All co-sleeping families are familiar with the feeling—as much as you’ve enjoyed the many benefits co-sleeping has to offer, it just feels like the right time to encourage baby to move away from your side and into a space of their own.
And though you’re fully confident that the time to transition has come, you’re wondering how to transition baby from co sleeping to crib in the easiest and most stress-free way possible. With the help of a few tips, tricks, and best practices, you can ease the transition for baby while making the experience worry-free for you.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY
On the list of best practices for how to transition baby from co sleeping to crib being consistent takes the top spot. It can be difficult (okay, not just difficult—impossible!) to think logically when you’re woken up at 2 am from a deep dream state.
But once you’ve put a plan for transition in place, it’s important to follow it. Keeping consistent will help baby feel more comfortable with the changes and make it easier for you to get back to the long nights of restful sleep you crave.
Of course, there might be nights when your half-asleep brain doesn’t quite stop your parenting instincts in time and your transition plan goes out the window. Don’t worry about one or two-speed bumps along the way—just get back on track with your transition plan the next night.
KEEP BABY CLOSE
Just because you’ve decided to move baby into a crib of their own doesn’t mean you have to move them far away. Choosing to gradually transition from co sleeping to crib can ease some of the stress for both you and baby.
On the first night, keep baby close by pushing the crib firmly against your bed. That way, your baby will be able to take comfort in the familiar feeling of sleeping by your side. As the nights go on, slowly start moving your baby’s crib farther away from your own sleeping space until baby is fully comfortable and confident sleeping away from your side.
For families who have been enjoying the many benefits of a bedside co sleeper throughout their co sleeping journey, this gradual transition can be made even easier. Use a conversion kit to transform your bedside co sleeper into a baby bassinet. Then make a plan to start moving your baby’s bassinet away from your bedside slowly during the nights ahead.
Because baby is already familiar with the sensations of sleeping in their made-just-for-them baby bedside co sleeper, they’ll feel more confident and comfortable as they adjust to the changes in their sleep routine.
Instead of feeling the impact of many surprise changes at once (New mattress! New crib! More distance away from you!), they’ll be happy to catch some Z’s in the familiar sleeping space they already love.
SLEEP WITH THEIR STUFF (SO THAT THEY FEEL LIKE THEY’RE SLEEPING BESIDE YOU!)
Your baby has slept right beside you for many nights, which means they’ve gotten used to being calmed by the familiar feeling of sensing you nearby. (Fun fact: because newborns are still learning how to find meaning in all the things they see and hear daily, they develop a strong awareness of smell.)
Putting a little extra care into making sure that baby still feels the sensation of having you close—even when you’re across the room—can go a long way in making sure nights remain stress-free and rest-filled for all. Sleep with your baby’s bed sheets for a few nights before you start the transition from co sleeping to crib, so that when the time comes to set them up for sleep, they are surrounded by comfortable items that smell like you.
Of course, you’ll want to choose the item you give to baby wisley. Sleeping with bulky blankets or plush toys can be a safety concern for newborns.
But by sleeping with baby’s sheets and fitting them snugly on your baby’s mattress before they tuck in for the night, you’ll be able to help soothe your baby and keep any separation anxiety away–without a single safety concern.
PICK THE RIGHT TIME.
Only you know what’s best for you and your family—which means only you know when will be the right time to transition baby from co sleeping to crib.
For many families, the decision to stop co-sleeping will come when baby becomes too active during the night, or you decide that it would be better for you to get back to having some space of your own. But even if your decision to transition away from co-sleeping is accompanied by some need to make the switch now; feelings set the stage for an easy transition by making sure that it’s a good time to start a new routine.
Avoid making big changes when family is in town, a big project is forcing you to work long hours, or other big life events are taking over your time and emotional energy.
Making sure that both you and baby are feeling settled, calm, and ready to rock and roll toward a new routine will help keep things feeling stress-free.
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!
Though many parents wondering how to transition from co-sleeping to crib feel pressure to get the process “perfect,” remember that only you know what works best for your family.
Give yourself a break if there’s a day when your perfectly-made plans go out the window and know that your baby will get comfortable and content with the transition from co sleeping to crib soon.