For many parents, co-sleeping is amazing. . . for a season. As your baby gets older (ie. takes up more space on the bed than you and your partner combined,) you may be wondering how to transition your baby from co-sleeping to a crib in their own room. It's a daunting task, especially because your child has become accustomed to the warmth and comfort that come with sleeping right next to you. Luckily, with a little bit of patience and routine, a child's sleep habits are fairly easy to change.
Although the steps for transitioning are pretty straightforward, it's easier said than done in some cases. Depending on your child's personality, it may be more difficult than you were anticipating. In this case, it's fine to wait a little bit and try again, or simply stretch out your transition period. For other babies though, it will be second nature (they may even sleep better on their own,)
Just because you co-slept once doesn't mean you're in it for the long haul if you don't want to be. Using these simple steps your child will be sleeping happily in their own bed before you know it.
1. Get Them Acquainted With Their New Room
Since they'll likely be transitioning into a new bedroom, get them used to being in their room before they actually sleep there. Play in it, read stories together, and let them take naps in their crib, that way they're not blindsided when you expect them to sleep in it at nighttime too. For older kids, the Baby Sleep Site suggested "laying the groundwork" by talking to them about what's about to happen, surrounding the idea of their own room with positive associations.
2. Use The Fading Sleep Training Method
For a gentle sleep training approach, use the "fading method" which simply teaches your child to sleep on their own gradually, over a period of weeks. According to Baby Center, you can either "camp out" with your child, gradually moving further away, until you're out of the room when they fall asleep, or you can use a timer to go sooth them every few minutes until they fall asleep..
3. Establish A Consistent Nighttime Routine
Whether or not you had an elaborate bedtime routine while you co-slept or simply crawled into bed together, a calming and consistent routine may help tremendously when your child is sleeping in their own room. According to the National Sleep Foundation, doing the same thing each night will help you child know when it's time for bed and calm down accordingly.
4. Let Them Smell You
No, really. Giving your child something of yours to sleep with (as long as they're old enough, of course) like a shirt or blanket may help them sooth themselves back to sleep when they wake up, according to the Baby Center.
5. Make It A Gradual Transition
Remember that they may not make it all through the night in their new bed at first, and that's ok. Kids need time to adjust, and if you're patient with the transition, eventually they'll have their own room and love it.