I’ve always co-slept with my kids for their first year (and beyond in some cases). I’m all for it and love the ease of nighttime feedings and cuddles. But inevitably, there comes a point where I want my bed back, I want to wean the feedings, and I want to really sleep without the subconscious worry that someone is going to fall off of the bed. Additionally, I prefer to do this in the gentlest way possible with the least amount of crying and distress…it’s not an easy task to transition from co-sleeping to independent sleep. Here are a few tips (and an AMAZING product) that might make this transition a bit easier.
Transitioning from Co-Sleeping to Crib Sleeping with these Gentle Tips
1. Try, try, and try again. My hope is that after reading these tips, you might feel empowered to successfully navigate what I have found to be one of the most difficult transitions for my kiddos. My hope for you is that it IS an easy transition…but in many cases (mine included) that isn’t always the case. That’s OK. That’s NORMAL. It does not mean you have failed. It simply means that one go at it just might not be enough. Regroup, and try again.
2. Get the DockATot. I’m not a huge product pusher when it comes to babies, even though my affinity for shopping (and a good sale) might lead to you to believe differently. I generally believe that there isn’t much that can replace the arms of a mother, however, there are a few products that help a child feel comforted and safe. The DockATot comes in two sizes, the Deluxe and the Grand to be used with children from birth up to 36 months. I have recently been transitioning my 14 month old from our bed to his crib. If I said that this was an easy feat, I’d be lying. What I’m not lying about, is that the DockATot has helped. We are able to put him down in his crib in the DockATot at the beginning of the night and he is quite comfortable. He loves to lounge in it during the day, and my 3 year old begs to have her turn in ‘the bed’. We did get a chance to try out the Deluxe size (for 0-8 months) and he has much outgrown that, although still seems quite comfy. Check out their Instagram page to see just how comfy some other littles have been in it! And, BONUS, the prints are super cute AND you can get 10% off by clicking here!
3. Use the power of scent. Giving your child something that smells like you in their crib can be quite comforting. At the end of the night when you take off your shirt, put it in the crib so that the scent of you is there.
4. Let music help the transition. Play the same music at bedtime when co-sleeping, and then when transitioning to crib. Going to sleep is often about association for babies, the same sounds will make the space feel safe and familiar.
5. Try lavender essential oils. The soothing scent of lavender has been proven to help many babies sleep at night. You can try it in a diffuser, or in a roller bottle to place a bit on the soles of baby’s feet as part of your routine.
6. Build a routine. Bath, book, and cuddles consistently every night leading up to bedtime can really help engrave that association for baby. By having a consistent routine, your little one will know exactly what is coming whether you are expecting them to sleep in your bed or on their own.
7. Ask for help. If you have a significant other, asking for help can go A LONG way. I know for me, because I typically breastfeed past a year (throughout the night) breaking the cosleeping habit can be especially tough. By having my husband rock the baby, and lay him back in his crib, is a much easier option for my baby to accept from him as opposed to me.
8. Sit by the bed while baby falls asleep. If you baby really craves the closeness and the cuddles, taking that away dramatically might be too hard on everyone involved. If your baby is in a crib, sit on the floor next to it and rub your baby’s back or hold the baby’s hand. If you little one is in a toddler bed, this might be even easier to do. My littles always enjoyed this process and laying their head on my arm while on the toddler bed. Disclaimer: Your arm WILL fall asleep like this 😉
9. Slowly fade the process. If you are sitting on the floor next to the crib/toddler bed, after a few nights maybe try to take your hand away. After that, scoot a bit further from the bed, and continue this process until you are sitting by the door, then the hallway, etc. There isn’t a science to this, you just have to take cues from your child and go at a pace that feels comfortable for the both of you.
10. Respond quickly. When your child cries, attend to them. Remind yourself that they are used to being right next to you. They feel your warmth, your breath, and your heartbeat. They transition from these comforts of co-sleeping to a bed all on their own, which is a lot to handle. Remind them that when they need you, you are there for them. And then start again at #1…try…and try again.
Good luck 🙂 And here’s to you finally spreading out on the bed, and getting a GREAT night’s sleep.
Disclaimer: I received product from DockATot for free with the hopes that I would mention the product on my blog.