To sleep… perchance to dream. But, mostly, just sleep. Babies, sleep. Pleeeeeease.
First of all, please read up on sleep safety recommendations and talk to your pediatrician if you have any doubts or questions.
The current AAP sleep recommendations are empirically based to reduce SIDS and may not coincide with what your own sisters, mothers, and other trusted mother figures will recommend to you.
I personally like the way the people at healthychildren.org summarize the AAP statement into a Parent’s Guide to Safe Sleep.
Also, CNN wrote an article about Baby Sleep Guidelines with interesting findings about how culture plays a role in safe sleep practices.
Now, onto the gear guide with a disclaimer that this momma runs a room-in, back is best, co-sleeping can be done safely, but SAFELY is the key word, kind of house.
Top Pick for Twins: Graco Twin Pack ‘n Play
Why? Good for: Twins, obviously. Apartment living. Rooming in. Also great if you find that you’re going to be moving cross country about four months postpartum, so you sadly can’t use that excessive nesting energy to set up a nursery while pregnant anyway. SO sad. Not only does it come with twin bassinets (no, these don’t come apart for use as separate bassinets during the day), but the dimensions are bigger than a standard Graco Pack ‘n Play, so it’s roomier when used with just the mattress, whether to sleep or to play.
I read all the Amazon reviews and was ready to be pleased overall but maybe have some issues with it collapsing slightly in the middle as the twins got bigger. This really wasn’t a problem. The Twin Pack n’ Play held up as their main sleep quarters until after we had moved, had time to set up nursery furniture, and begin the transition to sleeping in their own cribs around 6 months. For those wondering, my babies are not teeny, but they aren’t big either.
0-3 months: Our babies slept in the Twin Bassinets until they were about 3 months old. Then, the babies and I spent a month in Texas with family, at which point they shared a standard Pack ‘n Play and continued to room in.
4-6 months: The twins used it without the bassinet accessory, just sleeping on “his and her” sides. Near the end, we felt that they were outgrowing sleeping together. Baby girl is a light sleeper, and baby boy moves a lot. He would kick, flip over, and squirm, all the while remaining asleep himself, but this would disturb his sweet sister.
6-12 months: OMG, are my sweet babies really about to turn 1?!? Focus, focus, because otherwise I might cry. Since transitioning the babies to their own room and cribs, we have kept the Twin Pack ‘n Play in the Master Bedroom and used it as back up sleeping quarters on nights when teething, cough, or cold, or any other reason makes one baby more fussy of a sleeper. This ensures that only one baby needs extra attention overnight, because fussy baby can’t wake happy baby.
Additional perks/accessories: We also use it regularly as a playpen, for one or both babies. One glorious morning, while my toddler was still sleeping, I put the babies in there to play, rolled it to just in front of the bathroom door, and hopped in the shower, where I could sing and dance and actually shower by myself while keeping an eye on them! Sometimes I can put them in there and leave big brother in charge, which means he runs around like the wild (and highly entertaining) child he is, and I can actually take care of the house with peals of laughter in the background.
Bottomline: Considering how important baby sleep and sleep safety is (times two for twins) plus how awesome it is for Mommy to shower alone, we have most definitely gotten our money’s worth on this baby product.
Top Pick for Singletons: Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Cuddle Cove Rocking Seat
(I don’t know why they call it a seat. Y’all, it’s a sleeper and not to be used for sitting babies, but aside from the silly name, this thing is awesome.)
Why? Good for: Rooming in. All-in-one sleep and diaper changing station. Portable bassinet for daytime sleeping anywhere. The bassinet is inclined and vibrates for gassy babies who hate sleeping flat on their backs (that was my singleton and my twin girl for about the first 10 weeks).
0-3 months: Our firstborn slept in this overnight, in the bassinet, for the first 3 months of his life. He also slept in the bassinet all around the house during the daytime. I even put the whole bassinet with him in it in his crib for some daytime naps, because I convinced myself that this would make his beautiful nursery familiar to him for the eventual transition to sleeping there rather than with us.
3-6 months: Our big boy outgrew the bassinet, so we stored away the bassinet and diaper changing accessories, but continued to use the Pack ‘n Play with the mattress and a sheet for overnight sleeping. He started napping in his crib and occasionally slept there overnight too. We transitioned him out of our room completely around 6 months, with no problems.
Additional perks/accessories: Useful storage accessory. It also has an accessory that plays music, makes nature sounds, and can shine a light when you don’t want to wake your spouse up during those overnight feedings or diaper changes. People, I STILL use this music box for my toddler, when he tries to act like he doesn’t need a nap. Cue Clair de Lune and magic happens (at least 95% of the time).
AMAZINGLY, I actually put the daytime sleeper from the Cuddle Cove into the left side bassinet opening of the Twin Pack ‘n Play, when we first brought the twins home, because little lady would otherwise have slept in someone’s arms at all times, but this portable bassinet is just what she needed to sleep slightly reclined and super cozy on her own!
Bottomline: Again folks, baby sleep is super important, nay PRICELESS, because it also means mommy sleep and daddy sleep, wait.. I think I just realized that good baby sleep actually means a good marriage! This particular Pack ‘n Play is pricier than others, but has the bells and whistles to show for it.
Top Pick for Daytime Napping: Aside from the Cuddle Cove sleeper, the Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play
We just had a basic one, but now I see that there is one that rocks automatically with just a button. Yeah, that would have been cool. We only used this for the first three months, because then the babies started rolling over, but for life with newborn twins, this was big. HUGE!
So, I seriously think God gives out some super powers along with the blessing of having multiples. You know that trick where you can rub your belly while patting your head… this is light years beyond that. When I was alone with the twins in the first few months, I could rock one in the Rock ‘n Play by tapping my foot, while standing and rocking the other one in my arms and singing a lullaby. It might have looked nuts, but it worked!
Bottomline: I skipped this with my singleton, because I generally hate getting baby gear that will only be good for a few months, but this was essential with twins, and of course, once I had it, I wished I’d had it with my firstborn too.
I think that’s about enough from me about sleeping and babies. There is a lot more to think about, like swaddling, room temperature, pacifiers, white noise, eventually a transfer object or “lovey”, how close and in which to direction to place cribs, but baby steps here.
Check back in for more later! Happy sleeping everyone! We can hope.