How do I get my little one to sleep in their crib?!
This just might be the most popular question that I get asked! I wanted to start off by saying that I fully support bed sharing families, if this is your starting point! Families come to me for many reasons looking to make the transition from bed sharing to crib, and I always like to start by exploring the underlying reason for change. By far the most common reason is night weaning, and I love educating families about gentle solutions around night weaning, while protecting the bed sharing relationship, it is possible! Other families are looking to move baby from bassinet to crib, either in the parent’s room or into the nursery. Whatever the reason may be, I wanted to take some time today to talk about how you can lay the foundation for a successful transition for an independent sleep space. The more time you spend on these basics, the more comfortable it will for both little one and parents. Moving your baby to sleep in their crib, and/or in their own room, does not have to be stressful, it is indeed a parent led change, so evaluating baby’s temperament through the change is critical for success. Although I also work with families transitioning to floor beds, this article will focus on the crib space!
Play is so important for children for so many reasons, it’s how they learn, adapt to their environment, express emotions and explore their imagination. Make sure to fill the space with positive associations, having some toys that they love, if they have a lovey be sure to bring that into the space, put a family picture up on the wall at a level that they can see it. Make sure to engage in silly play, peekaboo or hide and seek, both with lights on and off. Get your little one laughing and having a positive experience in the space, and make sure they know how happy you are to be in the space as well, they read our emotions.
Try putting baby into the crib at various points during the bed time routine, instead of “saving” it for the last step. So, for example, if you like to do bath, books, milk then sleep, try crib for some play, bath, in the crib for a book, and then milk and sleep. Also consider trying this exposure throughout the day!
One transition that works well for many bed sharing families is to take the side off of the crib and turn it into a side car. This method helps get baby used to the crib sleep space, while being close to mom and the common space. Of course, care must be taken for babies who are on the move!
Some easy-going babies may take to the new sleep space very well, other babies might take longer to adjust. This is a parent led adjustment to sleep, and will often be met with some protest and emotion. This is where it is so important to schedule a consult to help address all aspects your little one’s sleep, help make the transition smooth, and have daily support and troubleshooting!