To guard against SIDS, it is recommended not to have anything in the crib with your baby for the first year. But, what about crib aquariums in the crib? Are crib aquariums a good idea or bad idea when it comes to your baby’s sleep? Safety-wise, this is a topic for your pediatrician. This article will explore how a crib aquarium can help or hinder sleep.
Some books will warn against any types of crib toys indicating that if your baby can play, she won’t sleep. Why, that would work against the very goal we are trying to achieve! Or, would it?
For adults, they say that if you have insomnia or difficulty sleeping, you should make sure to have your bed ONLY be a place for sleep. No watching TV. No reading books. I’m not even sure you’re supposed to make love to your spouse! I’m not an adult sleep expert by any means. 🙂 I only know that some adult sleep problems have been tied back to childhood. Yet another reason to help establish healthy sleep habits in your baby!
For most of us, though, do we have trouble sleeping because we might read a book/magazine or watch a rerun of Friends, Seinfeld, or Family Guy before we turn in and go off to snoozeland? Usually not. In fact, it’s fairly hard for me to just put on my pajamas, brush my teeth, hop into bed, turn out the light, and fall asleep. I usually need that “unwind” time before I drift off to sleep and, now that it’s Winter, I need time to warm up my sheets!
So, what about your baby? What does your baby need before going to sleep?
Well, your baby’s temperament and personality will be a factor. Your solid bedtime routine will be his “unwind” time, so perhaps he doesn’t need his personal unwind time. Once you finish feeding him or cuddling, he should be able to drift off to sleep, right?
First, if your baby is spirited, he may need a longer than average bedtime routine. It has been very difficult for us to get our eldest son’s bedtime routine under an hour for most of his life as a baby. The more I tried, the longer it would take and the more frustrated
I’d we’d get. He’s slow-to-adapt and needs a long wind-down.
Once I accepted it and didn’t try to fit him into the mold of a bedtime routine needing to be less than 30 minutes, we had a much more fulfilling experience. But, does that mean he’d fall asleep right when it was over. Ha! Nice try. Now that he’s older and can talk…A LOT…the longer I stay, the longer it takes him to fall asleep. I guess I am too interesting. 😀 At some point, I have to leave for him to fall asleep, except for rare days when he falls asleep during our “cuddling” stage of our routine.
Second, if your baby is introverted or reflective, she may cherish her “alone time” in her crib or bed before falling asleep. She may want to think about her day (if she’s older) or unwind on her own. I have one client whose daughter takes at least 45 minutes to fall asleep after she leaves the room. She can hear her daughter talking to herself about her day! My younger son, since he was a baby and even now that he’s almost 4, has routinely taken at least 20 minutes to unwind in bed after we’ve left the room.
But, can crib aquariums be bad for your baby’s sleep?
As with many things, what works well for one baby or child will not necessarily work for yours. The bad thing about crib aquariums is that they can be too stimulating. The crib aquarium we had had 3 settings and 2 volume settings, I believe. On the loudest and brightest setting, this was much too engaging to promote sleep. That setting is undoubtedly more geared towards play time in the crib while you’re putting away laundry, for example. This is a good idea for crib transitions to familiarize babies with a new place OUTSIDE of actual sleep.
If your baby is overly perceptive, using any setting with a light is likely going to keep her awake, rather than lull her to sleep. Music, as opposed to white noise, tends to sometimes keep you awake rather than lull you to sleep, too. Music can activate the brain, which goes against what we want: peaceful and restorative sleep.
How crib aquariums can be good for your baby’s sleep
Crib aquariums can be good, too, though. If you have done your bedtime routine, your baby is content in his crib, but just not quite ready to sleep, playing one or two rounds of the lullaby music may be enough to help him drift off to sleep without your help. With my eldest (who is perceptive), we would keep the lights off and just play the music one or two times (this was after we taught him HOW to sleep, mind you). As he got older, in the middle of the night I’d sometimes hear the music go on to help himself back to sleep. It was great! Of course, as they get even older, they can move the settings around, which isn’t always good. 😀
All in all, crib aquariums are not necessarily going to be the silver bullet to solving your sleep problems. A crib aquarium can simply be one more tool in your toolbox. And, if it does keep your baby awake, simply take it out. It’s that simple. If you would like to get an idea of how a crib aquarium works, you can watch a video demonstration HERE.