More often than not, babies start life by sleeping in their parents’ room. Isn’t this the case with you? For one thing, it’s the safest spot for the baby, and it strengthens the parent-baby bond, and it is convenient for the mother for those midnight feeds.
However, as the baby grows, you feel it’s time that you want to have your space back. Does this mean Baby will have a bedroom all to himself or herself? Yes, it does.
Now, the question arises: When do you put your baby in a crib in his own room? And how? Parents are often bewildered by these matters, wondering whether it’s too soon or perhaps too late. Second, are there any particular tips to follow in transitioning your baby from your bed to his own crib in his very own bedroom?
We sum up the views of experts on both these matters. To know what they are, read on:
When to Transition Your Baby to his Own Room
The American Academy of Paediatrics states that babies should be kept sleeping with their parents, though not in the same bed until they are six months old as this reduces the risk of sleep-related deaths.
Of course, it would be better if this could be delayed for a whole year so that the infant has a lowered risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The risk of SIDS is also lowered due to the mother keeping her baby close to her and breastfeeding her conveniently.
The bond between mother and infant also grows when both are together, sleeping in the same room. The baby realizes that you are close to him, as he adjusts to life outside the womb.
Another reason for shifting the baby into his own bedroom at six months of age is that at this age they become aware of their surroundings and can adjust to their new environment easily.
How to Transition Your Baby to his Bedroom
- To begin with, set up your baby’s bedroom so that it’s safe for him. So, ensure there’s a firm mattress, a fitted sheet and away from toys, blankets, etc. Your baby should always be placed on his back on a flat mattress surface, away from distractions like toys, bumpers, etc.
- Let him nap in the nursery during the day so that he gets used to his new environment. Then, allow him to sleep in his own room during the night.
- Just so that the transition is smooth, get him into a sleep routine that he must adhere to. For instance, you can go to his room to change his diaper, lower the lights, read him a story and turn off the lights while singing a lullaby to him. Then, when he’s lulled into sleep, leave the room.
- If you wonder how your baby is going to adapt in his new bedroom, sleep there with him for the first few nights. Then, return to your room.
- Familiarize your baby with his room before you make the complete change. Introduce him to his room by spending a little time here each day. Read him a story here or play with his toys. Tell him of all the toys he has there to play with and then let him explore his own room. This exploratory behavior will prepare him for the total move.
- If he’s teething, don’t make the transition. Perhaps, he’s got a cold due to teething, which means his sleep is disturbed. So, don’t distress him anymore by making the big move now. Let his ailments be out of the way before you make the transition.
- Create an easy bedtime routine for your baby, such as bath, story time, snuggle up to mama and finally sleep. As you repeat this in the same order each night, your baby will understand that at the end of this ritual, his crib waits for him.
- You can also go with him to his room and sleep on a couch near him, but not with him as before. Spending a few nights in this way can give him the confidence that though you’re not right next to him, you’re still near him if he needs you.
- Give your baby a chance to get used to his surroundings and get comfortable here while you wait in the room. The point is that you don’t drop him and scoot off to do your chores. So, one night, you can sit close to him in a chair. Next night, sit in the same chair, but at a distance and so on, until you’re out of the door and he’s happy to be on his own.
You might use any strategy to get your little one to adapt to his own bedroom, but be there for him as he bares it out on his own and sleeps peacefully alone.