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Sleep Props 101: Training Baby For Ideal Sleep

Sleep Props 101: Training Baby For Ideal Sleep

This is a Guest Post by Pediatric Sleep Consultant Adele Thompson


Sleep Props. Before children arrive, few parents have ever even heard of a sleep prop. But once your baby arrives, it will quickly become one of your most discussed topics with other parents.

In my sleep coaching consulting business, one of the first things I do is give clients the lowdown on sleep props: what they are and why we generally want to avoid them. An early introduction to this may save you having to seek out sleep coaching later on. Hey, who wouldn’t want to skip that step?


A sleep prop is simply anything external that a child needs to fall asleep at night. Some examples include pacifiers, rocking to sleep, feeding to sleep, cars, strollers, and bouncing. When my son was an infant, we had a very specific set of steps and movements that we felt he needed to fall asleep. I called it my “specialized mommy dance” and it went something like: 5 steps forward, 5 steps back, a little bounce and rock to the left”…you get the idea! Needless to say, it was a lot of work and did not help lengthen out or stabilize his sleep at all.



Essentially, all of us humans, big and small, have a series of steps we go through to fall asleep at night, and stay asleep throughout the night. Maybe you need the window open. Maybe your pillow needs to be in just the right position. The way our sleep works is quite amazing- we are not simply asleep for 7-9 hours straight. Our bodies cycle through different phases of sleep: drowsiness, light sleep, deep sleep and then dream sleep (R.E.M.). We then briefly wake up and start the whole process again. 

For adults, this process is typically between 70-120 minutes. (If you’re really interested in learning more about adult sleep cycles- click here).  According to the National Sleep Foundation, for infants and children, a nighttime sleep cycle is typically only about 60-90 minutes, lengthening with age.

Every time we come out of a sleep cycle, we briefly awaken, and then re-enter into our next sleep cycle. This process is so quick for adults that most of the time we’re not even aware that we’ve woken up at night. But for babies with a sleep prop, well, the nighttime experience can look quite different. 

If a baby has anything external such as a prop or routine that they depend on to fall asleep, then every time they awaken they’re going to need that same thing (or things) to fall back asleep. And for some babies this means they are waking up and needing mom or dad 5,6,7 or more times a night! That is not a road you want to travel down for too long, and it’s not ideal for baby or for parents. 


So how do you avoid baby becoming dependent on sleep props? When your baby is a newborn, it is completely normal and natural for her to fall asleep in a ton of different places and ways. Many parents cherish having their baby fall asleep in their arms, and I agree, it’s one of the joys of the newborn stage. But what you don’t want to do, is have her develop the need to ALWAYS be held, rocked, bounced etc. to fall asleep. 

One of the best tips I have is that I always encourage my newborn clients to give their baby the opportunity to fall asleep in their bassinet/crib once a day. Newborns are typically super drowsy so when you see her getting sleepy, place her in her bed and she will likely fall asleep quickly. Giving her the opportunity to practice falling asleep laying down awake, will help set her up for learning those self-soothing skills down the road.

It’s also important to be mindful of specific physical props that you may be inadvertently supplying to your child, such as the habit of putting baby down with a bottle of water, or a toy, or even a blanket. Each of these props has potentially negative side effects, and in the case of toys or blankets, can actually be dangerous as well. 

Just a few simple steps toward encouraging baby to learn to sleep in her own space, by herself, can make a major difference in both the duration and quality of her sleep in the newborn phase and beyond. 

Developing great sleep habits from the earliest age possible is one of the most important ways you can help your baby (and yourself!) get good, healthy, restful sleep for life. So, break free from the props, and have a good night’s sleep!


About Adele: 

 My name is Adele Thompson and I am a pediatric sleep consultant. I spent the majority of my career in social work, but after becoming a Mom, I realized that working with families to help them achieve their sleep goals was my true calling. It is such a privilege to be able to help in this area, as healthy sleep habits lay the foundation for healthy families! I was trained under Dana Obleman with the Sleep Sense program, and I offer individualized sleep consulting for families in and around San Francisco, CA.



Stanford NICU Tests Cocoon Cam Technology

Stanford NICU Tests Cocoon Cam Technology

Stanford and Cocoon Cam

Your baby's safety and health are the most important thing to us at Cocoon Cam. So we were thrilled when we recently had the opportunity to test our no-touch breathing monitor technology on a group of infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford (Palo Alto, CA).   

