Sleepyhead Grand Baby Pod

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In a nutshell

The bigger version of the hugely-popular Enfant Terrible Sleepyhead Deluxe Pod, great for older babies but still very expensive

  • Pros

    Aids better sleep, suitable for unsupervised sleeping, ready to use out of the bag

  • Cons

    Expensive, both parents can’t co-sleep with it, cumbersome to transport

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Our review

Key features:

  • Age suitable for: 8-36 months
  • Made from: Cotton cover with polyester filling
  • Price: £180

*See our safety update below*

Driven with the desire to find a safe bed-sharing solution following the birth of her baby in 2006, Swedish entrepreneur Lisa Furuland created a sleeping pod that was so successful with her little one, she felt compelled to turn it into a business.

The Sleepyhead Deluxe (suitable from birth to approximately 8 months) hit the markets sometime after, to rave reviews from mums claiming their once terrible sleepers had transformed into peacefully dozing cherubs.

It soon became apparent that there was demand to manufacture a bigger pod for these well-rested babies to move into once they’d outgrown the Deluxe model, and so the larger Sleepyhead Grand found its way on to the shelves in March 2014.

Now there are a whole range of baby nests and sleep pods, like the Cocconababy, Purflo breathable nest and Poddle Pod. 

But it's widely-known that Sleepyhead was the first.  However, it's also known as one of the most expensive, at £149 it’s not cheap, so is it worth it?

Are baby sleeping nests and pods safe?

You may have seen recent reports about the safety of baby sleep positioners, which implied that this may also include 'anti-roll' products and baby 'nests'.  

In October 2017, the American FDA (Food and Drug Administration) reissued a warning urging parents not to use these products as they may cause suffocation.

Here at MadeForMums we spoke to the Lullaby Trust to get clarity on the definition of sleep positioners. The Lullaby Trust told us:

"It is our understanding that sleep positioners are straps or wedges that hold a baby in place.”

As baby nests and pods don't strap or wedge babies in place, they don't appear to fall under the sleep positioners highlighted in the FDA report.

However, The Lullaby Trust also states that pods and nests do not meet the safe sleeping guidelines that it promotes – although this is not connected to the FDA warning.

“The evidence shows that the safest way to sleep a baby is on a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in a cot or moses basket and we would not recommend any sleep surface that does not conform to these guidelines,” the Lullaby Trust told us.

According to the Trust, the fact that pods and nests have mattresses with raised, padded sides mean that they don’t meet the “flat” requirements of the guidelines. However, the Trust also acknowledges that there’s no evidence they are unsafe.

Like so many issues in parenting, there's no definitive answer right now, as there just isn't enough research. 

So we always recommend you follow manufacturer instructions and check out the safety tips on co-sleeping, or the The Lullaby Trust's guidelines for sleeping safely and the NHS guidelines on how to reduce SIDS.

What's the difference between the Sleepyhead Grand Baby Pod and the Sleepyhead Deluxe Pod?

Why move from the Sleepyhead Deluxe Pod to the Grand Pod?

During the frantic last weeks before giving birth to my son, I impulse bought the smaller Sleepyhead Deluxe, thanks to all the glowing internet reviews.

He went in it the moment we got home from hospital and thereafter, it didn’t disappoint. When Evan wasn’t ill, teething or breaking through a developmental milestone (in which case his default sleeping place was on either me or his father), he would slumber peacefully.

I could also take it from room to room during the day and transfer him wholesale into the cot once asleep, so it made naps and bedtimes a breeze. Even though he was waking for milk at night, we could get him back in his cot without issue, and we were all sleeping splendidly.

As he grew bigger, I grew nervous - what was going to happen when he didn’t fit in the Sleepyhead anymore? There wasn’t a larger pod to graduate into.

This is what happened: at 6.5 months and finally too long for it, he came into our bed, as it was the only way to keep him asleep. A voracious feeder, he would wake several times for milk. Once back to sleep, we couldn’t put him down afterwards in the empty cot without him immediately opening his eyes and crying.

We tried all the standard tricks that kindly friends and the internet had to offer, but nothing worked. The only thing that did was placing him on our bed. Although we know it's not recommended and we’d not set out to do it, we co-slept.

