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Can baby gimmicks really give you a better night’s sleep?

Sleeping baby

The baby market’s booming, with a trend for products claiming to help your child (and crucially, you) get a better night’s sleep. Can these claims be proven or are you gambling with your cash in the hope of a miracle?

Back in the dark days of being a new parent I’d often push my young baby around in her pram, deliberately going over as many bumps as possible in a bid to get her to sleep.

And I remember often wondering ‘if only I could design a cot that recreated this motion, I’d be a rich lady’.

Can a cot solve sleep problems?

Of course, the baby stage passed and my daughter learned to sleep perfectly well without a four-mile hike across the bumpiest pavements in south London, and my entrepreneurial notions passed too.

Then I spotted a new product in a Which? news story and it bought it all back. A company called Saplings has created a ‘Glideaway’ cot that has a hand-operated, gliding mechanism that slides the cot from side-to-side.

Sounds nifty, and I bet lots of new parents tearing their hair out over babies that won’t ‘self soothe’ will be tempted to try it out. But, with a price tag of £340, it would need to work well to convince me – I’ll be interested to see how it fares when we test cot beds in more detail later in the summer.

Can these products live up to their claims?

This particular product aside, it has got me thinking more generally about baby gimmicks. With the rise of ‘mumpreneurs’ (women who start baby-related businesses after having kids, of which there are around 300,000 and counting), it’s unsurprising that we’re seeing more and more baby products coming on to the market.

And they have to be inventive to edge their way in to a crowded marketplace. We’ve all heard of products that help keep your baby warm and cosy – so what? But claims of getting your baby to sleep quicker or helping them sleep longer in the morning – now you’re talking. That I can part with my money for.

The Gro-Clock is another product that springs to mind here. It features a blue moon face when it’s time to sleep and a sunshine face when it’s time to get up, and you program it to the time you want your child to rise. I have a few friends who’ve gambled with 30 quid in the hope that this gadget will get their kids to stay in bed longer in the morning. The verdict? Some swear by it; some don’t.

And I guess that’s what all these ‘revolutionary’ products boil down to in the end. Some will work for some kids, and some will work for others – but producing a miracle product to solve all baby sleep problems just ain’t gonna happen. Still, I’m sure that many people will happily part with their cash in the hope that I’m wrong. Have you bought any baby gimmicks – and have they worked miracles for you?

Gimcrack says:
14 June 2011

You don’t need to spend money on gimmicks. Some babies sleep, some don’t. Make life easy on yourself by not bouncing the baby to sleep and, when it’s a bit older (or when you’re at the end of your tether – whichever comes first), sleep train the baby.

Claire says:
17 June 2011

The only things that ever got my babies/toddlers to sleep was breastfeeds, buggy or car. Gadgets are not going to make a difference you are.

Nicser says:
17 June 2011

Regarding the Gro Clock, we introduced this to keep our son in bed in the morning after switching from a cot – a few of my friends have it and said it works a treat.

He was terrified of it, who could have predicted that?!, and it took two hours to get him calm and asleep. Luckily the novelty of getting out of bed at the crack of dawn wore off! Having said that the threat of using the clock works well if he does decide to not go to bed or get up early – it’s mean I know!