How to help baby sleep in his room
Baby has a very nice bedroom, well decorated with toys, books, delicate lighting. However, this room and this bed, which are dedicated to him, are still waiting for their little tenant. Here are our tips to help babies make the transition to their bedroom with confidence!
Up to 6 months: baby can sleep in the parental room
The American Pediatric Society published a report in 2016 with recommendations for infant sleep. Advice supported by the WHO (World Health Organization) and which encourages parents to sleep baby in their room until the age of 6 months in order to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. But in the same room does not mean in the same bed, and the increasingly popular “sleeping quarters” must be handled with the greatest care!
Some parents decide to comply, and others keep the baby by their side for only two weeks. Still, others go well beyond the recommended 6 months.
There isn’t really a good time to start putting baby to bed in his bedroom. The key is to listen to their needs and those of the couple.
Prepare the nursery
To make this transition smoothly, it is advisable to first discuss it with your baby. It might be a laughing matter, but he understands more than he seems!
It is in the small details that it is then necessary to pay attention to. For example, the temperature of the baby’s room should be around 67 ° F. If your child is too cold, or on the contrary too hot, it will not be possible for him to fall asleep peacefully.
In most cases, the baby’s room is ready well before the return from the maternity ward. You will therefore have taken care to equip your bed with a good mattress and not to overload it with lint. Baby bedding should also be of good quality. You should read the article about best baby cribs and choose one that great for your baby.
Also, make sure that baby “gets to know” his room so that he can recognize his surroundings when he wakes up.
Get babies used to sleeping in their room during the day
The best way to do this is to get him used to sleep in his room during the day first before wanting him to spend the night there. During the day, there will always be some light so he can see where he is. Little by little, he will familiarize himself with his room.
The change of place where baby sleeps should not be sudden. Whether it’s a change of room or going from a bassinet to a crib, it has to be done smoothly. Otherwise, you run the risk of disturbing their sleep (and yours). Getting her used to her room during naps is a good way to do this.
Start by spending time with him in his room during the day. Show him his mobile, books, games, etc. Then, install him on his awakening rug in the middle of the room so that he can discover his place. He will thus take his marks and feel reassured. Your presence in his room during his moments fostered a gain of confidence.
Then put him in his room during the daytime naps. A mobile over the bed or pictures of the parents on the wall could also help the baby feel good and reassure him.
Establish a bedtime ritual
If the baby agrees to sleep in his room for naps, it can be quite different for bedtime. Each child is different and evolves at their own pace. Some will sleep alone in their bed for the night for a few months, others will not feel ready until much later.
When the baby is used to his room and bed during the day, you can normally continue at night. Take the time to explain to the baby that he will now sleep in his room but if he needs help, you are right next door. Even very small, a baby needs things explained to him. He will thus feel more reassured and accompanied in this important step.
After the last feeding or the last bottle, the last diaper change, put the baby in bed after a short story. A big kiss and a hug from mom and dad, and let’s go for the night! At first, your baby may feel a little lost and cry. But it usually lasts a short time. Do not hesitate to come and reassure him by placing your hand on his stomach or stroking his head, but if possible, without getting him out of bed and without taking him back to your room with you.
In order not to rush the child, it is better to wait until he is ready. The bedtime ritual can help, as it is very reassuring for the child.
To begin with, establishing a bedtime ritual allows the child to identify bedtime. He then knows that slowly he is being prepared to go to bed. The same gestures are repeated every evening and give the “signal” that it will end up being put to bed for the night’s sleep.
This could be, for example, to bath the baby, to give him his bottle or the last feeding, to change his diaper and finally to put him in pajamas. Then put him to bed with a little lullaby, or read him a story. These simple gestures, but always performed in the same order, are reassuring by their repetition. The child knows what to expect. And above all, he knows that the next morning his parents will still be there because history is repeating itself.
It is possible baby does not cooperate in the first few days. Once again, this is completely normal since these new habits must be put in place. Baby will surely start having crying attacks. It will then be necessary not to let go while comforting him. Take the time to reassure him, give him kisses, a hug, say comforting words in a low voice, etc. He must feel that you are there, very close, as when he was in your room. It will be difficult for a few days, and then the baby will calm down.
Tips to help to prepare the baby to sleep alone in his room
It may happen that despite bedtime preparation, comfort, bedtime ritual, etc. the baby still does not want to sleep in the bed. If so, it is because it is not ready. You will have to wait a little longer. Rest assured, the time will come! No child ever ends up sleeping in their room. But before you surrender, there are a few more tricks you can try.
Put a night light on it
It might sound silly, but it wasn’t for nothing that these little lights were invented. There are several kinds. Some even play my soft music to gently rock baby in Morpheus’ arms. It can be a fixed night light, connected to a socket in his room, or a so-called nomadic night light that will be installed in the baby’s bed. The latter is interesting because the child can handle it and keep it close to him, which reassures him. The fear of the dark is very typical in children and intensifies at bedtime. It’s a moment they dread because everything around them disappears in the dark.
If the baby falls asleep at the breast
Some babies simply refuse to fall asleep on their own because they are used to falling asleep while breastfeeding. Normally, after 5 months, a baby can sleep on his own most of the night. Here it is therefore not a question of “not wanting” to sleep alone, but rather that he is “notable”. If this is the case with your child, set up a bedtime routine in which the baby can head before falling asleep. Little by little, reduce breastfeeding time by a few minutes each night. As soon as you see your child ready to close their eyes, go to bed!
Don’t lose patience
Getting upset will only reinforce the feeling of insecurity your child may have. It is indeed a difficult time to live when the child refuses to fall asleep, but losing patience is not the solution. If you have any resources left, take the time to take a step back and allow him to sleep with you that night, and try the experience again the next day. If not, seek help from loved ones who could take over for a night or two so you can rest. Try as much as possible to understand what your baby is going through and to reassure him.
One change at a time
One last tip, if you’ve just changed milk, or just starting with diversification, or have guests home for the weekend, now is not the time to decide that baby will start sleeping on her own in her room. Children are sensitive to routines. It is preferable to accompany them in each of these stages, one after the other.