So you've decided it's time to move your baby from the family bed to another location in your bedroom. Congrats — this is a milestone, even if it isn't quite as major as moving your kid into his very own bed. And since this move will involve some changes for everyone, there are ways to transition from bed-sharing to co-sleeping that will make it a little easier.
Making your kid's separate sleep area an inviting place to take a snooze may require a little planning on your part. After all, a bassinet, crib, or sidecar sleeper may not feel quite as warm as the beloved family bed. However, with a little bit of time and effort, you can make your kid's corner of the bedroom as cozy as ever.
For what it's worth, co-sleeping puts you in good company. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it's safest for an infant to sleep in the same room as caregivers, without sharing the same bed. This allows the parents to keep a close eye on the little one and meet needs immediately, but it also prevents the baby from the danger of getting squished by a sleeping adult. Here are a few ways to make the move out of the family bed a little smoother.
1. Put Your Baby On Her Back To Sleep
When you're putting your baby down for bed in her bassinet or crib, make sure she's on her back. In fact, always putting babies to sleep on their backs is an important way to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, as noted in Parents. It's the safest way for your baby to sleep.
2. Clear The Area
Your baby's sleep surface should be pretty clear. Stuffed animals, pillows, or fluffy bedding should not be in your kid's crib, as noted by the University of Notre Dame's Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory. These may present a suffocation hazard.
3. Keep Pets Away From Your Sleeping Baby
Sure, your cat won't really steal your baby's soul while she's sleeping (or whatever that old wives' tale claimed). But for the time being, it may be best to keep your pets out of your bedroom and away from the crib entirely, as noted by PET-happy. This means you, your baby, and your pet will be able to sleep easy without any fear of bites, scratches, or pulled tails.
4. Use Layers
If your baby used to sleep right beside you, the bedside bassinet may feel a bit chilly. To keep your little one warm, take a cue from Baby Center and dress your baby in layers, such as pajamas or a sleep sacks. This will keep your infant warm and safe.
5. Stay Close
To make the transition easiest for everyone, you may want to keep the bassinet as close as possible to your bed, at least for the first few nights. This may help your baby stress less, as noted by Parenting. Plus, you won't have to go far for those nighttime feedings.
6. Consider A Side Car
You may be able to make a side car sleeper out of your normal crib., according to The Stir. It lets both mom and baby enjoy maximum sleeping space while still remaining in arm's reach.
7. Maintain A Healthy Sleep Space
Many of the rules you followed for bed-sharing still apply. For instance, making sure your bedroom remains totally smoke-free can help your baby sleep soundly, as noted by the Safe to Sleep campaign. This may even lower your infant's chances of getting SIDS.
8. Check In With Your Partner
Is co-sleeping the best option for everyone in your family? After you've had a little adjustment time, check in with your partner. Maybe the baby's presence in your room is reassuring or maybe it's thrown their sleep schedule out of whack. Whatever the case, it's a good idea to make sure the co-sleeping setup isn't leaving anyone out in the cold.
9. Chat With Your Doctor
Even the most tentative peek into child sleep research will show you a world of conflicting information. If you're still uncertain about whether co-sleeping is the best option for your family, then don't hesitate to discuss all the options with your pediatrician, as noted on The Huffington Post. Tailored, professional advice is the best of all.