As an innovative startup company, we are always striving to create, test and measure new ways of improving the care and well-being of babies. The chance to test the Cocoon Cam computer vision tech inside an actual NICU helps us improve our product even more. This means you can breathe easy, knowing that your baby is being watched over by the absolute best technology currently available for home use. 

Currently, the standard of care in NICUs is to place contact leads on the baby's skin to measure breathing, blood oxygen level, heart rate, temperature and more. Because premature infants have especially delicate skin, any tape, contact or leads placed on baby put her at risk for skin infections, among other issues. 

Therefore, no-touch monitoring technology such as the patent-pending computer vision approach used by Cocoon Cam, holds great promise, not only for premature infants in the NICU, but also for offering the highest standard of baby breathing monitoring in your own home. The methodology of the test was: 

  • Continuous 48-hour recordings of each infant
  • 1280x720 camera resolution at 30 frames per second
  • Camera placed 4-6 feet from the infant
  • Focus on non-contact measurement of infant breathing
  • 15 infants were monitored
Cocoon Cam in the NICU


The results of the test were that our touchless technology measured breathing exceptionally well, with a maximum variance of 5 breaths per minute when compared to the hospital-grade breathing monitors that NICUs currently attach to baby's skin. The NICU staff and NICU Director, Henry C. Lee, MD, all agree that Cocoon Cam has developed a promising new approach to caring for infants, both in the hospital and at home. 

We continue to work hard to keep improving and expanding our no-touch monitoring capabilities, and hope that you will join us on this important journey to helping babies and families breathe a little easier! 

To get your own Cocoon Cam No-Touch Baby Breathing Monitor with HD Video, Two-Way Audio, and Instant Alerts, visit us at cocooncam.com

Cocoon Cam Tested in Stanford NICU

For more information, please contact us at info@cocooncam.com.


Cocoon Cam Awarded Prestigious "Seal of Approval" by the National Parenting Center

Cocoon Cam Awarded Prestigious "Seal of Approval" by the National Parenting Center

May 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Cocoon Cam, the world's first intelligent baby breathing video monitor, today announced that it has been awarded the prestigious "Seal of Approval" by the National Parenting Center. This award is highly coveted and recognizes the finest products and services being marketed to the parent/child audience.

breathe easier with cocoon cam

The National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval program is an independent testing procedure conducted over an eight-week period. TNPC gives parents, children and educators the opportunity to examine a variety of submitted products. In this case, the testers used Cocoon Cam to check on their own infants while asleep in their cribs. The overwhelmingly positive reactions from parents led to Cocoon Cam being granted the prestigious Seal of Approval during the Spring 2017 assessment.

Cocoon Cam lets parents view their baby at any time, day or night, through a smartphone application (iOS and Android) that provides real time smart alerts when the baby's breathing is irregular. In addition, there is 2-way audio to listen and talk to the baby from anywhere. Unlike other baby health tracking technologies, Cocoon Cam is completely passive and does not require any mattress pad, wearable electronics or pinging the baby with radar or sonar signals. Cocoon Cam works with powerful artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms using cloud computing. Cocoon Cam keeps evolving through software upgrades with additional features due to be released in the future.

Order Cocoon Cam online today for the perfect baby shower or baby homecoming gift. Reviews are available on Amazon.com and at the company's website: www.cocooncam.com.

Cocoon Cam National Parenting Center Seal of Approval



Cocoon Cam is a Silicon Valley-based technology company using computer vision for remote health monitoring. The company’s first product is a category-defining baby monitor that detects a baby’s vitals purely by passively collecting a video feed from the baby monitor and analyzing the data in the cloud. Parents gain instant access, via their mobile devices, to longitudinal data and real-time alerts for metrics such as breathing, temperature fluctuations, heart rate and movement. Unlike competing technologies in the baby monitoring space, Cocoon Cam is completely non-invasive and requires no connected wires or wearables. Cocoon Cam has received the ‘Seal of Approval’ of the National Parenting Center, an R&D grant from the National Science Foundation and completed has completed IRB-approved research validation studies at UC San Diego and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford.