There are few times that are more exciting in your life as a parent than when you're waiting for your baby to arrive - even before you've met your little one, decorating the nursery, setting out little outfits and building baby furniture can really make the whole thing feel real!
One of the most important things to consider when you're prepping for your baby to come is sleepwear - after all, a newborn baby needs to sleep for at least 14 hours of the day! In your research, you've likely read about the benefits of swaddling your little one, and if you want to avoid some baby FOMO in a few months' time, we can't recommend our new Zen Neo swaddle pod highly enough. Read on to find out about the nesting phase, the importance of sleep for newborns, how you can help your baby have quality sleep, and why the Zen Neo will be your new nesting essential!
In this article:
What's happening - the importance of sleep for your baby
Though your baby will practice skills like rolling, crawling, talking and walking over their first couple of years of life while they're awake, their healthy development is very reliant on sleep, and newborns in particular need plenty of it. In fact, babies in the newborn stage actually need to spend more time asleep than they do awake!
Sleep is vital not just for physical elements of health such as helping your baby grow and maintain a healthy weight, but also for mental development and learning through the memory consolidation that happens when your baby sleeps. Sleep is also important in helping your little one's immune system develop, making them less vulnerable to infection.
From the experts: sleep and baby brain development
'The developing brain may be particularly vulnerable to sleep loss. In altricial species such as humans, in which the young are born with visual and other systems not fully developed, sleep plays a unique and crucial role in learning and development. For example, there is evidence that sleep enhances plasticity in the developing visual cortex.
Consequently, the young of such species have a far greater sleep need than do the adults. Moreover, the brain of an adult human can make up for lost sleep to a certain extent via known neural mechanisms. However, these neural mechanisms only emerge after the early years of life and are not functional in babies.9 Thus, infants cannot compensate for a loss of the sleep they need for optimal neurodevelopment.'
- Polly Moore, PhD, Consultant360
So, how do you help your baby get the sleep they need? That's where swaddling comes in - and more specifically, the Zen Neo!
Zen Neo: Next-gen features that will aid your baby's sleep
Like other swaddles, the Zen Neo keeps your baby's arms snug against their chest, making them feel safe and secure as they go to sleep and preventing the startle reflex from causing wake-ups during nighttime sleep. However, on top of these centuries-old swaddling benefits, our Zen Neo has a few cutting-edge features up its sleeve that we're sure you'll love!
Gently weighted Cuddle Pad™
Like all of our Zen Sleepwear, the Zen Neo features our gently weighted Cuddle Pad technology. This tiny amount of weight distributed across your baby's chest is enough to mimic your calming touch, helping your baby learn to self soothe during nighttime wake-ups caused by the startle reflex and fall asleep even when you aren't in the room with them.
Natural pod shape
Unlike a traditional swaddle blanket or wearable blanket, the Zen Neo isn't just a sleeping bag or a piece of fabric - instead, it's shaped like a pod designed to imitate the shape of the womb that your newborn is already familiar with. In a big new world, comforts like this can go a long way for your little one when it comes to preventing crying and fussiness caused by overstimulation.
With a traditional swaddle blanket, your baby is tightly wrapped up, meaning that if you want to unwrap them for reasons like changing their diaper or taking off a layer in warmer weather, you're likely going to wake them up! The Zen Neo features a 2-way zipper that allows you to just zip down the lower half, meaning that nighttime changes are quick and easy and that your baby is more likely to stay drowsy and go back to sleep.
Some parents have trouble with getting the right fit on a traditional swaddle blanket. While you're worried about making it too tight on your baby's chest, having it be too loose means that it won't be nearly as effective, and may even pose a health risk if your baby wakes and breaks out or if the swaddle rides up. This isn't an issue with the Zen Neo - made from soft and stretchy fabric, this snug swaddle pod achieves the perfect fit every time without you needing to learn any complicated folding techniques!
Once you've zipped up your little one in the Zen Neo, all you need to do is wrap around the Cuddle Pad and secure it to the back in one simple motion, with no extra folding or fastening necessary. This fastener is out of your baby's face, easy to use, and doesn't get in the way of our adorable Zen Neo designs!
The long term benefits of using Zen Neo
Swaddling your baby with the Zen Neo swaddle pod is a great way of getting a fussy baby in the newborn stage to calm down and get some sleep (and for getting yourself some much-needed sleep in the process). But what can it do for your little one in the long term?
Aids newborn development
As we went over earlier, sleep is as important as feeds, changes and cuddles when it comes to helping your newborn grow and develop. From making them physically healthier to furthering their mental development, sleep is vital to your baby's health - and with the Zen Neo, you can ensure that they get enough of it. Here's what Zen Mom Lexi has to say:
'This product is AMAZING! It's so easy to use, even daddy was getting her dressed for bed. The fit was perfect! It’s snug to keep her feeling comforted. The weighted overlay is the perfect touch to resemble the feeling of my hand on her, which is what she has previously required to fall asleep. By night 3 she was sleeping 11 hours where before our longest stretch was 6 hours!! We are Nested Bean fans and will forever use their products!'
Puts safety first
When done correctly, swaddling is perfectly safe for your baby, and may even help lower the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by keeping your baby on their back, which is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
However, getting the wrong fit on a swaddle can create problems - loose blankets should never be placed in the crib with a newborn, for instance, and wiggling out of a swaddle blanket can lead to a similar suffocation risk if it gets on your baby's face. That's where Zen Neo comes in - because you only need to zip your baby in and wrap the Cuddle Pad around them, it's much easier to get the right fit than with traditional swaddle blankets.
When you're in those early, sleep deprived stages of parenthood, the last thing you want to be doing is making things more complicated than they need to be. Whether that means not making 30 step recipes or avoiding clothes that are dry clean only, we get that simplicity is key when it comes to having a baby!
The Zen Neo is like a simplified, streamlined version of traditional swaddle blankets, with all of the benefits and none of the fuss, meaning you have more time for what really matters: spending quality time with your baby, and getting the rest that you also need.
Swaddling safety tips
When you swaddle your baby, there are a few safety precautions to bear in mind (these tips and more can be found in the American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep guidelines). Firstly, always make sure that you place your baby on their back to sleep, as front sleeping carries a higher risk of SIDS. Secondly, ensure that your baby's legs and hips have plenty of room to move around - having restricted legs can lead to health problems like hip dysplasia.
Finally, you'll need to stop swaddling your baby when they start being able to roll independently, as this may lead to them rolling on their front in the night and being unable to get out of any unsafe positions due to having their arm movement restricted.
Nest with Neo
As experts in swaddling and helping your little one sleep, we're confident that the Zen Neo is our most exciting sleepwear yet. Combining the best of traditional swaddles with new technologies, this swaddle pod is sure to help both you and your baby get the sleep that you deserve!