Age suitable for: 0-8 months
Made from: Cotton with polyester filling
Sleepyhead Deluxe was the original baby sleeping pod, the first to introduce the idea of creating a snug, portable, material surround for babies to sleep in. Its success led to other companies producing similar products, but Sleepyhead’s dominance in the market has meant the name is now often used to describe any baby pod.
The original concept behind the Sleepyhead was to create a cosy and soothing environment for babies to sleep in – the big idea was to recreate a womb-like experience. Cots and cotbeds look huge for little babies, and Sleepyheads are often used on top of cot mattresses to give a more snug place to put your baby to sleep, with padded sides close to your baby’s head and body.
That concept has grown since 2007 when it was launched in Sweden by its founder and mum-of-two Lisa Furuland. It’s now developed to have many uses – from tummy-time aid, to being a portable sleep unit and even a potentially safer place if you’re considering co-sleeping.
Sleepyhead is one of the products that’s grown by word-of-mouth – you’ll find social media posts and parent reviews endlessly praising the pod as being the key to getting babies off to sleep.
But it’s not been without its controversy over safe sleeping guidelines. We explain the concerns that have been raised by The Lullaby Trust in our review. However, it’s important to be aware that hundreds of thousands of Sleepyheads (called Dock-A-Tot in the US and Australia) have been sold and used daily (or nightly) for over 10 years and we’ve been unable to find any evidence of a Sleepyhead pod being directly linked to cases of SIDS or suffocation.
Let’s start with the big question – does it help babies sleep?
In our experience, yes. In the beginning, our newborn baby Evan would sleep contentedly in the Sleepyhead during the day, and friends who were parents were always astonished at how well he’d sleep compared to their babies.
As he got older, his naps naturally decreased, but when he was sleeping soundly, he’d stay down for a solid amount of time.
Once he outgrew the Sleepyhead, we put him on the cot mattress. We found the quality and duration of his naps really diminished.
Thankfully, there’s a larger Sleepyhead, the Grand, which accommodates children up to 3 years old and we started using that when he was 13 months old.
What’s it like to use?
The Sleepyhead is incredibly simple to use. A week after purchasing it, I unexpectedly went into early labour. When we all came home from hospital, it was just a case of opening the Sleepyhead carry bag, taking out the pod and transferring our tiny bundle into it in our front room. He didn’t wake and I sat and watched him sleep sweetly for two hours.
In the beginning it was very easy to pop Evan into the pod after he’d fallen asleep post-feed. I could move it easily from room to room with him in it too, so he was always with me.
Buy Sleepyhead Deluxe Pod from John Lewis
When he got older and especially during tough developmental changes and teething, he did occasionally wake up when being put in. It would take a few goes to get him down and stay asleep, but he would almost always concede in the end.
You can also use the pod when they’re awake too. When he was teeny tiny, we’d pop him under the baby gym whilst still in it, and when he got older, it doubled as a tummy time aid.
Is the Sleepyhead Deluxe Pod comfy for babies?
Yes, the material of the cover is soft corduroy-like cover and the texture of the pod is comfortable enough to be a gentle sleeping surface, but not so much so that your baby sinks into it.
The shape of the bumper means your baby feels cocooned rather than having lots of space around them.
So what are the safety concerns about the Sleepyhead Deluxe?
You may have seen the warning from The Lullaby Trust that baby sleeping pods and nests do not meet the safer sleep guidelines that it promotes.
“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. Yet our argument would be that this is true of many cribs and moses baskets, which are recommended by the Trust.
We’ve investigated all of the scientific evidence that the Trust has based its warning on. Perhaps because pods and nests are fairly recent products, there isn’t any specific research relating to them, but as previously mentioned we could find no evidence of any reported cases of suffocation or SIDS directly linked to use of a Sleepyhead.
