already have a structured carrier (because you can ultimately use them for much longer).

BABYBJORN BOUNCER

Something you want to keep in mind when you’re putting together a registry or making a list of what you need when baby arrives is a safe place for baby to hang out while you’re doing things around the house. It’s ideal to have a seat or a basket of some sort that you can move around the house with you. For us the BabyBjorn Bouncer did that job. This is a really simple seat that bounces when you push it or when baby kicks. Some people prefer battery or electric operated swings or seats that sway or rock but for us we wanted to find something that did a little less and was very compact.

PROS

  • The BabyBjorn Bouncer is very light and can easily be picked up and carried around the house with you. (or taken to Grandmas house!)
  • The seat has three different positions. Baby can be be seated upright, at an angle to rest and observe and in a sleep position. It can also be folded flat for easy storage.
  • The fabric is easily removed and machine washable.
  • You can buy an add on wooden toy that clips across baby to keep him entertained.

CONS

  •  It’s on the more expensive side costing about $200. It can however be used from newborn until the age of two by turning the fabric around and making a seat for older children. With that price tag, most people won’t opt to also add the clip on toy which is a shame cause Zayd really enjoyed it.
  • If you have a bigger baby, he may outgrow the bouncing position very quickly. Luckily Zayd is a little guy so he was able to use it for close to 9 months.

If you found this article useful you may want to check out my other posts titled 5 Best Baby Sleep Products or 8 Best Baby Travel Products.

8 Best Baby Travel Products

Since we’ve been doing lots of traveling since Zayd was born it was important to us to be able to travel as lite as possible. Here are some products that we found essential and very practical while on the move. Enjoy!

For a list of 5 of my favorite baby sleep products click here.

PHIL & TEDS TRAVEL COT

This is the perfect travel cot for anyone who wants the lightest most compact infant bed out there. Traveling is so much easier when you can pack up the baby’s bed and fit it into a suitcase as opposed to it being an extra piece of luggage like most cots on the market. We’ve been using this playpen since Zayd was 10 months old. It’s pretty long as well so you can use it for a good amount of time (Unless you’ve got a little basketball player!). You can also take this cot to the beach or use it outside at parks or in a backyard.  The company recently came out with a traveller bassinet accessory that would be really useful for smaller babies who need to be higher up and closer to you in bed.

PROS

  • This is one of the lightest travel cots at the market weighing less than your child at only 6 lbs!
  • It comes with a self inflating mattress that rolls up really compact which is very convenient. (We also like to add Zayds nest on top of it for some extra padding and comfort).
  • The sides which are made of mesh allowing for airflow, zip down in case you want to lay next to your child to nurse him or comfort him to sleep.CONS
  • It takes a few minutes to put together, but once you get the hang of it it’s not too bad (Waseem is officially a pro!).
  • I sometimes wish there was the option of having the mesh sides covered up so Zayd wouldn’t see us in bed next to him for example.

PHIL & TEDS LOBSTER HIGH CHAIR

The Phil & Teds lobster high chair is a great product. We have been using it ever since Zayd could sit up on his own and he’s absolutely loved sitting at the table with us ever since. While traveling in Asia we found that it was really hard to find restaurants that provide high chairs. This made it pretty inconvenient to go out to eat and made it hard for Mom and Baba to enjoy our meals running after Zayd the whole time. This chair was a life saver for us!

PROS

  • It fold down flat and comes with a convenient carry case, making it easy to take out to restaurants or Grandma and Grandpas house.
  • This chair can also be used at home as an everyday high chair since it clips right on to the table. Kids love sitting at the table with you during mealtime.

CONS

  • It is not machine washable, which we found to be extremely inconvenient. Our chair got so messy when we were away and we like to let Zayd feed himself, and even after trying to hand wash it I couldn’t get it as clean as I would have liked it. (Note: I eventually threw it in the washing machine (no dryer) and it came out spotless and as if it were brand new. Not sure why they don’t want you to put it in the machine but I will definitely be doing that from not on)
  • It comes with a plastic removable tray that we found to be kind of useless since you attach it after the chair is hooked on to the table. Zayd quickly figured out how to remove it and throw it on the floor and that was that.
  • The chair unfortunately doesn’t fit on all tables (only ones where the lip hangs out far enough and is wide enough for the chair). We sometimes had to check the tables at restaurants before we could eat there.

