As soon as you bring home your new bundle of joy, you go into protection mode. For many parents, this often means co-sleeping.
To avoid staying awake all hours of the night to listen for any small type of noise or movement on a baby monitor, parents often let their baby sleep in their room. Having your baby near your bed can give you peace of mind.
Although there used to be a debate about co-sleeping, the American Academy of Pediatrics also suggests that room sharing is ideal for infants during the first six months. Unfortunately, this is the timeframe when 90 percent of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) cases happen.
Despite the first six months being the most important time to keep a close eye on your little one by co-sleeping, it’s still recommended to let your baby sleep in the same room for a full year.
“The other 10 percent of SIDS-related cases occur during the second six months,” says Lori Feldman-Winter, a professor of pediatrics at Cooper University Hospital.
Of course, there are going to be various opinions on the length of time baby should be sleeping in your room. According to The Penn State Study, involving 279 moms who delivered their babies at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, claim that six months of sharing a room is enough.
They claim any further time than that can disrupt healthy sleep. According to their study, during nine months, babies who slept in their rooms got 40 more minutes of sleep than babies who co-slept at the same age.
“Inadequate sleep can lead to poor sleep and obesity later in life, which can negatively affect parents,” says study author Ian Paul.
4 Ways to Smoothly Transition to the Crib
The ultimate decision boils down to what’s best for you and your family. But what do you do once baby reaches the point to sleep in his or her crib in their room? Here’s how to make the adjustment non-stressful.
1. Invest in a Sound Machine
Having a sound machine or white noise gadget can be an effective way to get baby in a sleep routine. This machine has the power to muffle any outside noises and can trigger baby’s brain to fall asleep.
For nine months, your little one got accustomed to the loud noise of your heartbeat and breathing. The white noise would feel natural and soothing.
2. Always Have a Routine
Before you even attempt to put the baby down in the crib, make sure you have a routine. Having a nighttime ritual will set you up for success. A routine will allow your baby to familiarize themselves with what to expect at this time of night.
For example, if you give your little one a bath and read a story before bed, he or she will become familiar with the routine. As this routine develops, your baby will always know what to expect, and you will have less time with any fuss.
“Routine also serves as a way to enhance your child’s development,” says Larry Shapiro, Ph.D. and author of The Secret Language of Children: How to Understand What Your Kids Are Really Saying.
3. Have a Sleepover in the New Room
If you feel better sleeping with your baby in their new room for 1-2 nights, it’s a great way to make the transition. Having your baby sleep with you for six months to a year, or even more, then abruptly sending them into their own room abruptly can be a scary experience for them.
Try sleeping on the floor next to the crib the first night. The next night, add more distance between you and the crib to let baby get used to falling asleep on their own.
4. Be Patient but Persistent
Transitioning baby to crib from co-sleeping may be easy for some but it’s not all rainbows for every parent. There are going to be times baby just won’t have it – You’re going to hear crying, no doubt.
But you also need to be strong. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to use the “cry it out method” that’s fine. Another option is to give it a minute or two, go in their room and calmly say, “You’re okay” and add anything in that you want. It can be hard to let your baby cry.
You may even feel like a bad parent and that’s completely normal. Whether you choose the “cry it out” method or you go check on baby every few minutes, just know that having your baby cry poses “no long-term harmful effects as a result,” according to Dr. Ferber.