When I asked top Harvard Sleep Doctor Erin Evans about whether there were any sleep products for babies that she would NOT recommend, I was stunned when she rattled off a bunch of super popular, mainstream products, including some that I had sworn by when my son was a baby!
It turns out some of the major brands are NOT designing their products with the science of sleep in mind. And according to Erin, some of these popular products can actually be detrimental to your baby getting healthy sleep!
“Many new parents buy products that claim to “sooth your baby to sleep.” Some of these products are unnecessary and in some cases may actually cause sleep disruption. For example, a blue light is the most potent stimulant of the biological clock. Blue light immediately promotes wakefulness and blue light is actually used just like caffeine to help keep shiftworkers awake all night. For some reason this information hasn’t made it back to baby product manufacturers, who suggest that the color blue is soothing!”
Fisher-Price Rainforest Waterfall Peek-a-Boo Soother: This toy projects bright blue light in your baby’s crib to help “lull” your baby to sleep. The problem is that your baby’s body is very sensitive to blue light and exposure to light tonight at 4:00 AM will cause a signal to wake up tomorrow at 4:00 AM. It’s much better to teach your baby to fall asleep in other ways and avoid the need to soothe to sleep with something that will cause more waking.
Fisher-Price Luv U Zoo Crib ‘N Go Projector Soother: Light is what resets the circadian rhythm. The last thing you want is a light in your child’s crib — it could massively disrupt your child’s sleep. Save toys like this for daytime play.
Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine: The sound machine functionality is nice, it goes all night and has a variety of soothing sounds to choose from, however, they chose a blue, stimulating night for the night light! [Note: I love this sound machine, but I recently removed this from my personal Mamajamas list based on Erin’s advice about the night light portion of it.]
Again from Erin:
“Stay away from products that light up (in any color except red or amber). Since light is alerting and is what resets the biological clock, having your baby stare at a light before falling asleep is likely to lead to trouble in the future.”
If you do want a night light, Erin DOES RECOMMEND:
Leviton Amber LED Nightlight: If you need a night light to see in your child’s room, then choose one that is very dim and amber or red in color. Blue, green and white nightlights are stimulating to the circadian rhythm and can actually increase your child’s night wakings.
For all of Erin’s “must have” and “don’t buy” sleep products, check out her Mamajamas List. And, for more great baby sleep tips, check out Erin’s website “Baby Sleep Science” or her blog “The Sleep Doctor’s Son”.
SPECIAL OFFER: Use the code MAMAJAMAS, and get 10% off of your first Baby Sleep Science phone consultation.