As he got bigger and more mobile though, he began adopting crazily contorted sleeping positions, which, in a cuckoo-like fashion, practically pushed us out of bed. Our backs were suffering, our sleep was suffering and when he hit the 1 year mark, we needed a new solution.

It seemed apparent that the stark mattress surface and bare space around him in the cot was part of the problem. I couldn’t bring myself to put something soft such as pillows or a duvet inside it though, as I knew it wasn’t safe.

Then I found out that there was a new, bigger pod – the Sleepyhead Grand, which seemed the answer to all our problems.

Sleepyheads are designed to make children feel like they’re surrounded, secure and snug. They bear a whole host of safety checks too, so you can rest assured you’re not putting anything contraband in their cot. It’s also worth noting that they can be used for unsupervised sleeping, unlike other similar products.

Is it easy to use?

Yes, heavenly so!  When the Grand pod arrived, it was ready to use out of the bag (and aforementioned bag doubles as a carry case, should you wish to travel with it).

The fabric cover has a soft corduroy-like texture and feels warm and tactile. It looks stylish too.

The pod itself is firm enough that your baby doesn’t sink in to it, but cushy enough to be more inviting than a mattress.

Does it really work?

Not long after unpacking it, Evan unexpectedly (he was unwell that day) fell asleep in my arms. I popped him into the pod on the floor without any fuss and there he calmly dozed.

During the testing, I found his daytime naps in the Sleepyhead have been much longer on average than his previous ones in the cot.

Our first night with it was a write-off as he was just too sick to sleep alone and needed constant cuddling. The next night was nothing short of miraculous though: after each feed, I popped him back in the Sleepyhead in the cot and he didn’t flinch.

This happened the next night, and since then, he’ll go back in the pod for 50-75% of the night, as he still sometimes wakes up as he’s being placed in.

Whilst this is not a perfect result, we spent 6 months not being able to get him into the cot AT ALL. Even managing to reclaim the bed for some of the night has made a huge difference to how rested we feel.

It may have a large price tag, but from our experience, both my husband and I agree it’s totally worth the money.

It has improved the whole family’s sleep, and it looks as though it will last a couple more years as you can unclasp the end to extend the pod as your child grows. 

If you're looking for more baby sleeping solutions check these out...

Will it fit in my cot?

The Sleepyhead Grand exactly fits into a cot with a standard 120cm x 60cm mattress. It’s also ideal to use when transitioning toddlers to a bed as it can sit on top of the mattress and double as a safety bumper to stop them rolling out (as well as providing something familiar, cozy and comforting to ease the change).

It’s worth noting it's pretty big though, so it takes up a lot of space on a standard double bed, but the Grand wasn’t designed with bed-sharing in mind.

Is it portable?

Within the house, it’s immensely portable, and can be moved easily between rooms, but it’s a little awkward to do so with the child in it (but can be done if you’re desperate).

We were so thrilled with the improvement to our slumber that despite its large size, we took the pod with us on the train during a visit to the grandparents, instead of our usual ultra-light pop-up Koo-di travel cot.

The Grand is quite cumbersome to carry, but you can squish it in to the overhead storage racks in the carriage and it fits fine in the boot of a car.

If you’re walking a long way with it, it can start to feel a tad heavy, but it was a price I was willing to pay!

Is it easy to clean?

Yes!  Everything about the pod is washable (the covers and bumpers can go in the washing machine and the mattress pad is handwash only).

You can buy extra covers in white, pink or blue and also, should there be an ‘accident’ that cleaning can’t resolve, you can also purchase replacement inner bumpers and pads direct from the manufacturers in Sweden.

The cover was easy to remove and washed well, but it takes a bit of practice to get the bumper and pad zipped back in as it’s quite a tight fit.

What’s in the bag?

  • Sleepyhead Grand Pod

Any additional extras?

  • Grand Pod spare cover - £49.50
  • Grand Pod spare bumper pillow - £64.50
  • Grand Pod spare mattress - £47.50

Made for Mums verdict:

For sleep-deprived parents experiencing issues with getting a child to go in their cot, or for those who want peace of mind that their toddler won’t roll out of a junior bed, the Sleepyhead Grand is unquestionably worth considering if you can afford it.  

Bedtime, we've got that covered….