6 Must-Have Products for Better Baby and Toddler Napping

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Baby naps are, by far, one of the most talked about and searched topics here at The Baby Sleep Site®. We all want our babies and toddlers to take longer, more restorative naps, don’t we? After all, “sleep begets sleep” and a baby who naps well is more likely to sleep well at night, too.

So what can we do to encourage our babies and toddlers to get the naptime sleep they need?

There are a few tools you need to encourage better napping in your baby or toddler. First and foremost, you need to make sure you don’t make the 7 Common Napping Mistakes, and an age-appropriate baby nap schedule is a must. Next, you need to consider nap sleep training (and we don’t mean cry it out, we mean helping your baby learn to fall asleep and stay asleep at nap time!).

But can you do more?

Yes! Once you’ve mastered the basics of how to establish a good naptime routine, if your baby is still struggling to take quality naps, you may want to consider setting him up for success by adding a few “napping tools” to your toolbox.

Here are a few of our top picks for must-have napping products:

  1. White Noise Machine

    Most babies and toddlers can’t sleep with lots of noise; they need a mostly-quiet environment to truly nap well. But let’s be honest — for most of us, complete and total silence during naptime is impossible! The dog barks, the phone rings, your other children decide to play dinosaurs and stomp all over the house…you know how it is ;)

    If this sounds familiar, then a white noise machine is just the thing you need. White noise machines mask the other noises in your home, making it easier for your baby or toddler to nap. Here are a few we love:

    Dohm-DS Sound Conditioner — we recommended this one to our clients, and it’s the one Nicole actually uses at home!

    DEX Sound Sleeper — this is a nice, less-expensive option. It’s a good one to consider if you have to buy several noise machines.

    Cloud-B-Gentle Giraffe (or Sheep) — This one doubles as a lovey (see below) and a white noise machine. And did we mention it’s utterly adorable? Because it is! :)

  2. Room-darkening Blinds/Curtains

    Just as most babies and toddlers won’t nap well in a noisy room, many won’t nap well in a brighly-lit room, either. This is why room-darkening curtains come in handy; they offer a way to darken your baby’s or toddler’s room in broad daylight. (Note: Once your baby is no longer a newborn, you no longer need to worry about day/night confusion.)

    Here are a few room-darkening products we like:

    The Redmon Nighttime Nursery Blackout Liners are nice — they block out light and noise. And since they’re liners, then can be sewn to the backs of the curtains you already have, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice your decor!

    Redi-Shade Black-Out Pleated Shades — these shades offer a great way to darken baby’s room; since they have no cords, they’re perfectly safe to use around your little one.

  3. Lovey

    A lovey is any item that helps your baby feel cozy and secure. Loveys can go a long way towards encouraging better naptime and nighttime sleep.

    Your baby or toddler may already have a lovey; if not, consider checking out Ambajam’s line of soft, snuggly Cuddle-Up blankets. They come in large sizes (for older babies and toddlers) and mini sizes (for younger babies). We will be partnering with Ambajam soon for a giveaway, so stay tuned!

    We also love the Angel Dear Blankie — how adorable is this monkey version?! The Angel Dear Blankie comes in 35 animal varieties, so you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for your baby or toddler.

    Finally, we can’t fail to mention a lovely classic: the Taggies Blanket. Each of Nicole’s sons had one of these as his lovey. The blanket comes in three patterns, and each version is full of the soft, textured tags that we know our babies love.

  4. Crib Mobile

    Many parents find that crib mobiles offer a nice way for babies to wind down at naptime. It can even become part of your baby’s naptime routine. Of course, not all mobiles are good for sleep. Some are meant to stimulate and others are meant to soothe. Make sure you get the right type of baby mobile.

    We like the Fisher Price 2-in-1 Projection Mobile because it grows with your child. Use it as a mobile for young babies; then, when your baby’s bigger, convert it to a music box that projects images onto the ceiling.

  5. Snoozeshade

    It probably goes without saying that your baby will nap best at home (or at daycare), in a dark, quiet room. But sometimes, naptime has to happen on the go — that’s life! And that’s okay.

    To make on-the-go naps easier, consider investing in a Snoozeshade product. Snoozeshade offers a full line of carseat covers and stroller covers that block out light. These provide a great way for you to create a dark, cozy environment for your baby at naptime, even when you aren’t at home.

  6. Miracle Blanket

    Now, this last product doesn’t exactly apply to toddlers, so if you’re a parent of a toddler, you can skip this one. ;) But if you have a newborn at home who just won’t nap, consider swaddling your baby for naps (and at night!) Swaddling has been shown to improve sleep for newborns.

    To make swaddling even easier, you might want to think about investing in a Miracle Blanket. No more complicated folding; the Miracle Blanket makes swaddling your newborn a cinch! And it’s recommended by medical professionals, so you can rest assured that it’s a safe blanket to use with your newborn.


What are your favorite, must-have napping products? Share them below!

To help your baby get on a solid daytime routine, make sure to check out our free guide, 7 Common Napping Mistakes and/or check out Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-to” of good baby sleep. With over 40 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (for babies) or The 5 Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (for toddlers). Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night. Have a newborn at home? Download our free guide on newborn sleep, 15 Baby Sleep Facts New Parents Need To Know, or purchase a copy of our comprehensive e-Book on newborn sleep, Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep. Or, join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations. Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a sleep plan; sometimes you’re just close to the situation or too tired to!

Disclosure: The Baby Sleep Site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other product affiliate programs. If you click on a product link above and make a purchase, The Baby Sleep Site may (but not always) receive a small commission from the company selling the product. This commission will not affect your purchase price. We only recommend products that we believe are quality products and good for our readers. Please do know this is just our opinion and you may have different opinions.

