Babies don’t tend to sleep in cribs or in their own rooms to start. A crib can be daunting for such a small person. They spend the initial 40 weeks (give or take) of their life in a small, warm, safe space to which the crib is the complete opposite (although, some babies do just fine in the crib right off the bat). It’s also important to note that, room sharing is recommended as per safe sleep guidelines until your baby is 6 months of age, but preferably 12 months of age. Sleeping in close sensory proximity to you is truly the safest and most developmentally appropriate place for your baby to sleep. However, at some point it’s completely reasonable for you to want your own space.
Now, if you’re reading this, I am assuming you’ve already tried moving your baby to their crib in their own room and they absolutely hate it or are afraid that it will be a negative transition. I could be wrong, but if I’m not, please know that’s normal! Anyone moving to a new room, new mattress, and new sheets need time to adjust! Are you able to sleep comfortably in a hotel or guest room? Or do you need a few nights to adjust? How do you feel when you get back home and in your bed? There’s nothing like it right? We need to create this feeling for our babies and it takes time. Remember, this is a big change. Here are some tips to ease the transition:
•Move slowly. It’s an A-Z transition. You cannot immediately go from A to Z without signing the whole alphabet.
•Spend some time in their room and crib in the week or so leading up to the change. Let them play. Play peekaboo. Hang out and put away laundry. Get older siblings involved. Make it a fun, calm, happy space. The goal is to have Baby release endorphins in their new room and in the crib.
•Start doing some elements of their sleep routine in their room. For example, putting on pjs, nursing, or reading a story.
•Introduce a comfort object as appropriate (safe sleep guidelines recommend nothing in the crib until 12 months). I’ve had some parents snuggle up with baby’s sheets a few times before putting them on the crib so they can sense you. You may also consider spilling some breastmilk on their sheets.
•If your baby was sleeping in a bassinet or portable crib, move it their room and let them sleep in there for naps and for the first few nights. When they appear to be comfortable with the new room, then try moving them to the crib.
•Once you’ve moved baby to their crib, aim for small goals. Any stretch of sleep in the crib is positive. They may only sleep for the first 5-15 mins and then wake. That’s a start. If they wake, parent them back to sleep in your usual way and place them back in the crib and repeat.
•It can be helpful to place a heating pad or warm towel in the crib and remove it prior to transferring Baby. This may help prevent them waking due to the temperature change.
•If sleep just isn’t lengthening and the crib converts, you can remove the one side of the crib and secure it to your bed (side car), so baby can get used to the crib while also sleeping next you. You may also try this step first and then transition to their own room.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
•Know that some babies, particularly as they approach 9 months, may never take to the crib and may do better with a floor bed. If you choose to go straight to a floor bed, please be sure to child proof the room (e.g., baby gates, furniture bolted down, tie up cords, cover electrical sockets, etc). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
•Only make the change if you’re comfortable with it and this is something that you WANT to do. If you’re feeling stressed, uncomfortable, pressured…Baby will pick up on those tensions and reflect them back (hello mirror neurons). A problem isn’t a problem until it’s a problem for YOU and your family. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
If you need more one on one support, please don’t hesitate to reach out or check-out our sleep support services.
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