Making the move from crib to cot can be really daunting, but I have a few tips that might help! Baby steps are the way to do this, and waiting until you feel ready (and when the baby is over 6 months) is essential. Creating a healthy sleep environment for a baby under 6 months old is a brilliant way to help them establish the difference between nighttime and daytime, and will help make the transition from crib to cot a smooth process for everyone. There are various factors to consider. It is extremely important to follow the safe sleeping guidelines created by the Lullaby Trust. This will help create a calm environment and a positive sleep association whilst keeping a safe space for the baby to sleep. Below I will discuss ways to do this, which will help the baby feel secure and ready to go to sleep in their new environment.
It will help if the baby is in darkness or dimmed light during the bedtime (or naptime) wind down as the body will be encouraged to produce serotonin; a sleepy hormone.
White (or pink) noise:
White noise replicates the sounds heard in the womb. It is very comforting for the baby as it's a familiar sound and enables them to relax and feel safe. It can also work by blocking out noise that could potentially wake the baby, which is always a plus!
Calm time after bath time:
Although babies cannot differentiate between night and daytime as a newborn, there is no harm in implementing a bath and bedtime routine at this age.
After bath, massaging your baby before bedtime is a calming activity which can aid digestion, improve circulation, ease teething pain and even improve weight gain. It will help them become ready to sleep.
Starting with day naps is a fantastic way to approach the transition slowly. I am a big believer in winding down the baby before a nap. It truly helps them feel ready to sleep and will in turn help them sustain a longer, more fulfilling sleep. Following this nap routine may help:
* Take baby calmly into their nursery (which is already set up for nap time)
* Blackout blind down
* White noise on
* Change the baby’s nappy and put them in their sleeping bag - important
* Read some stories with a whisper (for some children reading stories are stimulating, if so, find an activity that calms your baby)
* Hand the baby their comforter/dummy
* Choose a lullaby, sing it and place the baby in their cot
Keeping this routine consistent is essential as the baby will learn quickly that their new nursery is a safe and calm environment and one they are happy in. Once the baby has developed a confidence in their new room, and are napping happily, it is a good time to make the transition to nighttime. Sticking to the same routine at bedtime, especially during the transitional period is crucial in allowing the baby to adapt to their new nighttime sleep environment. Remember, although the Safe Sleeping Guidelines state to wait until 6 months (minimum) to transition your baby from your bedroom to their own, this doesn’t mean you will create ‘bad habits’ keeping them in your room for longer. It’s imperative you make the move when you feel ready, as this will help the transition become smoother for you both.
Written by Talya Sinclair, Paediatric Sleep Consultant. I’m a 27 year old mummy to 2 year old Blake Valentine and due to have my second soon. I initially decided to train to become a Sleep Consultant because I struggled so much with my daughter’s sleep and hired a sleep consultant to help us. Since training, I have supported so many new mums and parents in their journey into parenthood and it is incredibly rewarding to be able to give a sleep deprived mum their much needed rest back.