One thing that’s clear is that Sleepyhead base mattresses are firm, whereas some other baby pods have soft, deep mattresses, which are not advised. Always choose a firm mattress – don’t be tempted to pick a soft, spongy mattress for your baby – it may look more comfy but it’s not as safe. It’s also important that you use a Sleepyhead on a firm surface – this includes a firm cot or bed mattress.
Therefore we recommend the following with the Sleepyhead Deluxe:
- Use a Sleepyhead Deluxe in a supervised environment
- Always place them on a flat, firm and stable surface. Don’t tilt or raise any part of the Sleepyhead
- Keep your baby in the same room as you
- Don’t use the Sleepyhead on a raised or elevated surface where there’s a risk your baby could fall off
- Don’t use pillows or soft toys within the Sleepyhead and keep any out of reach
- Don’t use loose bedding with your Sleepyhead Deluxe – there’s a risk this may be pulled up and could cover your baby’s face
- Regularly check that your baby has not moved their face into the side padding and is not overheating
- If your baby needs more warmth than their sleepsuit/clothes, use a lightweight baby sleeping bag
- Position your baby with their feet at the foot of the Sleepyhead, giving as much space as possible between your baby’s head and the padded sides
- And, of course, always put your baby to sleep on their back
Read our full investigation into safety concerns about baby pods and nests
How long will the pod last?
The one real negative is that the Sleepyhead Deluxe might not last you through to the estimated 8 month mark, especially if you have a bigger baby.
Around 6.5 months, Evan grew too long for it even though he’s smaller than average (on the 25th centile for length). I would still assert that we got our money’s worth.
How easy is it to clean?
Everything about the pod is washable (the covers and bumpers can go in the washing machine and the mattress pad is handwash only).
Extra covers come in a host of colours and given how much newborns spit up their milk/have poo explosions, buying one is definitely recommended so you have a spare to put on when you need to wash it.
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 there’s a bit of an art to putting the cover on the bumper and pad as it’s a tight fit.
Can you take it travelling?
It’s feather light so moving it from room to room is easy. However, as it’s quite thick and padded, it’s not easy to fold down to a small size to take it away on holiday, for example, unless you had a large suitcase or you’re travelling via car. I like that the pod has its own clear plastic carry bag, and you can buy a navy transport bag for £55 separately if you’d like a more stylish version.
Is it worth buying the mobile arch and toy set?
For me, yes, as it made the Sleepyhead Deluxe more versatile – I used it as both a gym and a sleeping pod. My baby was happy to lie there on his front or his back for a while playing with the toys and looking around the room.
The Toy Arch is suitable until babies are able to pull themselves up, so you’ll likely get around 4 to 6 months of use out of it. My baby is 5 months old and it’s still suitable for him.
It also looks much more chic and sophisticated than my brightly coloured baby gym, and I think my little boy appreciates the black and white contrast of the arch and toys, which is thought to be visually stimulating for young babies. I find it a useful addition, because it means the same product can be used in a variety of different ways.
Video: Using the Sleepyhead Deluxe with its mobile toy arch
Is the Sleepyhead good value?
At £120, it isn’t cheap, but it is incredibly well engineered and worth the price considering its quality and all the benefits it will give you over the 6-8 months it lasts.
And the resale value of Sleepyheads is not to be sniffed at either – they tend to fetch at least half their original price on auction sites.
What’s in the bag?
Any additional extras?
- Deluxe Pod Toile De Jouy cover – £58
- Deluxe Pod Celestial Blue cover – £48
- Sleepyhead Toy Arch – £22
- Sleepyhead Toy Set – £18
It worked for our baby, many of our MFMers’ babies in our forum – and hundreds of others, if social media posts are anything to go by.
Given that the advice is to be in the same room as your baby while they’re sleeping during the day and night, Sleepyhead offers a really portable sleeping space for supervised sleeping.
I would definitely recommend the Sleepyhead Deluxe to anyone who wants to a sleeping pod for your baby, as long as you use it following the safe guidelines. The quality makes it worth the money, plus it doubles as an entertainment place.
Bedtime, we’ve got that covered….