BABYZEN YOYO STROLLER

We love love love our babyzen yoyo and couldn’t have imagined doing the amount of travel we did without it! I was so lucky to find this  stroller at a second hand store being sold for a fraction of the price (they obviously didn’t know what it was worth!). We gave it a good scrub, purchased some new fabric for it and voila we had our brand new yoyo ready to take on our trip! (I don’t think we would have been able to afford one otherwise and I pride myself for finding it – well my cousin Nour was actually the one who pointed it out to me – and consider it one of the best deals I ever got!)

PROS

  • The babyzen yoyo’s most popular feature is the fact that it can fold down so small to fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane. This is a really awesome feature, and we’ve used it several times, my only issue is that airlines still haven’t received the memo that this stroller can be placed in the overhead and more than once we were asked to leave it at the door of the plane. Not anymore, we’ve since learned our lesson. We make sure to fold it up before we get to the gate (so the airline employees don’t even see we have it) and hide it in it’s carry bag. When the staff ask us if we have a stroller it’s a quick nope! haha Works every time!
  • A parent with his or her hands full can easily close or open this stroller with one hand! It’s actually pretty amazing. Almost like a magic trick!
  • The stroller had a big zippered pocket under the handle which is really convenient for phones, wallets, keys or even baby essentials if you don’t want to take a diaper bag out.

CONS

  • The sunshade unfortunately doesn’t go out far enough and I always feel like poor Zayd’s cooking in the sun.
  • We purchased the parasol thinking it would solve the short sunshade issue and actually decided that it’s actually one of their poorest accessories. I found that it’s really difficult to keep Zayd shaded with it. It can be attached to either side so I guess the idea is that you move it around based on where the sun is, but I found this to be extremely inconvenient especially if I’m walking down the street and he’s shaded and then I turn the corner and he’s in the sun again. I actually wish I looked up the reviews before I bought it. I later found that the reviews for the umbrella are pretty bad everywhere. It’s not cheap either!
  • We were lucky enough to buy the yoyo used but it definitely is one of the most expensive lightweight umbrella strollers out there. Not sure a lot of people would buy one as a second stroller but I’ve seen some people use it as their only stroller as it can can be used from birth with the bassinet attachment.

ELLA’S KITCHEN ORGANIC FOOD PACKS

This is the BEST baby food on the market hands down! It tastes delicious (Yes, I’ve tried almost all of them!) and uses only organic ingredients. They don’t put anything extra in the packs but wholesome goodness. Zayd loves any packet of food I give him from Ella’s Kitchen but will outwardly reject other brands we’ve tried.  We stocked up on these while in Jeddah and actually took around 30 of them with us to Asia. Lifesavers is an understatement!

PROS

  • All organic ingredients with no extra additives. This makes their products easy to feed to your little one with peace of mind knowing he’s not getting junk.
  • Ella’s kitchen has lots of options from packs of just fruit or veggies, to textured meal packs like beef stew and spaghetti with meat sauce to toddler granola bar like snacks.
  • They even make products for kiddies with special diets like gluten and lactose free and vegetarian. I imagine that’s got to be really awesome for parents who struggle feeding kids who can only eat certain things.

No cons except that these products might be a little hard to find since they are from the UK.


BUMKINS REUSABLE SNACK BAGS

These snack bags are really great. I love all the different colors and patterns they come in and the various sizes options. Perfect for small snacks like crackers or raisins and some sizes can even fit a sandwich. You can really use them for anything, even diapers, wipes or toys. What I love most about them is the material makes them easy to clean since they are machine washable as well as dishwasher safe! Needless to say, we used these in all our travels.


BUMKINS BIBS

Bumkins also makes the best bibs. They’re made out of the same material the snack bags are made out of so they can also be popped into the washing machine. They offer a few different sizes that can grow with your child. And of course the patterns and colors they use can’t be beat!


MUNCHKIN MIRACLE 360 SIPPY CUP

If you’re going to invest in one sippy cup to rule them all, this is the one! We only have one and we take it absolutely everywhere with us. Munchkin makes a bunch of different sizes and colors. They even make some with handles and some without.

PROS

  • The fact that there’s no spout and your child can drink from anywhere around the rim (simply tilt the cup and suck on the valves edge) supports dental health and is dentist recommended.
  • The cup automatically seals when the child stops drinking meaning no spills! (Except if your kid’s anything like Zayd and likes to let us know hes done with his drink by flinging his cup halfway across the room!)
  • Easy to clean in the dishwasher and easy for little hands to hold.

