For many new parents, the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper is essential for soothing babies into snooze mode. But it’s not safe for sleeping, as evidenced by the stringent warnings issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the past week. These new developments have left many parents in a panic. Below, with the help of pediatricians and sleep experts, we’ve picked out products—swaddles, white noise machines, swings, bassinets and the like—that can safely help send your baby off to dreamland.
This swing comes highly recommended by Wirecutter, the consumer review site of The New York Times. Harvey Karp, M.D., pediatrician and author of the bestselling book The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer, tells Working Mother, “if you’re going to use a swing, check with your doctor, and make sure it’s fully recumbent,” a.k.a. fully recline-able, as this swing can be be. Pamela Schoemer, M.D., pediatrician at Children’s Community Pediatrics in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, warns, “You have to make sure you’re watching the baby. And, once the baby is rolling over, the swing is no longer appropriate” ($220, amazon.com).
Developed by Dr. Karp, this electronic bassinet imitates baby’s experience in the womb. It rocks them, has a built-in white noise machine and responds automatically when baby cries. It comes with a swaddle, which is secured in place to keep baby on his back. “It’s not a bed, it’s a caregiver,” Dr. Karp tells us. While the SNOO’s price tag has put off parents in the past, it’s now available to rent by month ($1,295 to purchase or $98/month to rent, happiestbaby.com).
This cool mist humidifier comes highly rated by Consumer Reports for its convenience, quiet efficiency and "terrific performance." Dr. Schoemer says, “Cool air can sometimes help babies sleep. So, you can use a cool air vaporizer such as these, an overheard fan to circulate air, or—while it might sound old-fashioned—an open window often does the trick" ($30, cvs.com).
Graco Pack 'n Play Newborn2Toddler Playard
This traveling crib and playard might be worth setting up in your living room as a place for your newborn to sleep during the day, suggests Dr. Schoemer. “You want to teach a baby to sleep on something flat,” she says. “A swing might get them sleepy, but as soon as they are actually sleeping, they should be moved to a flat surface." This version offers seven ways for little ones to sleep and play, and even includes a toddler cot for when baby gets older (or for a big sibling!), but you can get a more basic model for as little as $60 ($270, target.com).
Karma M. Cinnante, D.O., pediatrician at CareMount Medical of New York State, loved having a compact white noise machine that she could use both at home and out-and-about with her infant sons. She recommends this model, which plays white noise, heartbeat, ocean and lullaby sounds ($10, amazon.com).
Swaddling the old-fashioned way, with a cloth, is too much of a pain for most sleep-deprived parents. This swaddle is a wearable blanket with wings that wrap around baby, closing with Velcro. “Swaddling gives babies a cozy feeling, similar to the womb, but it has to be done safely,” Dr. Karp says. This swaddle is the No. 1 brand used by hospitals, so you know it’s safe for your baby ($22, amazon.com).
This white noise machine also comes highly recommended by Wirecutter, and Dr. Cinnante says one of her pediatrician colleagues has used it with her children. Dr. Schoemer says soft, soothing sounds are key to creating a good sleep environment for your baby. She recommends forgoing star projection machines, which can be stimulating to a baby—“and you don’t want to have to get up at 2 a.m. to turn it back on”—in favor of relaxing white noise ($37, amazon.com).