In the early days of a child’s life many parents, especially breastfeeding mothers, choose to co-sleep with their infants. When done safely, co-sleeping can be extremely beneficial in ensuring the entire family gets some sleep. As babies grow though, so can the inconveniences. The lack of personal space and alone time can become a burden and, by the time your child is a year old, many parents are ready to reclaim their bed as their own. This transition, though often easy for the parents, is new and frightening for the child.
Today, we’re going to look at 3 suggestions for gently transitioning your baby or toddler from your bed to theirs.
1. Stay Together
Look at it from your baby’s point of view. Up until now, all they’ve ever known is sleeping next to the people they love the most. Now, he’s expected to sleep alone in a box. Scary, right? The most convenient thing about your history of co-sleeping is that you can use yourself as a base of comfort. Your child knows that you offer protection at night, so you can use this knowledge to your advantage. Rather than offering a new night crutch, like back rubbing or rocking, place yourself in baby’s view as they drift off. Your presence will reassure them that they are safe.
Sometimes, you being there isn’t enough to completely comfort them though. Instead of plopping your child down alone in the crib in their new room, try bringing the crib to them. Set it up somewhere near your bed so that he can recognize his surroundings and know that he is safe. If your bedroom just doesn’t have the space for a crib, join him in his room for a sleepover. Simply having you near throughout the night to encourage and calm him during wake-ups will result in a much easier transition.
2. Baby Steps
For babies and children alike, nighttime is often when they want their parents the most. It’s dark, the house makes strange sounds, and sometimes they just need that bit of reassurance. In the early days of transitioning, only utilize the crib at nap-time. By showing your child that she can securely sleep for a short chunk of time when it’s still light outside, she will gently be able to adjust to sleeping in there all the time. Starting with naps will also be easier on you, because you’ll already be awake! In the initial adjustment days, baby may not sleep more than 20-30 minutes in the crib at a time. This constant waking can quickly get exhausting during the night, so the more familiar they are with the crib, the more likely they are to go to sleep.
As she becomes more accustomed to her sleeping environment, you can slowly start moving out of the room, eventually leaving before she even falls asleep.
This is a new milestone, and one that often doesn’t come easily. Be empathetic to your baby’s emotional well-being. On the same token, you must also be strong and persistent. The first week of transition is the toughest, and can have you feeling like the parent of a newborn again. Fight the urge to give in and bring baby to bed with you in the middle of the night. This will only confuse your baby by teaching him that when he wakes, he will come back to your bed.
For many co-sleeping babies, the smell of their mother creates a deep sense of security. For a night or so, sleep with a small baby blanket in bed with you to get your scent on it. It could be beneficial to introduce this into the crib of older babies with well-established head control, as the smell of their mother often leads to deeper, more sound sleep. Because of the risk of SIDS, it is not recommended to have anything in the crib with young infants.
Keep in mind that a transition is a passage – and it won’t last forever. Try and give baby, and yourself, a little extra patience during this time, and we promise, you will sleep again.
Looking for Un-Nursing Wear?
If you need to add some nursing clothing to your wardrobe, but don’t want to spend money on pieces you’ll only wear for a short period of time, then head on over to Melody Lane for the best in regular clothing that is versatile enough to wear before, during, and after breastfeeding! They offer trendy, classic, and comfortable clothing that is hand-picked for all the life stages women usually experience. With nothing over $100, always free shipping, and new styles featured every season, Melody Lane makes sure your “fashion meets life”.
Photo Credits: How He’s Raised