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Comments

  1. kristen says

    I found the Woombie to be fantastic for swaddling our infant! This was the best swaddle I have ever purchased and have bought a few for friends who also only use them now too! The best thing is they can’t get their hands out and you can unzip the bottom to make sure they don’t get too warm and to check a diaper without it completely disrupting the nap. I have heard the miracle blanket is great too but didn’t get one since the woombie was so great.

  2. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Kristen — Awesome! Thanks so much for recommending this, Kristen. We’re always on the lookout for excellent products that we can recommend to our clients.

  3. Tracey says

    My nap essential is a hammock. I started putting her down to nap in a hammock at around 2 months. She’s 16 months now and still naps in her hammock daily. It has been a great way to soothe her to sleep, and when she stirs a little, I can swing her a bit and keep her asleep a little bit longer.

  4. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Tracey — I have to admit, that’s a new one to me! Is it an ordinary, adult-sized hammock? Or did you buy a specialty hammock, made for young children? This sounds interesting!

    Funny; I was at a picnic a few days ago, and a friend was lying in a hammock that the hosts had strung up between two trees. She was remarking that she didn’t think she could ever actually sleep in one — she thought it was uncomfortable! So maybe a hammock is an “acquired taste” ;)

  5. Tracey says

    I live in Nicaragua, and this is the way many babies nap here. It is an adult-sized hammock and I use sticks to hold it open so that it doesn’t close in around her. If you send me an email address, I can send you a picture to give you a better idea of what I’m talking about.

  6. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Tracey — Interesting! Thanks for clarifying. That makes sense about rigging something up so that she didn’t get trapped inside; that’d be my concern with a hammock. Thanks for sharing this unique tip, Tracey!

  7. Mel says

    I second the woombie. It’s amazing. I had one of these and found it much better than the very constrictive Velcro-tabbed swaddle I tried. At around three months I unzipped the top slightly so my son could get his hands out and chew his fingers but not move his arms around too much.
    For white noise I’ve downloaded an ‘ocean waves’ sound mp3 and just play it on repeat through an mp3 speaker. It sends me off in minutes and cost me practically nothing!

    Finally I had a hammock for my first (the one who led me to this site) and always wondered if it made him a worse sleeper as it effectively rocked him to sleep and caused an association we struggled to get rid of. I didn’t use it for my second and he sleeps really well. If you search for Amby hammock you’ll find them. I believe they’ve been a bit controversial over there lately, but here in the UK they’re quite well liked.

  8. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Mel — sounds like we should think about arranging a Woombie giveaway on the site, huh? Something for me to look into. :)

    Good call on the MP3 white noise! That’s definitely a cheaper way to utilize white noise for your baby (provided you have the appropriate players/speakers.)

    Just checked out babyhammocks.com (Amby’s website) — very interesting! I honestly didn’t know a product like this existed. There does seem to be some controversy around it, though, so I’m not sure it’s something we could recommend on the site. Still, looks intriguing!

  9. Melanie says

    We have a SeaHorse (sell them at target) it’s like the new “glow-worm.” It’s tummy glows when you turn it on and plays soft hymns with water sounds. We used it for sleep training at first; but now it’s her favorite nap time lovey!

  10. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Melanie — sounds very cool! No wonder she likes it. Water sounds knock me right out. ;)

  11. Claire says

    My twin boys (now 2 years 2 months), have had blackout blinds for over a year now. In their room at home, I used self adhesive velcro on the window frame and on black felt so the blinds are easily removable (not looking forward to removing the velcro from the window when we move though!). For when we travel, we have two ‘Gro Anywhere Blackout Blinds’. They are completely opaque and have suction cups to fix them to a window. They are a lifesaver, napping is generally successful, and no 4am waking in the middle of summer! I would use them at home too, but the suction cups make it a bit too much effort to keep fixing them up and removing them.

  12. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Claire — I didn’t know they made suction-cup blackout shades; very cool! And would be fantastic for travel, I imagine. Agreed on the 4 a.m. waking; summer is great, but I don’t love the fact that dawn soooooo very early! ;)

  13. Erica says

    A question about the loveys – Is it safe to have them in the crib? I’m a first time mom & there’s a lot of conflicting information out there. He loves his blanky, but I haven’t been letting him take it to bed with him. Thanks!

  14. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Erica — Here’s our “official” stance on loveys:

    “The AAP recommends nothing in the crib until a year old, so be sure to check with your pediatrician about when it is okay for you to put one in with your baby. Some families choose to do it sooner, depending on the mobility of their baby, but we cannot tell you what might be right for your baby.”

    It’s a good idea for your child to have an attachment object, though, so there’s no problem with introducing one early on, even if he’s too early to have it in bed with him.

  15. Rhianna says

    LOVE the taggies blankets, both of my kids have them. My oldest (19 months) sucks on the tags, my newborn clutches it inside her Swaddleme blanket. I have a question about the carseat covers if anyone can recommend one. I bought one with my son when he was 4 months (a little over a yr ago), don’t remember the brand name, but I didn’t like it because it seemed to trap heat inside the carseat as well. I used it a handful of times (including in my air conditioned car) and when I would take my son out he was sweaty and hot feeling so I quit using it and just threw a blanket over the carseat when I was really desperate to have him nap.

  16. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Rhianna — oh, good point about the carseat covers! I’m sure that could definitely be an issue with some of them. Any other moms out there had this experience? Have any of you used carseat covers that did a good job of not trapping heat like this?