With a newborn, you’re going to be up in the middle of the night.
A lot, I’m afraid.
You have to strike a balance between running into walls in the dark (which you’ll do anyway) and over-stimulating your baby (and yourself) with a bright, glaring light.
Research tells us that white and blue light wavelengths suppress melatonin (the sleep hormone) the most, which is the opposite of what you want at night. Longer wavelength light, such as amber light, interferes with your sleep the least. And yet many night light makers use blue light. Go figure.
I much prefer a night “lamp,” which is a cordless, rechargeable lamp you can walk around with. Sadly, there are few-to-none out there like this…
**We’re starting to see many more baby night light combos these days that integrate a night light with other features, like a noise machine and/or a humidifier and/or a clock and/or a speaker (SO many different iterations…). We’re super into this, especially because the top two manufacturers in this department — Hatch and Yogasleep (formerly Marpac) — make really high quality products that can last for years to come.
Here are your best options at different price points:
Munchkin Light My Way Baby Night Light ~$14 — Economy Pick (Tie)
The perfect night light for toddlers — or moms trying to nurse and change diapers in the middle of the night. We like this night light because it turns off after 20 minutes (if you pass out before you shut it off) and is cool to the touch. (It’s battery operated.)
A Cheap Alternative: Plug-in Night Lights
These won’t necessarily throw off enough light for middle-of-the-night nursing sessions or diaper changes (although they might, depending on your space and your eyesight), but the Sycees Wall Plug-ins ($17 for a 6 pack) are VERY handy to have around. They turn on and off automatically and have definitely saved me from many stumbles during the wee hours. We’ve kept them in the hallways, bathroom, etc… long past the newborn days. (Note that you can’t turn these on/off, so if you keep them in your bedroom, they’ll be on all night.)
LumiPets Portable Baby Night Light ~$21 — Economy Pick (Tie)
Another favorite is the LumiPets Night Light. Yes, this thing is designed for little kids, but works great for parents as a nursing/up-at-night light. You can choose from 8 different colors (including red, yay!); and this silicone night light has different brightness levels, can be turned on/off by tapping (this is optional), has a long-lasting rechargeable battery, and has different auto shut-off options.
Yogasleep Duet ~$39
One step down from the Hatch Baby Rest (see below) is the Duet from Yogasleep (formerly Marpac) — it’s a combined night light and white noise machine that also has wireless speaker functionality (a neat though not super-usable feature, IMO). It gives off a warm glow that’s just right, and has a pretty impressive array of noise offerings (30 in all, some white and pink noises and some songs/sounds that *actually aren’t annoying/tinny-sounding). At 4.5″ tall, this is a sleek and unimposing night light that doesn’t scream “baby.”
Hatch Baby Rest ~$59 — Editor’s Choice
It’s a night light, sound machine, and OK to wake indicator all in one — a hat trick! — that’s controlled by your smart phone. We love it. And the new version — the Hatch Baby Rest+ (~$89) — tacks on an audio monitor, too… it’s a true multitasker.
Casper Glow Light ~$129 — Upgrade/Luxury Pick
OK, OK, I know — it’s $$$$. But this thing is so cool. It’s portable, easy to use, and practical.
The Glow rests on a wireless charging base and turns on and off when you flip it over. You can control the Glow’s brightness by rotating the light — dial clockwise for a brighter glow and counterclockwise to dim. It has an automatic dimmer (set for about 45 minutes), and uses warm light only (no bad-for-your-sleep blue light).
It also has a wake-up function that might replace your alarm clock (although, you probably won’t want or need this feature for at least a few months, given that your baby will be waking you up plenty…). The Glow emits a warm escalating light in the AM to wake you up more gently (ahem, “naturally”) than whatever annoying sound you have set on your phone alarm. [See the video showing all the features here.]
You can operate the Glow through an app, but we think it’s easier to just use the device itself to control the light (you know, like, manually).
It’s TOO expensive, yes, but if you feel like splurging in the sleep wellness department, this is a great choice. You’ll definitely use it a lot longer than a more standard baby night light, anyways.