We used to have a lot of trouble getting our son, Ethan, to take naps, especially when we were traveling or visiting family. Starting around 3 months of age, he was much more interested in being awake then going to sleep, no matter how tired he was. When we happened across the idea for the Downtime Sleepy hat, we were ecstatic. It instantly cut our exhausting and frustrating sleep-time routine from thirty minutes to five! And it also prevented him from waking prematurely.
It worked so well for us and became so soothing to our son that we never had to fear being caught out at naptime again. I know that some babies fall asleep on their own without fussing. But most do not. We wanted to make the Sleepy hat available for other parents so that they can get some downtime, too.
For the full story read on…
Our baby, our muse.
When our son, Ethan, was 3 months old, he became very aware of the world around him (as is typical for this age). He was much more interested in being awake than going to sleep, no matter how tired he was. Whether in the baby carrier, stroller, car seat, or at home, it was a struggle to get him to close his eyes and fall asleep. The more tired he became, the harder it was for him to settle down. Naptime, especially, became a stressful time due to the bright light of day.
We found ourselves part of an sleep-time routine that consisted of walking or rocking him to sleep, meanwhile using a receiving blanket or fabric from the baby carrier to make it seem dark. But, it often took 30 minutes for him to close his eyes and succumb to sleep. And, if he woke up shortly into his nap, any visual stimulation prevented him from returning to sleep. Since he was so young, he was taking 3 naps per day. It was exhausting and frustrating.
Our predicament was never so evident as when we took our first road trip as a family. Ethan was 6 months old and it was his first car ride longer than an hour. As you can imagine, we had difficulty getting him to take a nap in the car seat. The normally 8-hour trip turned into a long 14-hour day. Each time Ethan needed a nap we had to stop the car, get him to sleep and try to transfer him back to the car seat without waking him up. Add in stops for feeding and play and we had ourselves a challenging journey.
There has to be an easier way!
The next day, at our destination, we found ourselves in the car again when Ethan was ready for a nap. But, just like the day before, he was much too interested in the passing view to close his eyes. This time, however, he happened to be wearing a hat. In play, I pulled the hat down over his eyes. He didn’t protest so I left it there. And to my surprise he was asleep in minutes!
We tried the trick again on the trip home and he fell asleep quickly and easily without us needing to stop the car. I continued to test the hat at home for Ethan’s naps and saved myself about 30 minutes and a great deal of crying each time. I was ecstatic! I told friends that were parents, and a few tried the trick and found that it worked for their babies, too! I continued to talk to people and I learned that other parents had also discovered that sleep came sooner if their baby’s sight was blocked.
Why didn’t we know about this?
After using the method to get Ethan to fall asleep for just a few days, we began to see the need for a better-designed product than a regular baby hat. First, the hat that we were using didn’t have a contour for the nose. Second, it had become stretched out of shape, leaving a gap at the eyes and allowing for Ethan to see. Third, we would have preferred not to have pull on the hat and shift it’s position on Ethan’s head in order to cover his eyes. Finally, we would get funny expressions from people passing by who were wondering why Ethan’s eyes were covered. I wanted a product that would communicate that my baby was having a nap.
The Downtime Sleepy hat was born.
After searching for a product that fitted our needs, and coming up empty-handed, we decided to make it ourselves. Eventually, we came up with a hat that looked great, functioned well, and was safe to use. We gave the hat a flip-down mask so the hat stayed in one place whether the baby was awake or asleep. We also reinforced the mask of the hat with a breathable, elastic-mesh material to block out as much light as possible, as well as prevent the hat stretching out of shape. Finally, we added closed eye lashes on the flip-down mask so that others would know that baby was asleep.
I hope that our efforts will help your baby fall asleep quickly and easily, just as it has done for Ethan. We continue to use the Sleepy hat on our son, who is now two years old. The hat serves as a cue to him that it is time for some Downtime.
Andrea Verity, Owner