Best Preemie Products

Premature babies need pretty much the same things that full-term babies need. They just tend to be smaller, and require a little more padding sometimes. And they need to be warmer. Preemies are born with very little subcutaneous fat. Add to this the fact that they often have difficulty keeping their temperature up! I don’t list any hats here among these “Best Preemie Products”, but don’t forget them! Babies in general lose a lot of heat from their heads, and this goes double for premature babies!

Best Preemie Products

Swaddling Blankets

Such a simple product, so much good! I’m still astonished by how quickly even the fussiest, most sensitive baby calms almost instantly when she’s swaddled. Swaddling (at least partially) reproduces conditions inside the uterus, where the baby feels most secure and warm. It’s not a difficult skill to learn. Done right, you can help your baby settle down to sleep in practically no time.

The key is to achieve a balance between snugness and constriction. Most new parents, fearing that the baby is too fragile, err on the side of keeping the swaddling too loose. This seldom works. With a little practice and good feedback from baby, you’ll gain confidence and swaddle like a pro in a few days.

There are dozens of videos on YouTube that teach good swaddling methods I like this one from Raeanne Brazee. Practice makes perfect.

Best Preemie Products: Sleep Sacks!

For sleep wear, there are two important things to keep in mind. The first is that preemie sizes are always too big… at first.

It’s just a fact of life and product sales that parents of preemies must deal with. Happily, the very little one grows into her clothes remarkably quickly. The second point is probably more important: Your baby doesn’t need to walk around in pajamas so why struggle to get her legs into pajama bottoms? One of the things I like most about the Carters One Pieces is the zipper. I’ll be forever astonished at the number of baby clothes with as many as 15 snaps. Speaking as a Dad, I protest: there is no way to do up all those snaps correctly! Same goes for buttons, only more so.

Best Preemie Products: Hug Me Joey Car Seat Insert

The hug me Joey is just the insert that goes in your existing car seat. It is a wedge and a bumper.Why is this important? Existing car seats must sit the baby more or less upright. But the best, safest position for a premature baby is laying on her back on a flat surface! The wedge and padding provides a compromise. It is to be used only when the baby is in the car. It’s not a good idea to leave a preemie in the seat and bring her inside, as tempting as that might be, especially if she falls asleep. For her safety, and to help prevent “flat head“, the car seat and Joey wedge should only be used when you take baby for a ride.
Another oddity about the Joey wedge I’ve observed is that parents of preemies get so used to using them that they continue to place the wedge in the car seat long after the baby is too big for it! Here’s a good index: when the baby gets to full-term, corrected gestational age, you can put the wedge away (or lend it to a friend!)

Need a SLEEP COACH?

Best Preemie Gear: Dr. Brown’s Bottles and Nipples

Premature babies have particular feeding issues that full-term babies do not. If your preemie is not able to latch onto your own nipples at first, Dr. Brown is here to the rescue!
They often have difficulty coordinating sucking and swallowing. They also have smaller mouths and stomachs (obviously!) so they often cannot handle the rate of flow that comes out of “regular” nipples.

Eating consumes a lot of energy for a little baby, as paradoxical as that sounds. The smaller the preemie, the more energy relatively they spend trying to eat! Feeding and growing is her #1 job of the preemie. Anything we can do to help her grow without taxing her system too much in the process, is a good thing. The “ultra preemie” nipple is smaller yet. The rate of flow is only 35% that of the original Dr. Brown’s preemie nipples. The “younger” preemies need to rest a lot and breathe more often. This nipple helps the baby avoid becoming exhausted during feeding.

Best Twin Sleep Gear for 2016

Parents of twins know that they don’t do twice the work of normal parents, they do four times the work!  They also know that buying two of everything, even buying in bulk, doesn’t begin to solve all their logistical problems. Anything that cuts down on time and toil is a Godsend to the parents of multiples. Here is a sample of what I consider to be the best twin sleep gear available. These make great baby shower presents too (hint, hint)

Best Twin Sleep Gear

As soon as they come home, the twins will need somewhere to sleep. As they get older, they’ll need a safe place to play. This first product combines the two.

Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Twins Bassinet

 

Graco makes great stuff. I’ve always loved their strollers. Now they come out with a terrific combination twin bassinet and play yard that has the same sturdy design as their line of strollers. Early models of the Graco play yards were nearly impossible to  set up. It was like playing Twister in a sleep-deprived state. But they’ve solved these design flaws. The result is a beautiful and functional design. It’s also easy to clean – a major bonus!

