Preemie Sleep Set-Up: My List of Essentials

When our preemie boy came home, we fussed over his well being day and night. As with most parents, the thought of having him sleep away from us scared us. For us, it was more than just the thought, Ollie went home on oxygen and weighing under 4 lb 6 oz. He was healthy, but he needed extra care. And we were happy to provide! Choosing a preemie sleep set-up finally comes to caring for your baby. This is true for preemie and non-preemie parents. Having that sleep set-up adjusts over the years to what fits into your family life helps everyone sleep more peacefully. And boy, do we need that sleep!

I’m sharing with you a list of nursery essentials we have used for setting up our premature baby’s sleep environment. The list covers our son’s sleep growth from baby to toddler! I hope that you find it useful for your own parenting journey!

Preemie Sleep Set-Up

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Preemie Sleep Set-Up for Newborns: The Bassinet

When it comes to using a Bassinet for a preemie sleep set-up I would use the one that would keep my premature baby as close to me as possible. Although a bassinet wasn’t part of our preemie sleep environment, we did borrow one for a couple of weeks and it was bliss. The fact that you have both your baby next to your bed for checking in on her as much as you need, while maintaining your space on the bed is the purpose of bassinets. And they live up to the expectations.

Babies will outgrow the bassinet fairly quick though, but if this is the right set-up for you here are a couple I would recommend!


This by-the-bed bassinet is comfortable, elegant bassinet. It’s inclined so that you can snuggle it close to yourself. However, it doesn’t have a cosleeping feature. If bed-sharing isn’t your thing but you want to keep your preemie right next to you, this is the perfect set-up for you!


 My favorite bassinet is the one that allows both a separate sleep preemie set-up and a cosleep set up. I’m a big fan of safe cosleeping. The sidecar setting on this bassinet provides a separate surface for bed-sharing with your baby. It’s simply perfect for keeping your baby in the same bed without him, you know, being actually in the same bed.

Preemie Sleep Set-Up for Newborns: Safe Bed-Sharing

Bed-Sharing can be done with babies of all ages (including newborns) as long as it’s safe. And the safest solution that worked for us was purchasing a sleeper (also named portable crib) that we set up on our bed. We used this environment well into our son’s 6 months until he outgrew it. It was exactly what we needed. When he came home, weighing 4 lb and 6 oz and with low cannula oxygen, we wondered what we could to ensure that he didn’t pull is cannula in his sleep.

We purchased a set-up much similar to this sleeper. We moved our bed against the wall and put the sleeper in a corner, Ollie just loved it. Another advantage is that we could take it to our parent’s house whenever we went to visit. Our complete set up had also an anti-spill wedge since Ollie suffered from reflux for the first months of his life. The wedge really helped him sleep peacefully, and having him right in our bed helped us.



Preemie Sleep Set-Up for Toddlers: Montessori Bed

One of the things we like the most about the Montessori method is the bedtime setting. Based on a philosophy of independence and discovery, this child-centered education approach has a quite interesting way of putting our toddler to sleep: The kids can hop on and off the bed on their own, without it posing a risk to their health. Once we ensured that the room was safe, we adapted a mattress onto a Montessori bed for our son and he has been sleeping on it since he was 18 months old. The thing we love about it the most, to be honest, is that he won’t hurt himself if he falls from the bed.

Preemie Sleep Set-Up for Babies: The Pack N’ Play

A complete pack n’ play was perfect for us. It is a set-up that grows with your child. It covers your parenting needs for independence as well of codependence (if that makes sense at all.) Having a pack n’ play with napper was a big relief for us! Eventually, we fit it in our room and Ollie slept in it for around one year. First on the napper and then in the pack n’ play. We still had him close by, and he was comfortable, safe and happy. Additionally, most are travel-friendly, so when hubby or I would get sick, the other just left for grandpas with his portable bed!

Preemie Sleep Set-Up for Babies: The Crib

Ah, the traditional crib. To be honest we used our son’s cribs for naps and an occasional night. However, I have met many preemie families who have had a safe crib set-up. Cribs are gorgeous, classic, and modern! Most ones are adjustable so that the mattress is higher when babies are still small and not mobile, and a deeper setting for when babies start moving.

Preemie Sleep Set-Up Essential: Baby Monitor

We used Angelcare and we loved it. Our preferred monitor has a movement detector that goes under the mattress, a camera and an audio monitor. The movement sensor can detect a baby’s breathing, and an alarm goes off if 20 seconds or more pass and it doesn’t sense movement. It’s not too fancy, but it had the essentials for us. It even worked under an anti-spill wedge and mattress combination! To this day, we still use it with his Montessori bed.

That’s a Wrap

When it comes to putting a baby to bed, there are many possible combinations. Whatever you choose, make sure that it is the best for your family. Consider also that sleep set-ups grow as babies do. So don’t fret if the bed is too small or too big. As long as your baby is safe and you’re happy, you’ll move on to the next sleeping challenge: Getting your baby to sleep through the night.

Are you the proud parent of a premature baby? I have free stuff for you! Subscribe to my mailing list to receive The Preemie Mom’s Guide to Preemie Milestones, complete with adjusted age calculator and milestones printable chart for the first 2 years of your baby! I promise I won’t spam you and mail only information that I deem valuable. Thanks!

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