Most parents struggle with how to get baby to sleep in crib after co-sleeping since birth. The best time to start the transition is between six months to eight months of age. There are many reasons for wanting to end co-sleeping and introduce baby to the crib which include;
- Your child is old enough to sleep by themselves
- Ensure everyone is sleeping well by having enough space
- Parents are not disturbed during the night and get enough sleep hence are well-rested in the morning
Whatever your reason, getting a baby to sleep in their own space is possible. Hopefully, these tips help you make a gentle and successful sleep transition.
How To Get Baby To Sleep In Crib After Co-Sleeping
Have A Plan
Ensure you know exactly what you want to do. Avoid making the changes in the middle of the night or out of the blue. All parents and caregivers should be on board with the plan.
Have One Parent Lead The Sleep Transition
Mom being the primary caregiver sometimes is too overwhelmed or unable to detach easily, and babies may respond well to Dad or another caregiver, putting them down to sleep for the night.
If you notice your baby responds well to either of you during bedtime or goes back to sleep faster in the middle of the night, ensure that person can primarily assist with the process.
Pick The Right Time
Picking the right time to start the change is highly recommended. Choose a time when you don’t have a lot of things to do or are very busy.
Holidays, after working long hours or when having live in visitors is not a good time to change a sleep routine as those activities require a lot of emotional energy and will leave you too tired to handle the sleep transition.
Best time might be on a Friday night, heading into a weekend when you have no night time plans. Dedicate a few days to the process as this will ensure you are consistent.
Keep The Crib In Your Room
Babies may be apprehensive about sleeping by themselves in an unfamiliar place, and it’s best to have the crib in your room. This will also make it easy for you to adjust and stick to the plan as you do not need to get up and go all the way to the baby’s room.
Make the crib safe for the little one by removing any extra blankets, pillows or toys. They are a potential hazard and also a distraction for the baby.
This is the best time to introduce a transition object to the young one. A blanket or a stuffed animal for the baby to sleep with would be ideal.
Napping In The Crib
Get your baby used to sleep in their bed by introducing day time naps in there. This lets the baby know that the crib is their place to sleep, and this makes the night-time transition much more manageable.
Establish A Routine
As bedtime approaches, set up a routine with the baby so that they know it’s time for bed and get used to it. If you decide to have bath time before bed, babies will get used to this routine and always understand bedtime.
This may be difficult for the first few days, but once the baby understands the routine and adapts to the changes, they will settle in by themselves. This is the most crucial tip when wondering how to get baby to sleep in crib after co-sleeping.
If you decide to use a white noise machine, leave it on throughout the night. This also applies for a night light.
White noise creates a comforting environment for the baby. It mimics the sounds your baby heard in the womb and helps them to calm down and sleep better.
Once you lay the baby down to sleep, be close by and ready to respond to their needs. During co-sleeping, the baby was within reach, and they could reach out and touch you at any time. Being nearby allows you to touch them, and this enables them to settle in faster.
The baby will wake up several times in the night or if you are lucky only once or twice. This will get better with time, and before long they will be sleeping through the night with minimal disruption.
Consistency is very crucial to your success. The main reason most parents fail at moving the baby from their bed is that they are inconsistent. This process will be hard for some babies than others.
There are a couple of nights when the baby may end up in bed with you but don’t worry; you will get back on track if you stick to the plan.
What If I Am Not Sure If I Am Doing The Right Thing?
If you do not stick to the plan and embrace the process, you are setting both you and the baby for failure. However, if you stick to the plan, I encourage you to follow it through despite the middle of the night interruptions.
Give it a week or two. If you stop too soon, you and the baby will have made a change for nothing and may make it more difficult in the future. You can do it.
What To Do During The Night To Help
- Understand what calms the baby at night before bed. Maybe a bath or white noise.
- Ensure night feeds are relaxed.
- Do not overstimulate the baby.
- Reduce the lighting in the room. You can use a night light or turn on the hallway light.
- If necessary, have very brief night time visits.
What To Do During The Day To Help At Night
- Make feeding times for high energy activities.
- Allow natural light into the room.
- Shorten day time naps.
Even though it’s the lazy and easy way to have the baby sleeping next to you, it is the ideal time for you to transition the baby to sleeping in the crib. It is a big step for all of you. Once the baby is well adjusted to sleeping on their own, it will establish a proper sleeping arrangement for the whole family.
For the parents wondering how to get baby to sleep in crib after co-sleeping and whether that works, I can assure you it does work. The most important thing is never to give up.