Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Toddler sleep {a Love To Dream review and giveaway}

It's been over a year since we started our last experiment with getting Dear Boy to sleep. We started saying goodnight and leaving the room. And it worked that first night. And the next night. And the nights after that. Until it stopped working.

At around 20 months old, Dear Boy again started taking longer and longer to fall asleep each night. But we kept leaving him to it, tucking him into his sleeping bag, pulling up his blanket, closing his bedroom door and getting on with our evening instead of lying with him. And he would chat and sing and sometimes cry all by himself for two to three hours. Eventually, he'd sleep. We transitioned him out of the cot and sleeping bags and into a big-boy bed just after his second birthday, figuring that we may as well deal with all the sleep issues in one go. We had about six weeks of him jumping straight out and banging on the door, before he realised it was warmer in his bed and clambered back in. But he'd stay awake, again for hours.

In June, when Lovely Husband flew off for two weeks and I did two weeks straight of putting-to-bed duties, I had enough. So I changed it up - shifting his bath before dinner, brushing his teeth and then going straight into his bedroom next door, letting him choose the number of books and songs and goodnight kisses, talking with him about all the things he'd like to dream about that night and then explaining exactly where I'd be when I left the room - giving him some autonomy, some reassurance and some inspiration. I don't know if it was one of these things or all of them, but it worked. He fell asleep within minutes and has only had one or two long, drawn-out evenings in the weeks since. It feels a little like a miracle after all of us struggling for so long.

Sleep has always been a little dramatic for us. Amidst the sleep-deprived haze of those first few months, everything felt like a much bigger drama than it probably was. As a baby, though, Dear Boy always slept better at night in his Love to Dream swaddles, which kept him snug-as-a-bug but let him hold his arms up in a position he preferred. For our little wriggly worm, who could unwrap himself from a traditional blanket swaddle in seconds flat and who shuffled around his cot while he slept, the Love to Dream range helped keep him warm and snug while he slept (wherever he ended up sleeping).

We started him in the Love To...Swaddle UP when he was just a few weeks old (look at those squishy cheeks up there!), even hunting down the Lite version when we knew it was going to stay above 30 degrees at night so we could get him to sleep. We had several in each size, transitioning into the 50/50 version with zip-off wings when he was ready to sleep with his arms out.

Having used this range when Dear Boy was little, it's exciting to be working with Love to Dream to review their latest products and offer you the chance to win your own Love To Dream goodies. 

Quite a few new products and designs have become available since Dear Boy outgrew his swaddles and sleeping bags (I am loving the limited edition stripes and zigzags). A lovely friend with a beautiful and brand new baby has been using the Love To... Layer ON, a sleeveless swaddle made of super soft and a toasty warm Merino wool to wear over the traditional Swaddle UP during those winter months. Cass says:
'The Layer On is actually my favourite part of our Love To Dream stash. Partly because it's new but mostly because it's made all our summer swaddles warm enough for winter while being soft and lightweight on a squishy little baby.'
I would have loved one of these for Dear Boy's first winter when our house felt like an icebox and I was constantly pulling up his blankets and worrying that he was cold. One thing was for sure, when he got cold, he didn't sleep well.

Dear Boy and I gave the INVENTA sleep bag a test drive, and were thoroughly impressed with the design and finish (Dear Boy's version of 'thoroughly impressed' was rolling around on the floor pretending to be a caterpillar). We used quite a few different sleeping bags when Dear Boy was still in his cot, across a big range of quality and price. None of those can match the features of this version. Our favourite features of the INVENTA include:
  • Better breathability and temperature control - the 'Genius Cooling System' zips on the front and back allow for extra air-flow when needed, without having to wake the baby. In our old house which is a furnace in summer and a fridge in winter, this would have come in very handy.
  • Opens flat - this makes it much easier to wash and dry, which is so important during the winter months. No more waiting for the damp corners to dry. 
  • Greater size range - a lot of the bags we used topped out at 18-24 months (size 1 or 2). The INVENTA bags go up to 36 months. The 'Longa Shorta' snaps also let you adjust the length of the sleeping bag so smaller kids don't disappear or get lost in the bag. 
  • More sensible snaps and covers - these zip covers have press-studs to keep them down. No more middle-of-the-night squalling when a zipper digs into soft neck or underarm skin. They're also great for keeping little fingers away from the zips (for a while anyway).
  • Double-ended zipper - not only does the extra-long zipper let you open the sleeping bag out flat, but you can zip from the top or bottom, giving hassle-free access for changing nappies and a much easier time getting kids in and out of them.
Love to Dream are offering Lilybett and Boy readers the chance to win a Love To...INVENTA (2.5tog) sleep bag (valued at $79.95) to help keep your little one toasty warm. For the chance to win one of these sleeping bags in the size and colour of your choice, tell us in the comments or via email (lilybett[at]gmail[dot]com): how do you or your kids like to sleep? Are you a blanket hog? Do they end up sleeping on top of the covers (if they sleep at all)?