No cons, just lots of love for this great cup!


THINKBABY SUN BLOCK

Finally on the list is our favorite sunblock. We used this on Zayd as well as on ourselves. This is one of the safest, if not the safest, sunblocks on the market. It’s free of harmful chemicals found in most other sunblocks, is not tested on animals and won more awards than any other sun care line! It’s a little on the pricier side but is totally worth it in our opinion. We love that it comes in stick form as well, making it really easy to apply to Zayd’s face without a fuss. Oh, and it smells really great too!


Hope you enjoyed my favorite baby travel products. For a list of  5 of my favorite baby sleep products click here.

5 Best Baby Sleep Products

Check out my lists on 6 Best Postpartum Products and 7 Best Pregnancy Products if you find this list helpful.

 

THE COCOONABABY NEST

We used this great product from the day Zayd was born until he turned about 4 months old when he outgrew it and we transferred him into a nest instead. We were really fortunate to be able to borrow this product from cousin whose son also used it and loved it.

PROS

  • The Cocoonas ergonomic shape reassures baby and is made to emulate the womb promoting deep sleep, and also limits the effect of the (moro) “startle” reflex.
  • It is portable and can easily be moved from one room to the next keeping baby close, comfortable, safe and in sight.
  • The movable wedge under baby’s knees can be adjusted as he grows, and removed when baby no longer needs it. Also, the tummy band helps baby stay in an ideal position without impending his freedom of movement.

CONS

  • The Cocoona can only be used until baby can roll over or until about 4 months of age.
  • It’s on the higher end price-wise and will run you about $220 USD. A bit much for a product that will only be used for a few months. (If we weren’t able to borrow it, I don’t think I would have spent the money on it even though I think it really did help Zayd sleep like a baby)
  • It needs a special fitted sheet. It comes with one, but will cost another $40 USD for a second one! (and we all know that a second sheet is a must when you have a newborn)

LOVE BIRDS SEWING CO. BABYNEST

Baby nests are great, portable, familiar spaces that can be used at home or on the go. They are made to make baby feel comfortable and secure as if he were still in the womb, and simulate the coziness and warmth of a parents arms.

Unfortunately I didn’t purchase one of these beautiful nests when Zayd was born because I opted for a cheaper option that I found on Etsy. It did the job, (and we still use it day in and day out. We’ve traveled all around Asia with it too!) but the padding isn’t as thick as I would have liked it to be and the overall finishing just feels lacking.

PROS

  • These nests are absolutely beautifully made. In addition to the BabyNests they also offer WilderNests for families who enjoy being outdoors and need a heavier more durable cotton to take along on their adventures.
  • The nests come in three sizes, Baby Nest (birth to about 1 year), Toddler Nest (1 year to about 3 years) and a Toddler Plus Nest (2 years to about 8 years)
  • These nests are also considered to be on the expensive side but, they can last for years if you opt to get a nest that’s bigger than your child. I really think it’s worth the investment as it can be used a long time, is easily machine washable and is a great way to always have your child’s familiar sleeping place with you no matter where you are.
  • They also make a great canvas bag that can be used to transport the nest wherever you’ll be taking it!

CONS

  • There are people who can be concerned about their child sleeping in a nest and potentially rolling up against the edge at night and not being able to breathe. If this is a concern for you, this may not be the type of sleeping product you want to purchase. Or you may opt to buy one and use it for naps during the day when you can keep a close eye on your little one.
  • Because you can use a nest for years, it’s price can be justified more than if you were to purchase a cocoonababy nest for example.
  • If you choose to have your child sleep consistently in a nest as opposed to in bed with you, it may end up being a hassle for your family to always have the nest with you if you move around or do a lot of traveling.

ADEN + ANAIS SWADDLE

These are the best swaddles/blankets in my opinion. We swaddles Zayd for every nap or night time sleep from the day he was born until he was about 6 months old and started to pull his arms out and get loose. I definitely recommend swaddling baby to help them sleep and feel the security of being in the womb. Click here for a video on how to swaddle.

