This review is well overdue, because the Sleepyhead is, I think, my most-used piece of baby equipment so far. I have used it multiple times a day, almost every day since we came home from the hospital. And never has something been recommended to me so many times, by so many different people. And so here we are, better late than never – the wondrousness that is the Sleepyhead.
The Sleepyhead Deluxe is a fabric-covered “pod” marketed as a “deluxe portable baby bed”. It has a flattish bottom section with a firm bumper around the edge that cocoons the baby. The whole thing is completely breathable, the filling has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and the cover is 100% cotton and machine-washable.
Those are the practicals, but what does the Sleepyhead actually do? Well. If you listen to the thousands of rave reviewing parents online then it’s the one-stop-sleep-shop for newborn babies, who seem to feel more snug inside the Sleepyhead rather than being all little and lost in the expanse of their crib or basket. It’s a convenient sleep solution because it’s totally portable, and you can put the baby down in it safely whether it’s on the living room floor as you catch up on some work or next to you on the (firm) bed as you catch up on some sleep! So many people have said that their babies will sleep when they’re in their arms, but they are tetchy and restless in the crib – the Sleepyhead seems to have solved that problem for quite a few people I know, and the online reviews (check out the ones on Amazon and John Lewis) say much the same thing.
I have to admit that before I had Angelica I honestly couldn’t see what all the fuss was about when it came to the Sleepyhead – I had my Snuzpod bedside crib and couldn’t imagine that I would need anything else. But after a few sleepless nights (two in the hospital and one back home) I decided that I’d put the Sleepyhead into the bedside crib, just to make everything a bit more snug. Now it could have been that the baby would have started to be more settled anyway, but the difference in sleep was almost instant. Four or five hour stretches and no problems with placing her down – it felt much more natural popping her into a little pod-like thing than straight into the cot and I loved that the bumper around her made a comfy rest for my arm so that I could hold her hand and stroke her if she stirred.
I’ve taken the Sleepyhead with me to hotels and used it inside the large cots that they give you – kind of a “bed away from home” – and I also used it for a month at my Mum’s, again putting it inside a large cot, so that I didn’t have to try and transport my Snuzpod in the already jam-packed car. I’ve used the Sleepyhead as a playtime area in the daytime, I’ve used it as a makeshift changing station when I’ve been “on the go” and I’ve plonked it beside me in the bed (pillows and duvet well away) when I’ve been exhausted and have just needed to be able to nap safely with Angelica nearby. (Below you can see the Sleepyhead placed inside the Snuzpod bedside crib with its side down.)
I do get very frustrated with many of the baby things on the market that we are enticed into buying, especially when they appear to be supplementary to the traditional equipment (in this case a simple cot/crib and mattress!); but I can’t ignore the fact that I have used the Sleepyhead non-stop since June. There have been a few days that we have gone without, and Angelica has been absolutely fine – random nights sleeping in the Uppababy Vista (which has been approved for overnight sleeping) and others in larger cots – but we always seem to return to the Sleepyhead and its cocooning charms. Even if she didn’t sleep in it all the time, and we had just used it for travel and for daytime play and naps, it would still have been our most-used baby thing so far.
So, the pros (and I’m gathering comments from other people I know who have used it, too, here):
- Seems to help tiny babies settle more readily, perhaps because they feel more secure. I’ve been told that in hospitals they sometimes used rolled-up towels inside the cots of premature babies to reduce the size of the space and make it more snug, and I suppose that this is the same kind of idea.
- Is brilliantly portable, so amazing if you travel about a lot. Or even at weekends. No need to worry about the facilities wherever you’re going, because you can literally plonk the Sleepyhead anywhere. (That’s safe, and flat, obviously. Don’t go doing any Extreme Sleepyhead positioning!)
- It works well inside the bedside cribs if you like to keep the side down when you’re both asleep – it feels a bit like you have a bit of an anti-roll safety barrier. (FYI, the Sleepyhead just about fits the Snuzpod. I can imagine it would therefore very easily fit inside the larger Chicco bedside crib, which is also popular.)
And cons? I’ve had to think very, very hard about the cons, because I am a total Sleepyhead convert. To me, they’re not truly cons, but it will depend on your point of view…
- Firstly, you could say that it’s quite pricey for what it actually breaks down into, which is a long piece of wadding, a flat piece of wadding and a cotton cover. The spare covers are also pricey and you really need at least one spare. But you’re paying for the idea and the convenience, I suppose, of having it all there to be used straight away. I’ve seen comments from people (who haven’t bought one) saying they could easily “knock up” a version of the Sleepyhead. To that, I say: who the hell has the time? I don’t even own a sewing machine! Yes, if you look at it as a series of basic components, it’s expensive. But if you see it as a largish piece of equipment that you’ll use multiple times a day, then really it’s not at all. You could faff around with rolled up towels and the like, but the beauty of the Sleepyhead is that it’s all-in-one, you just lift it up and go. And, as many have said online, what price can you put on sleep? If you’ve tried everything and are at the end of your (knackered) tether then pretty much anything that works is money well spent.
- Secondly – and this is my only other con, apart from the fiddliness of changing the cover – I’m not convinced that the Sleepyhead would last the full eight months. (It’s marketed as being suitable from 0-8 months.) Angelica is four months this week and I’m just about starting to question whether she needs to be given a bit more freedom of movement! She’s as long as the inside part, and although I can undo the clasp at the bottom of the pod to give more room, I keep feeling as though it might be time to just pop her onto the cot mattress! But we’ve had four solid months of the Sleepyhead and I’m pretty happy with that! The lovely people at Sleepyhead sent me some photos of much bigger babies than Angelica enjoying the smaller Sleepyhead (there’s a larger “Grand” version, which I will absolutely be getting, but it doesn’t fit inside the Snuzpod so I’m holding off for the moment!) but I keep feeling paranoid about her shoulders being squished. I must remember to email and ask about that. Here’s a pic of a three-week-old Angelica in the Sleepyhead inside a big cot at my parents’ – she was 10lbs 6oz and about 59/60cm, if I remember rightly, so that gives you an idea of sizing, but the best thing to do is check the official measurements and then measure your baby!
Has anyone else used the Sleepyhead? What did you think? At what baby age did you stop using it? And who has gone on to use the larger one? Comments below, please!
*UPDATE: we tried a night sans Sleepyhead after I drafted this post. After an hour I came into the bedroom and the baby had rolled backwards into a ball in the corner of the cot and was crying! I was so paranoid about her new rolling/curling-up abilities that I thought I’d never get to sleep for worrying so back into the Sleepyhead she went! I’ll email my questions about sizing and shoulder-squishing to the brand tomorrow and get back to you with some answers.