Ok so today I am going to talk to you about ‘baby sleep’… or lack of it as the case may be! If you’ve ever found yourself googling ‘but why doesn’t my baby sleep?’ at 4′ o clock in the morning, or have accumulated a small library of baby sleep books since your bundle of joy was born… then read on, this one’s for you!!
Ettie was never a great sleeper. Actually she was, she was just never a great sleeper unless she was in one of our arms (which was lovely, but tiring at the same time). Even now I can count on one hand the number of times she’s fallen to sleep on her own, she just prefers a cuddle. She was also one of those babies who had a sixth sense for knowing when we were about to leave the room. So many nights we’d lay in the bed next to her while she was sleeping. She’d be sound asleep in the Snuzpod, gently snoring away but as soon as I’d flicker an eyelash ready to creep out of the room, she’d sense it and open her eyes WIDE, crying until I fed and cuddled her back to sleep. We had all the gimmicks, but nothing worked better than a cuddle and so for me to be sitting here writing a post about a baby sleep aid, seems a bit alien.
But as you know, I’ve had another baby since Ettie and have been working with Taf Toys to review some of the products in their Easier Parenting range. As part of this collaboration we were sent a Prince the Penguin Baby Soother to trial. Going on past experience I had very little expectations of Prince the Penguin (so offence Prince) and he even sat in a box in Ollie’s bedroom for a couple of months because we were using the light from the Newborn Cosy Gym to get him off to sleep.
It wasn’t until Ollie was around 5 months old that we decide to give Prince the Penguin a try. At that point Ollie was right in the middle of his four-month sleep regression and I think a couple of his teeth were moving around under the surface. Whilst he has always been a better sleeper than Ettie, he is much harder to calm down if he’s unsettled and so I was finding myself being awake for hours through the night trying to calm him back to sleep. Whilst the light from the Newborn Cosy Gym was effective, it was quite bright for use in the middle of the night and so we needed another option.
Along came Prince the Penguin!
Prince the Penguin by Taf Toys is baby soother night-light designed to hang off the side of your little ones cot. It has three settings: light only, daytime sounds and night-time sounds and a pull string or push button to activate. The push button is on the penguins belly and also doubles up as a light. The Penguin comes with a hook attachment inside the box which has two height options and we have found this suitable for both the curved edges of the Snuzpod and also his more standard cot too.
I could make this the shortest review in history and say “it’s excellent go buy it‘ but that would make for a pretty lousy review and so I’ll try to go into some detail as to why I think Prince the Penguin works…
The light has two settings. The first is a brightish white light that comes on with the sound. Initially I thought this could be distracting when trying to get a baby off to sleep, but it seems to work and I can physically see his body relaxing once the light and sound comes on. The second light is a very low subtle glow that wouldn’t be bright enough to wake him, but i’m guessing must look a little like the muffled lights in the womb and so he finds it comforting. This stays on for around 20 minutes after the sound has stopped playing and is useful if you just want to pop in and check on them without putting on a bigger light.
Like with the other toys in the Taf Toys range, the daytime sound is really cheerful and I think it works as a bit of a distraction if he’s a bit winey in the day and I’ve popped him in his cot whilst I get Ettie ready. But to be honest we don’t really use that setting too often as we’re not in his bedroom much of the day.
It’s the soothing night time sounds where I think Prince the Penguin really steals the show. There are three sounds; ‘water’, ‘shushing’ and ‘rain’ and all three of them seem to do the trick at getting Ollie back to sleep. I know all babies are different, but my two respond particularly well to the rain/wind and waves noises that you find on the smart phone White Noise apps. The sounds that Prince the Penguin makes are very similar to those and so perhaps that’s why they work? They are also a lot louder than Ewan and I find them less mechanical.
In addition to the useful sounds, the best feature about this toy is the fact that it is noise activated!! That means whenever Ollie even starts to stir, the Penguin picks up on it and the shhhing sounds and soothing night light come on. So many times we’ve heard him on the monitor about to wake up and by the time we’ve got upstairs the Penguin has soothed him back to sleep. It’s really really worked a treat.
The noise box comes with a booster button on the back which amps up the volume of the white noise if you need it, and the box can be activated via the pull string or little light on the penguins belly. Often we know that Ollie is awake because we can hear him banging the little green triangle off the side of his cot. I love how he’s so content when he wakes up in the morning!
I genuinely have been really impressed with the Prince the Penguin because it has worked. Ettie is almost three years old and we’ve never been able to leave her to get herself back to sleep, but at 5 months old Ollie was doing it regularly. I’m not sure if that’s because he’s a different baby or because Prince the Penguin is a wonder toy, but if you do have a baby struggling to stay asleep then I do think it is worth a try.
That said I really don’t want to come in all guns blazing and give the Prince a gold star review, telling you it will solve all your sleep issues because I know in some cases that won’t be the case. It’s worked for us and if you think your little one likes the water like white noise it might work for you too, but I think the main thing is to say ‘don’t panic if it doesn’t’. I was told by a health visitor that Ettie should be sleeping through at 3 months old!!… FYI lady health visitor, she’s almost three years old and I’m still waiting for that moment! I felt awful coming home from that meeting. Feeling like I was failing and trying everything to get her to sleep through but she wasn’t ready. Once I stopped trying to fit a textbook, we found our own routine and have been a lot happier since. Ollie’s sleep was trickier because I had two of them to deal with, but he seems to be through the worst of it now and Prince the Penguin has helped.
I hope you’ve found this review useful. If you have any comments baby sleep or experiences you’d like to share, pop them in the comments below. I could talk baby sleep all day long!! x
You can check out my other reviews of items in the Taf Toys range here: