A sleep experts guide to the 16 best baby sleep aids worth investing in (by age 0-5years)

by | May 11, 2023 | Improving sleep, Newborn, Toddler, Top tips

Some of my clients will tell you that I spend an awful lot of time telling them to strip away all the baby sleep aids and products that are out there! There’s so much hype with products aiming to guarantee a good night’s sleep and I just can’t buy into it!

However, some select and thought through purchases can make a difference. In this special edition blog post I run through the 15 baby sleep products I actually think you should consider investing in. I’ve categorised the best baby sleep aid by age & stage. Here’s the best baby sleep aids. (Plus the best toddler sleep aids and best sleep aids for pre-schoolers!)

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links and I receive a commission if you visit a link and buy something on my recommendation. Purchasing via an affiliate link doesn’t cost you any extra, and I only recommend products and services I trust and it doesn’t influence what I promote. All opinions are my own.

Best baby sleep aids – for newborns

Dummy

Babies are born with an innate desire to suck. Of course! It’s central to successful feeding. Not only does it help ensure nutritional needs are met, it also helps to provide a source of comfort. If your little one is also suffering from reflux, it can help soothe sore throats.

I’m not recommending a particular brand here. Mainly because you may just have to find the one that’s right for your child. Annoyingly you may end up trying a few different brands before your baby finally settles down with their firm favourite!

Swaddle

Lots of newborns love a swaddle! That firm, secure feeling it gives can provide a sense of calm, comfort and a reminder of the womb. It also helps to stop the startle (moro) reflex waking them up.

Now, importantly the swaddle needs to be secure so it can’t come undone, loose bedding is a risk. So it needs to be a purpose made swaddle (following the manufacturers guidelines) or a thin muslin (not a blanket). Don’t place anything additional over the swaddle and ensure baby is sleeping on their back in their own safe sleep space. As soon as your baby starts to show signs of rolling we’ll need to transition them to a sleeping bag.

I like the swaddle below because it serves as a swaddle, but also as a transition swaddle to a sleeping bag, so you don’t have to buy more products!

Best baby sleep aid – swaddle: Halo sleep swaddle

If your little one isn’t a fan of a hands down swaddle you can try this arms up swaddle from Love to Dream

White noise machines

White noise can help your baby stay asleep for a little longer. It doesn’t necessarily help them fall asleep (a common myth). It helps mask household noises (including siblings!) and also environmental noises such as traffic. The noise of the white noise going on at bedtime can also become a sleep cue in it’s own!.

Some are really fancy, have nature sounds, heartbeat, pink noise, other soothing sounds and even a built in night light! I’m not convinced any of that is necessary, but if you’re room sharing then you (and indeed many parents) may prefer to listen to ocean waves over static!

Make sure to protect baby’s hearing and follow the manufacturers guidelines. Note, it has to be able to play consistently for the whole duration of nap and night time. Avoid machines that will switch off.

I’ve recommended a portable device below – again for longevity and knowing how much a ‘nap on the go’ is a reality for many families!

Best baby sleep aid – white noise machine: Dream egg

white noise machine

White noise machine hack:
Use your Google Assistant or Alexa! Say, “Hey Google, Play white noise”, or “Alexa, open white noise”. We’ve always used a Google Mini at home in the kids rooms for this reason.

Night light (for you not them!)

Dark is best for baby sleep, it helps produce melatonin – the sleepy hormone . However, your newborn will likely be up multiple times at night for feeds and changes. Moving around safely is important and a night light can help.

Best budget friendly nightlight: Shnuggle

Best premium priced nightlight: Hatch (note this product is an all in one nightlight, sound machine and toddler clock – so whilst it’s a premium price, if you’d buy all 3 separately then this makes more sense!)

Side-sleeper

Room sharing is recommended until at least 6 months of age for safe sleep practices. When a newborn wakes often at night it’s also great to have them nearby, but equally with a side sleeper you can reassure them with your close comfort and also keep them in their own flat, safe sleep space.

When the time comes to stat transitioning them to their own space the side can go up and you can gradually shift them away from your side towards their new nursery!

Best baby sleep aid – side-sleeper: Chicco next to me

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Get 15% off one of the products recommended by creating a Baby Wish List on Amazon

Create your baby wishlist here!

Best products for young babies

Sleeping bags

When those newborn days are over it’s time to transition your little one to a sleeping bag! They’re fab. Best sleep aid out there hands down. I bang on about them more here.

Sleeping bags help ensure there’s no loose blankets in their sleep space and that they stay warm enough throughout the night. It may also prevent your little ninja from climbing out of their cot and putting them at risk.

The ergobaby bags are practical (useful for travel as you can use with a car seat or pram) and beautiful.

Best baby sleep aid – sleeping bags: Ergobaby ‘on the move’

Comforters

It’s not really until at least 8 months of age that your little one will develop a strong attachment to a comforter as a sleep aid. Your child may have a range of cuddly toys that they were given at birth, but if not, go shopping together and see if there’s one they naturally draw their eye to!

Their cot should be clear of all items until they’re 12 months of age, so you can start introducing them to a comforter as part of the bedtime routine, and when they’re old enough allow them to cuddle it at night.

Best baby sleep aid – comforters: Jelly Cat (check out their soother range for young ones)

best baby sleep aid

Video monitor (when they transition to their own room)

It’s natural to have safety concerns when your little one ventures into a new room! Monitors can help you feel more confident that they’re ok and you’re not going to miss anything.

Now, some monitors have added movement sensors too. I really understand this, perhaps if your baby was premature, spent time in special care, has health conditions etc. For babies who are well, have good weight gain, meeting developmental milestones and are sleeping in accordance to safe sleep guidelines (and probably room shared until at least 6 months) then I don’t believe the ‘extra kit’ in necessary.

