Co-sleeping offers you and your baby many benefits such as making it easier to nurse and increasing your family bond.
Having everyone in the same room also helps you to make sure that your baby is safe throughout the night.
While you’ve enjoyed sleeping together as a family for the past several months, there eventually comes a time when your baby is ready to sleep in their own crib.
However, every new stage in your baby’s life tends to bring lots of new questions, and you may be wondering exactly how to make the big move to a crib without upsetting your little one.
As you prepare for this major milestone in your baby’s life, you can use this guide to make transitioning from co-sleeping to crib easier for everyone.
- When It’s Time to Stop Co-Sleeping
- What to Expect When Moving Your Baby to Their Own Room
- Tips to Ease the Transition
- What to Do When Your Baby Won’t Sleep In The Crib
How to Know When It’s Time to Stop Co-Sleeping
Although tons of research has been done on the benefits of co-sleeping, no one has found an exact age regarding when it is time to stop.
While some babies are ready to stop co-sleeping at one month old, others may prefer sharing a bed with their parents until they are well past a year old.
For this reason, you must pay attention to your child’s cues to know when to stop co-sleeping.
Some babies show that they are ready to stop co-sleeping through physical behaviors. For instance, you may notice that your baby tosses and turns more than they used to do, or your movements during the night may wake them up.
Babies who are breastfeeding may demand to nurse more during these times in an effort to soothe themselves back to sleep.
Your baby may also be ready to stop co-sleeping if they struggle with falling asleep without you in the bed.
For some babies, the walls of a crib provide them with a sense of security once they begin to roll over.
You may also see signs that your baby is comfortable sleeping alone. For instance, they may easily fall and stay asleep for naps without you in the bed.
For older babies and toddlers, they may ask to sleep alone. If your one-year-old regularly asks to go into their crib, then they may be trying to tell you that it is time to stop co-sleeping.
Keep in mind that you may also be ready yourself for this big milestone to happen. This is especially true if your baby’s sleep habits are keeping you from getting enough rest at night.
Some parents become ready to transition their baby to the crib when they become pregnant again or need to go back to work.
These reasons are perfectly valid, and you should always consider your needs as a parent when you weigh this big decision.
What to Expect When Moving Your Baby to Their Own Room
Naturally, you can expect to experience a wide range of emotions when you are transitioning from co-sleeping to crib.
At first, both you and your baby may feel strange sleeping without each other, but you will quickly realize that you are able to maintain the same bond.
In fact, sleeping separately allows you both the opportunity to grow in new ways, and there is something so sweet about going to your baby’s crib to find them smiling first thing in the morning.
In addition to simply missing each other at bedtime, you may find that your baby exhibits some resistance to the new sleeping arrangements.
For some babies, it becomes harder to fall asleep, and your baby may begin to cry when you leave the room.
Do not be surprised if your baby acts fine for the first night or two and then suddenly begins to exhibit fear or frustration at bedtime.
This is also normal, and it is usually because your baby is finally realizing that the new arrangements are meant to be permanent.
The video below is about “cry it out” methods:
Sometimes, young babies need a few days to notice that something is becoming part of their normal routine.
Tips to Ease Transitioning From Co-Sleeping to Crib
If you are fortunate, your baby will just love their new crib so much that they never cause a problem.
However, it is more likely that you will encounter a few challenges during the first several weeks of transitioning from co-sleeping to crib.
To ease the transition, you can begin introducing your baby to their crib slowly. Try laying your baby down in the crib for naps at first so that they get used to the sensations involved with their new sleeping area.
Once they get used to sleeping in their crib for naps, then you can start putting them in their bed for their normal bedtime.
Ideally, you should do as much as you can to keep the rest of your baby’s bedtime routine the same.
For example, you should continue to give your baby a bath and read them a book before bed if that’s what you have always done.
You can also spend a few extra minutes rocking them before bedtime to give them the satisfying feeling of cuddling together like they enjoyed when you were co-sleeping.
If your baby is older, you can also introduce the concept of sleeping in their own bed by reading stories that incorporate the topic into the storylines.
You can also help your baby role play going to bed on their own by having them help put a doll to sleep in a toy crib.
Spending time talking about the process of sleeping in their own crib helps your baby to accept that this is a normal transition in their life.
Remember that even babies that are a few months old can understand what you say, so continue to discuss their new bedtime routine in soothing language.
What to Do When Your Baby Refuses to Sleep In The Crib
Doing some prep work usually helps to make the transition easier, but you could still find yourself dealing with a baby who refuses to sleep in their crib without a fight.
Unfortunately, listening to those screams coming from the nursery is heart-wrenching, and your natural instinct may be to rush in and snuggle with your baby in your bed.
The good news is that there are several things you can do to help your baby if they respond negatively to the end of co-sleeping.
For some parents, moving the crib into the room with them works. With this strategy, you place the crib near your bed so that your baby has the security of seeing and feeling you in the same room with them.
Once they adjust to this, you can then begin to move the crib away from your sleeping area a little at a time until they are finally sleeping in their nursery.
When it seems as though your baby just needs reassurance that you will respond to their screams, you can introduce them to the practice of self-soothing.
Depending upon your baby’s age and your parenting preferences, provide them with different strategies that they can use to feel more secure at night.
You can consider the overall ambiance of your baby’s room.
For some babies, too much light could make them feel like they are being expected to sleep during the daytime. Other babies may be terrified of being alone in the complete darkness.
Try adjusting different elements of your child’s sleeping space. Play music to see if it helps them calm down or try moving the location of their bed to a different wall.
Sometimes, just a little change in the environment is all it takes to ease bedtime battles during this transition.
The video below is about how a couple helped their baby to sleep in her own room
Now that you’ve decided to transition your baby to independent sleeping arrangements, remember that this time represents a major change for everyone.
Spend some extra time cuddling with your baby during the day, and keep in mind that every new stage in your baby’s life requires a little patience.
In time, your baby will eventually learn to love their crib, and you will one day soon find that they drift quickly off to sleep after their bedtime routine.
- What To Do If Your Baby Won’t Sleep Alone?
- When Do You Put Your Baby in Their Own Room? (My experience)
- What to Do if Your Baby Wakes Up Every Hour at Night?
- 3-Month-Old Nap Schedule
- The Best Baby Light Show Projector
- Myths and Truths About Co-Sleeping
- When Your Baby Won’t Sleep in the Bedside Bassinet
Video credits: IntermountainMoms.