*UPDATE* If you're having trouble using the comments function below, please send your entry via email to lilybett[at]gmail[dot]com (removing the very high-tech bot-proofing I just did there).


Entries close Wednesday, August 13 (midnight AEST), with the winner contacted by email and announced on the Lilybett and Boy page on facebook on Thursday, August 14. One entry per person (Australian residents only, sorry!). This is a game of skill, not chance - the winner will be judged by me to have given the best/most interesting response. Please read the full terms and conditions prior to entry.


  1. I'm so lucky my 11 week old bubba SLEEPS THROUGH!!! But she is a kicker when in her cot. We currently use a love to dream swaddled but it's a bit cool through winter. We would love to try an inventa sleeping bag!

  2. My 8 week old son sleeps in the love to dream swaddle and no matter how tight I tuck him in he will still wriggle his arms and push the blanks up so it looks like he is praying. My on the other hand... My husband describes the way I sleep is like a crocodile on a death roll. I just keep rolling and rolling and rolling until I have moved the fitted sheet from the base of the bed!!

  3. If our impending bundle is anything like his/her big brother, a sleep bag should make bed time a lot easier! Big brother can sleep on every inch of his mattress throughout the night with all the wriggling he does - at over 2.5 years old, I can check on him throughout the night and find him facing the wrong way, at the foot of his bed!

  4. Elsa Booty

    My baby loves to sleep in her sleeping bag and I do prefer that as well as it safer she sleeps with a wonder suit and the sleeping bag and that is it of course it depends how cold it is otherwise I put an extra se to clothes on her but never sheets or blankets never even when ahe was a newborn I never put anything around her
    I have read I few good reviews of your sleeping bags and is love to win one ! Thank you for the opportunity

  5. My 8 week old daughter hates being Swaddled and wiggles too much to stay wrapped we use a cotton on sleeping bag but it's her only warm one so if she pukes on it is a hassle. She sleeps like her dad with her mouth open arms over her head 😊

  6. What a lovely sleeping bag. I've been struggling to find something for my Houdini boy - his other sleeping bags, he keeps undoing the zips or studs in the night time and then throwing his bags over the side of the cot and crying because he's cold.

  7. Sorry that last comment was from me Michelle H

  8. I have to sleep with all the blankets but my daughter hates having anything on her. A sleeping bag would be great to keep her covered. - Kelly Mitchell.

  9. My Little One is a Houdini too! What is it with them and undoing zippers all the time? We don't use sleeping bags anymore, but I just wanted to say I wish I'd had one of these a year ago!

  10. My darling daughter does not like to sleep anymore at 7 months.

    We use the original swaddle and it has always been fantastic but I think she is getting a wee bit to tall so would love to try the inventa

  11. My 9 week old has had the same routine since birth. We feed a little from 5.30 then bath then feed again from the other side then cuddles and bed by 7pm. She initially cried a awhile so we would stay in the room and settle her. Now she has just transitioned to a cot in her own room and puts herself to sleep in minutes. I'm sure as she grows we will have to tweak the routine but ill just roll with the punches!

    Me ... I'm a massive bedhog.. I'd happily kick my husband out so I can have more room!

  12. My little boy is 4 months old, his one squirmy sleeper. I think he does the Mexican hat dance in his sleep. He sleeps with his arms over his head, like his jumping for joy in a toyota commercial . Most mornings I find he has kicked his way up to the top of the cot with his blankets in a scrunched up heap at the bottom and he hasn't started crawling yet. Eeek.

  13. Jennifer BD - We live in Canberra and have had to do some serious rugging up for bed this winter. My boy is 18 months old and loves to sleep snuggled up to his special blankie. I just snuggle with my husband and use him to help warm up my cold feet. I don't think he appreciates that though.

  14. I have been reading your posts regularly. I need to say that you are doing a fantastic job. Please keep up the great work.
    Love to dream swaddle


Thanks for taking the time to respond to what you have read here at Lilybett and Boy. I love reading through all your comments.


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