So, I’ve kept this to just video monitors for now (and haven’t personally reviewed anything else). If a video and movement monitor would provide reassurance for you then please, do what’s best for your family. Lot’s of my families rave about the Nanit, although I haven’t personally taken a look.

Best video monitor: ibaby M2C. It has a lot of the features of more expensive models, but this is flexible, easy to travel with, and when it comes to having siblings (or multiple sleep spaces) too, it’s easy to add more cameras and view all on the same app. Plus, it won’t break the bank.

Travel cot

Now your little one is a bit older you may start thinking about travelling to see friends and family. Hey, even a hotel! Most travel cots are bulky, although some airlines will let you take one on for free! Hurrah for parents who don’t want to rely on the quality of a hotel cot.

For me, the cots need to be lightweight, practical and easy to put up (to make it super easy to carry a sleeping baby in from the car and straight down into their temporary sleep space.

You’ll have to forgive me for the immediate recommendation of an expensive cot here, however, if you’re due to be traveling a lot, or perhaps a grandparent will be looking after your child on a weekly basis then this is the one!

If this is priced a bit out of your budget then look for travel cots with a similar design. It’s so much easier than the older style.

Best baby sleep aid – travel cot: Baby Bjorn

Night time dummy

From about 7-9 months of age we can start to teach our little ones to find their own dummy and replace it at night. This is quite often a game changer for families and sleep. Glow in the dark ones are perfect for the job! They help increase the chance of your little one finding the dummy in their cot when they’ve dropped it at night.

Best baby sleep aid – dummy: Tommee tippee Night time soother

best baby sleep product

Best toddler sleep aids

Bedtime routine flashcards

These really help set some structure and clear expectations and guidelines for our young children who start to use delay tactics at bedtime! Colourful and fun, or pick the black and white version that you can get toddlers to colour in as a fun activity!

My client testers loved the versatility and how you can create your own bedtime routine to reflect your family.

Best baby sleep aid – flashcards: My own!

best toddler sleep aid

Bedtime stories

I’m quite picky with my choice of bedtime stories… I like them to be about sleep! It helps normalise the process… if their favourite character is preparing for sleep then it’s great role modelling. I also like to avoid anything that’s too much fun and stimulation like flaps and sounds at bedtime – it’s more about injecting a sense of calm.

My best bedtime story for 1-2 years: Little rabbit: Tickle my ears by Jörg Mϋhle

Best nighttime bottle

This is brilliant. Toddlers can start to be independent with water at night. This Nuk glow in the dark bottle makes it so easy as it will be obvious where to reach out to at night! It also makes a nice (and fun!) transition from using a baby bottle at night.

Like a discount?

Get 15% off one of the products recommended by creating a Baby Wish List on Amazon

Create your baby wishlist here!

Best sleep aids for pre-schoolers!

Nightlight

Now, things start to change. Darkness is still better for sleep. Even a small amount of light can shift the circadian rhythm. HOWEVER… from about 2.5 years of age, your child may start to develop fears and anxieties around bedtime. For some children, the fear can be crippling and you can see that they’re genuinely terrified.

(Note, other children may say “I’m scared”, but it’s a smart move as they know the parent responds differently)

If your child is scared of the dark then you may want to consider using a nightlight. Try to make sure it’s as dim as possible and also a ‘warm’ colour rather than a white or blue. Also be mindful of any shadows it may cast.

The Little Belle nightlights are a stunning premium product and would make a great gift for your imaginative fairy or unicorn obsessed toddler!

Best budget friendly nightlight: Shnuggle

Best premium priced nightlight: Little Belle Nightlights (Use the discount code childsleepspecialist for 10% off) .

Like a discount?

Get 10% off a beautiful Little Belle nightlight by using the discount code childsleepspecialist

Visit the Little Belle website here to view and order

My Little Morphée

My Little Morphée is a screen-free sleeping device and sleep sound soother that evolves with your child from newborn to eight years old. Designed with the help of sleep experts specialising in child relaxation, it features white noise, nature sounds, and soft calming music for newborns, creating a soothing sleep environment.

Both my children absolutely love it and fight over who listens each night!

Other advantages: lightweight and portable, highly versatile and puts the child in control, you don’t have to buy additional stories so it’s a one cost product.

Buy here

Toddler clock

When your baby’s cot is no longer and they transition to a toddler bed, you may find they start experimenting with their new found freedom! The rules around sleep may begin to change and the boundaries we set may need to become a little clearer.

A toddler clock is perfect for children who can’t yet tell the time. For example when they see a star it’s nighttime and follow those rules (e.g. staying in bed!) and when they see the sun they can get up and play.

They are also useful tools for children who wake early.

Best baby sleep aid – toddler clock: Tommee tippee Gro Clock (Note, turn the blue backlight all the way off at night)

Toniebox

I’m sold. It’s great. It’s also highly versatile and they’re really investing in their sleepy range. It can help promote independence at bedtime and may help a nervous little one let their parent leave the room.

They’ve also partnered with Moshi – which, if your little one needs some extra time to wind down at night may be worth investigating as their mindfulness programme is fab.

Best audio player: Toniebox

best pre-school sleep aid

Still confused?!

Now, these are just a few of my favourite things that I think consider an investment. If you’re currently having issues with sleep then a ‘product’ isn’t necessarily going to fix the issue. Best to either get in touch or check out my sleep training guide here.

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Hi, I’m Gemma, your sleep consultant

I am a certified baby and child sleep specialist who works with families all over the world.

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