Arm’s Reach Ideal Arc Original Co-Sleeper Bedside Bassinet.


The Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper Bassinet began with a mother and father’s need for a safe sleeping environment for their baby. They, like many parents, had rediscovered the benefits of co-sleeping with their infants—increased bonding, ease of feeding and a greater sense of closeness. But they were concerned modern beds weren’t appropriate for a baby’s space. They solved this problem by placing the child at the side of the bed, within arm’s reach. Their result is a wonderful series of bassinets that provide best twin sleep, close to their parents during the important early months of development. Whether you choose to breast feed or bottle feed, the Co-Sleeper Bassinet promotes bonding and enables parents better sleep and provides the best twin sleep possible.

Premium 3 in 1 Travel Bassinet – Diaper Bag & Portable Changing station, Easily Convertible


Have you ever had the experience of seeing a product so cool, so innovative, so overall fantastic that you say “Gee, I wish I had thought of that!!!” This 3-in-1 had that effect on me. Easily convertible from bag into travel bassinet for babies and into a portable changing station. You will love using it on a family beach trip, going to the park, visiting Grandma’s and anywhere.

Need a SLEEP COACH?

Here’s what one happy customer had to say:

This is a really cool product. Some of these baby things seem too good to be true but this one really is what it promises. We have a 2 month old baby and my hands are constantly full with her and all of her stuff. It’s great to have a clean safe place to lay her down anywhere I go and I don’t need any extra hands to carry it. It’s even easier to fold into a diaper bag than I could have imagined; It literally folds in a seconds. And it’s so easy to clean. This would be great for traveling, especially camping. I wish I had this when my older child was a baby as we had to haul a giant pack and play around with us when we could have just brought this smart nursery bag!
It’s perfect for when visiting friends and family members who don’t have baby gear. My little one can and will take a nap anywhere at any time and this best twin sleep napper gives her a secure place to do it.

Baby Jogger City Select with 2nd Seat

If ever there were a “niche” product idea, this was it: a twin jogging stroller. Whether you’re looking for a travel system, a pram, a double stroller, a triple, or just a single, the City Select could be the only stroller you’ll ever need. The most versatile stroller on the market today, the City Select was designed to keep your family rolling as it grows from one child to two. I suspect that you may not be able to achieve actual jogging speed with this thing, but you will certainly get a workout. The wheels are best for paved terrain, and I would be careful going up and down kerbs. The remainder of the design, however, is sturdy and light enough for an average mortal to handle!

Stuff 4 Multiples Twin Carrier, Twingaroo


We’ve saved the best for last. I love all of Stuff 4 Multiples gear, but this is their signature product and they are justifiably proud of it. Its unique design distributes the weight of your babies and diaper bag contents evenly. It’s the only twin carrier on the market that offers you a complete hands-free experience.

I’m not alone in my praise of the Twingaroo. Here’s what another happy customer said:

I absolutely LOVE my Twingaroo ! The weight distribution is AMAZING and you actually feel nothing, even when carrying both babies ! I like that the front panel can be flipped into the belt pocket, so that when you only carry one child, you don’t have to deal with extra fabric coming out of nowhere ! And the backpack is SO big and useful ! I really loved that, unlike other carrier of the same type (that I tried before getting my Twingaroo), it adjust perfectly to everybody ! My men, my grandma, my aunt and me (we all are from very different body type) have all been able to adjust it perfectly!

 

Best Toddler Beds

Half the battle is over: You’ve moved the baby from a crib to her own toddler beds.

own bed
A bed of her own

Well… let’s say that one-quarter of the battle is over. Now you have to figure out a way to keep her in the toddler bed. Maybe you’re one of the lucky few whose sweet little angel sleeps all night in her brand new bed. Not likely, though. Here’s how to close the deal:

Toddler Beds

If possible, let the toddler know her “big girl/big boy” bed is coming. This may not be possible if you had to buy the bed in a hurry on the day she climbs out of the crib for the first time. But if you do get the chance, let the little one know that a terrific present is coming. If she can stand it, you might even go shopping for the bed with her. Be as positive about the event as possible. If you are genuinely enthusiastic about the toddler bed, she’ll pick up on your enthusiasm.

Some parents have had success by buying the bed and setting it up in the toddler’s room before she makes the transition. You might even have her try to take a nap in it. This is a similar technique that can be successful in toilet training: the potty is introduced long before the child actually sits on it to poop! In a similar way, the toddler bed can become an “acquaintance” before it becomes a “friend”.

What if There’s No Time to Lay the Groundwork?

own bed
See? She LOVES it!

What if one day you hear “the thud” followed by the cry of the frightened toddler who didn’t realize it was that far to the floor when she climbed over the rail? No time to introduce the bed (although there may be time to shop)? In this case, you may need to rush the process of introducing the her own bed… like down to less than a day. Your toddler might not like the idea of such a dramatic change. That’s understandable.

But changes happen in her life, often suddenly and she always adjusts. This time will be no different.

Be Consistent

One thing doesn’t have to change, and that’s your bedtime routine. For me, the “bedtime routine” begins at dinner. After that time, every single thing that happens is regular and predictable. Dinner should be at the same time. Bath at the same time. Book reading at the same time. Everything. Consistency is the key to troubleshooting any sleep issue and this one is no different.

own bed
They’re not sleeping, but they’re happy!

As long as you are staying consistent, it is best to use the same mattress she slept on in the crib, with the same sheets and bedding. Most toddler beds are designed to accommodate a standard crib-size mattress. Perhaps you had already splurged and purchased a crib that converts to a toddler bed. Even better! The point here is that the surface the toddler lays on will feel exactly the same as the crib. This is important to her keeping good sleep associations. You might even consider placing the toddler bed in the same place where the crib stood.

Set Limits

If you have a perfectly normal bedtime routine and your little one drifts off to a blissful sleep, then you’re done. But more likely than not, your toddler is going to want to get out and find you at night. Most likely this will happen sooner rather than later.

If you have not done so already, this is the time to baby-proof your house. Gates should be placed on stairs. Cords and outlets should be safely secured and out of reach. Every item of furniture that could be pulled down, including chests of drawers, should be secured.

If you haven’t gotten into the habit of setting limits with your child, this would be a terrific night to get started. The first limit ought to involve your bed. Just because the little one has her own bed, doesn’t mean she can sleep in any bed, least of all yours. Now, some parents are fine with this and I cannot judge them. However, if any or all occupants of the bed are not okay with this arrangement, then it’s not okay, period! Also ask yourself if you still want the little one in your bed in four months. Or what if there’s a new baby coming? What if the new baby has already arrived? Clearly, a limit should be set.

own bed
Now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about!

The limit goes something like this: “You’ve got your own bed. [Partner] and I have our own bed. Everybody sleeps in their own bed!” Simple and matter-of-fact. No reasoning and explanation is required. If you do not know already, you should know that your toddler does not care about reasons! All she wants to know is: What are the limits and are you (mom) going to enforce them?

Enforce Them

Here’s the toughest part. Once a limit is set, it’s got to be enforced. Among the worst things you can teach a child is that the limits you set are phony and you aren’t really serious about them. Children who grow up without enforced limits are more anxious and less happy. They may not show it, but they need limits! Kids test limits not because they are unhappy or imp-ish, but because they need to know that the limits are there and are being enforced by the “Limits Setter(s)”.

Every time she gets out of bed and comes to yours, you should bring her back to her own bed. The tough part of this act is doing it calmly and without emotion. I cannot stress this enough. Remember: no explanation or reason is going to help. It’s just wasted breath. Your toddler is never going to say to you “Gee, Mom! I never thought of it that way! Thank you for explaining it to me”.

She’s Got Her Own Bed, Now She’s Got to…

When you return her to own bed, the routine should be the same. Brief, matter-of-fact, and to the point. This is much easier said than done. Your toddler’s main job in life is to find the chinks in your armor and plunge through them. Maybe she’ll ask for water, or a bottle (don’t get me started on this one!) It will be tough, but you are tougher. Stay firm, stay calm, and stay consistent.

The Easier-Said-Than-Done List

  • Be Consistent: Keep the entire bedtime routine exactly the same as it was when she slept in a crib.
  • Set Limits: Everybody sleeps in their own bed. Children thrive on limits. Without them they are lost.
  • Enforce the Limits: No limit is any good that is not enforced. Remain calm. Take deep breaths. And enforce the limits you set. You’ll be glad you did. So will your toddler.