Sleep Transitions: Part 2 - Parent’s Room to Child’s Room
This is the 2nd post of a 3-part blog on sleep transitions. The first is on transitioning from a parent’s bed to a crib, and then third is on transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed. Check out all 3 posts, or pick the one you are most interested in!
By 6 months most parents are ready to have their baby sleeping in their own room. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in the same room with a parent up to 12 months, so each family needs to decide when they are comfortable moving their baby out of their room. (Some parents decide to sleep all together and create a family bed, or family sleeping room, which is fine too, keeping in mind the importance of creating a safe sleeping space.)
Putting a mattress in the baby’s room can be beneficial, so one parent can continue to sleep close by. This gives each parent a chance to sleep in their own room for part of the night, or to switch off nights.
Most babies sleep better once they are in their own room as they are not as likely to be awakened by sounds. You may think you are being super quiet, but your baby may sense you are there, and want to engage.
At this age, if you are bed-sharing, you may find your baby is waking frequently throughout the night to nurse back to sleep, or to check in with you. Some babies think it’s fun to babble at, swat at, pull at, a parent at 2am. Also, this is an age where babies are more mobile and if your bed is off the floor, there is a greater risk of your baby crawling off the bed. If you decide you want to continue to bed-share, I think it’s best to put your mattress on the floor so you minimize the risk of a fall.
If you find that you are ready to move your baby to their own room it’s best to set up (or move) the crib early in the day so you can spend some time in your baby’s room getting them used to the space.
While your baby is awake and not too tired, walk around the room together and talk about how this is your baby’s cozy sleeping place and how nice it is. You can put your baby down in their crib and just stand there, or move around the room so they get used to being in their crib while awake. Don’t leave them for long - it’s just a chance for your baby to get used to the space.
Start with putting your baby down at nap time in their room. Go through your usual nap time routine, and be sure you can make the room dark with curtains or shades. Have a sound machine on while they sleep.
Talk to your baby about how nice it is to have their own room to sleep in and how they are safe, and you will be close by.
Put your baby down awake and give them some time to move around and get settled. If they just can’t let go to sleep, then help them get to sleep as you usually do. You can go back to your room and your bed (or their pack and play) so your baby can get the sleep they need.
Keep starting out in their room for naps and for bedtime, and know you can pull them back into your room if needed.
If you decide not to set up a crib in your baby’s room, then you can use a mattress on the floor and help your baby get used to sleeping that way. If you do this, you have to think of the whole room as the crib in case your baby crawls off their bed and starts exploring. Nothing should be in the room that can be climbed on, or pulled down. It’s best to have a visual monitor set up so you can keep an eye on your baby.
Find posts on the other sleep transitions here:
If you find the transition from your bed to a crib or toddler bed is proving to be difficult, let me know, and we can set up a call. I’d be happy to help.
Disclaimer: Elizabeth Green's Early Parenting Sleep Consultations and written materials are for educational purposes only and are not meant as medical advice. All spoken and written information is to be used at each parents' discretion.