Before we get into the details, you may wonder when is the best time to transition. If you have not already, be sure to read my Co-Sleeping to Crib article that highlights the best opportune times to transition from co-sleeping to crib based on your child’s developmental milestones.
READ THE ARTICLE » HERE «
For this part of the mini course, we are going to get into the details regarding this big transition and address the night as it might unfold.
The day you decide its time to switch baby to their crib, go about your routine you have established as normal. By this time, your child should be familiar with the new crib and the space around it. Be sure the room where the crib is placed is ready. Have the sound machine on and night light lit. As your night time routine comes to a close, go through the motions as you normally would for sleep when co-sleeping, only today, you will place them in there crib.
Before you settle them in the crib, it may be beneficial to rock your baby for a few minutes beforehand. This is especially effective for younger babies that are not as interested in bedtime stories as an older child. Calmly rock baby in the dark with only the sound machine and one night light on. The room should be exactly as it will be for sleep.
Once you feel they are relaxed and calm, lie them in the crib and leave the room. Don’t look back. Walk straight out of the room. This is when the fun starts.
The First Go
Round one is in session. Monitor baby in the room and listen for their reactions. Some baby’s take to this switch well, others, not so much. At this point you will begin to apply a version of the Ferber Method. You want you child to develop the ability to self soothe. Therefore, some fussing will occur.
I totally understand if you cannot stand to hear your baby in distress. Nor, can I and I can relate to the feeling of every cry is like that of a red hot branding iron on your heart. Don’t fret momma. There is no need to let that little one cry for hours on end, the goal is to calm the baby. You are settling them into this new routine nice and easy.
The first time you leave you should wait about three minutes before reentering. This is a good overall number. However, depending on your child’s age, its OK to change it. If you only want to leave for a minute, do it. For older babies, they are smarter. Don’t let them con you. If you enter too soon they will catch on that their cries trigger you.
After the minute or minutes are up and baby is still upset, re-enter the room. If you can sooth your baby without picking them up, this is ideal. You want them to learn to self soothe. Therefore, the less you interfere the quicker they develop this skill.
Then there are those babies whose shrill cries could wake the dead. If this is your case. You need to have a system in place for soothing them. None of us want to watch our baby in distress. This is why I encourage you to calm your baby with a simple cheek stroke and sweet words.
However, if you find yourself in a situation where baby is on the brink of breaking glass, treat it like a job. It’s a system, not a cuddle fest. Pick them up, re-swaddle or cradle them and rock them until they settle. As soon as they are composed, lie them back down and leave.
Add two to three minutes to the duration you are gone from the last time you left. For example, if you left for one minute, check on them again in three. If you left for three minutes, check on them again in five. Continue this process adding a few minutes each session until your child is asleep.
It’s tedious, yes, but this is one of the best ways to introduce this lifestyle change. Here is a downloadable and printable sheet you can use as a reference for this method.
Feeding the Fuss
As you introduce this process you need to be aware of just how much attention you are giving your baby. Too much attention will backfire. The goal is to calm them down and leave. I know its difficult not to soak up snuggles and just hold them a “little longer”. Despite, the urge to hold them close, you need to be firm.
This is sleep training boot camp, if you will. Be strong, be consistent and stick to the battle plan. Keep in mind older babies are smart. They may coo and smile and their words don’t make sense. Nevertheless, they know EXACTLY what is going on. Their entire world is you. Therefore, all you do, they see, they know and they remember.
If you have an older baby, you may need to leave the room before they are completely calm. Older babies will fuss more and for longer periods of time because they know eventually you have to come. Be strong, be consistent and stick to the sleep training time chart!
Good Luck Momma. I wish you the best on this journey. Hopefully your little one takes to this change with ease and you get to catch some shut eye.
In the next post we will go over some troubleshooting questions you may have during this process. Some changes have an effect of baby’s sleep habits and a quick fix is all you need.
Until next time my friend.
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