PROS

  • Swaddling can help calm babies, stop them from startling themselves with the “moro” reflex (when their arms shoot up and wake them) and make them sleep for longer stretches at a time.
  • Swaddling is one of the 5 S’s in Harvey Karps book “The Happiest Baby on the Block” that triggers the calming reflex. This is done by imitating the sensations of the womb. Check out this book. It will be one of the best books you read before or after you have your baby. To watch a short video summary on the book click here.
  • Swaddling reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). It makes it hard for newborn babies to inadvertently cover their heads or face with bedding and decrease their ability to turn over on their stomachs, which have both been linked to higher rates of SIDS in newborns.

CONS


SKIP HOP NIGHTLIGHT & SOOTHER OWL

When Zayd was first born one of my biggest challenges while nursing and changing him in the middle of the night, was being able to see what I was doing without actually waking us both up.  After doing some research and trying to find ways to fix this issue, my sister got us this great nightlight owl. I initially used it for the dim night light but soon discovered the various white noise options and we were hooked! We only use one of the sounds (the heartbeat) but we have used it every night (and afternoon) since Zayd was a couple months old, and we still use it today!

PROS

  • The dimmable nightlight option emits a warm glow making it easy to see what you’re doing with baby in the middle of the night without waking you both up.
  • The baby soother plays eight gentle melodies including nature sounds.
  • There is a small adjustable lens at the top of the owl that projects a starry nightscape onto the wall or the ceiling to help calm your little one.

CONS

  • It’s a little big in size and since my family and I are big travelers, we probably would have opted for the smaller, more portable option.
  • The product is a little on the pricier side for a sound machine because it plugs into power. Skip hop does offer other soother/night light options that are more affordable, but they are mainly battery operated and portable (Find them here).
  • Some people may not find the idea of a sound machine to work well for their family and that is fine, however the night light option is still a very useful feature that I do recommend.

GROBAG SLEEPING BAG

Putting Zayd in a sleeping bag has worked out really well for us. I decided to look into this option after he stopped wanting to be swaddled. I noticed when I would cover him with a blanket he would soon turn over and the blanket would be at his feet. Using a sleeping bag has given us peace of mind knowing Zayd’s warm and cozy all night no matter what position he’s in. Grobag UK has some really great sleeping bag options, from Groswaddles for newborns to Grobags for babies and kids to Grorompers for toddlers.

PROS

  • Baby sleeping bags are designed to keep your baby warm and comfortable without needing additional bedding. This makes sure your baby wont kick their bedding off at night and wake up cold.
  • A sleeping bag is a safer sleep environment since there are no loose sheets or blankets for baby to suffocate underneath.
  • By putting your baby in a sleeping bag to sleep, he will quickly develop a sleep association with the sleeping bag, meaning the bag will become a strong cue that it is time for sleep.

CONS

  • I can’t really think of any to be honest.

Check out my lists on 6 Best Postpartum Products and 8 Best Pregnancy Products if you found this list helpful.

Long-term Travel with Baby

No matter how you travel, travel is never “easy” when you have a little one. Between making sure Zayd’s fed, slept and bathed it’s really a full time job and a lot of the time it feels like that’s all we ever do! But, it’s also amazing! We don’t get to do as much of the touristy/sight seeing things couples who are traveling without kids get to do but, we do get to experience the joy of seeing the world through Zayds eyes. Instead of going rafting we go to the kiddy pool at water parks. Instead of going to fancy restaurants, we go to more family oriented ones that have kids play areas in them. Instead of checking out night time safaris, we go to zoos during the day. All still fun activities, just tweaked a bit.

We’ve been traveling since Zayd turned 11 months old. Bali had been a dream for us for the last few years (since Waseem and I checked it out summer of 2016) and we knew we had to go back. (Check out our favorite places to eat in Ubud and Canggu, Bali) After Zayd was born and we spent the beginning of his life between Toronto where he was born, New York where a lot of my family is and Saudi where a big part of Waseem and my family and friends are, we decided it was time to hit the road and try out this whole travel thing.

One of the most important things for us when it comes to travel is to travel as light as we possibly can and to have the most compact and functional products for our trip. From our luggage and packing cubes from Eagle Creek to our super light and comfortable Xero Shoes, to Zayds travel cot and portable high chair from Phil&Teds and really lightweight stowaway fold-able stroller from BabyZen we really wouldn’t be able to travel as easily without them.

More on our favorite travel products to come. Happy traveling!