Blackout curtains are a great tool to help baby sleep better. They help prevent the sun from waking baby and help set circadian rhythm.
When you are trying to get baby to sleep better for naps and night time, you will spend time considering what might be causing baby to wake early.
One common cause for poor sleep is the sun.
While some babies will sleep just fine when the sun is shining, for others, the sun will prevent baby from sleeping.
My oldest was this way, and I am too. As soon as the sun is up, I am up.
If this is the case for your baby, you will have early morning wakings, baby staying awake after bedtime, and short naps.
The way to solve this issue is with blackout curtains to create a dark room.
Are Blackout Curtains a Sleep Prop?
Parents are often hesitant to use blackout shades because the are afraid of using a sleep prop.
This is a wise concern; sleep props can solve sleep issues in the short term but often lead to bigger sleep problems down the road.
The answer is, yes, blackout curtains are a sleep prop. Sleep props are items that a baby relies on in order to fall asleep. If you use the curtains, they will help baby’s sleep.
But it is worth it.
If baby does not sleep well with sunlight, then making the room dark will help baby sleep well.
If baby needs a dark environment to sleep, then she needs it. Refusing to use the room darkening curtains for baby room will only lead to poor sleep.
Concerns About Sleep Props
The big concern with sleep props is that baby then can’t sleep without it. This concern is often associate with sleeping away from home.
For certain sleep props, I always tell people I would rather baby sleep well for nap time and bedtime the 95% of the time they are home than the 5% of time they are away from their nursery.
In our modern day, there are ways to solve the travel issue (as we will discuss below), so the downsides are very small.
Protecting Circadian Rhythm
The circadian rhythm is the internal clock that tells your body when to be awake and when to sleep.
This is triggered by sunlight, so a legitimate concern with blackout curtains is how it will affect circadian rhythm development.
I would recommend you start with blackout blinds or curtains with night only. This can actually help set circadian rhythm because it will make it so the sun is not keeping baby up at night or waking baby up early in the morning. Melatonin will not be released if there is light, so the blackout solution helps with that, also.
When you get baby up in the morning, open up the curtains and let that light stream in the window. You want your infant to see sunlight as soon as she is up for the day.
If baby can, do naps with blinds open. But prioritize good daytime naps over sleeping with sunlight. I had two who would sleep with the blinds open, but two who could not. There have been no long-term ill effects for the two who slept with blackout blinds shut.
You can help this by spending 30-60 minutes in the light each day (but not IN the sun–protect the skin!).
What About Sleep Away From Home?
A common concern of parents is what to do about sleep away from home when baby relies on blackout curtains?
What do you do when you travel or visit grandma’s house?
For years, parents have tacked up blankets or used aluminum foil on the windows.
A great new product called the Sleepout Curtain easily solves this. It comes with everything you need for blackout curtains on the go. It installs anywhere and comes in a handy travel bag!
You simply put the suction cups at the top corners of the window and lock them down, then place velcro strip on the velcro pad on the suction cup. Viola! Blackout curtains you can use anywhere! Perfect for hotels, visiting family, and even at home! This is especially nice for renters who aren’t allowed to install curtain rods. A lot of people don’t necessarily love the decor of a blackout curtain, so this helps make it more temporary.
Purchase your Sleepout Curtain here! Use this code for a discount: THEBABYWISEMOM10
The fabric is great! It is thermal-insulating, which gives a nice bonus of keep the summer heat out of the room and keep the room temperature perfect for baby’s room. It is charcoal grey with ecru cotton flocking and soft microfibre finish. They install vertically OR horizontally, which makes them super flexible! These are the best blackout curtains for on-the-go sleep. You could even use them in the car!
Blackout curtains are a great way to help your little one sleep better at night and for naps. It can help establish circadian rhythm faster by blocking out light during baby’s night. It is a great tool for helping with baby sleep.