Transitioning between sleep environment’s for you and your child.
Our baby’s sleep in many different environments around the world, and all mum’s with newborns soon find out that whether bed sharing (sleeping in the family bed), is the right thing for them and their family. It can be a permanent, conscious decision from the outset of birth, or a do what you need to do situation to get sleep.
But what happens when this is not working for you or your baby anymore- what is the easiest way to transition from the family bed?
Firstly I suggest work out your why? Make sure you are choosing to move bub out because it is not working for either of you. Not because someone said so, make sure you want this and are ready for it to be a permanent change, and that you feel great about your decision- not guilty on any level.
Secondly work out your where? Where is bub going? To a bassinette, cot, mattress/bed in your room or own room. Is the transition going to be easier on your feeding pattern. Make sure you are not going to resent you or your partner having to get up walk up 2 flights of stairs in the middle of the night- 3 times. Work out if your baby monitor causes you more anxiety than having your bub in closer proximity. For the older toddler transitioning to a “big” bed, safety is the number one priority, then creating a cosy sleep environment the next. This often begins with a mattress on the floor (or on your floor) with the original cot still in the same room. Start with role play, give examples to your child about what is going to happen and what new and exciting changes are about to occur for him/her. This can include anything from new exciting sheet sets, clocks, pillow pets, books etc.
Thirdly work out your when? Depending on the age of your bub, will depend whether you do night sleeps, day sleeps in your baby’s new environment. I always say start with your child’s best sleep time. Never make a change around sleep environment around any other large changes in your household, make them 4-6 weeks before any major event. Most common example is baby number 2 coming. The more you mention the transition, the more your child will have time to process, think, and become aware that bedtime is going to change soon. Consider starting these conversations and reminders at least three to five days before you plan to begin the transition.
Fourth, work out your bub’s personality. Is bub sensitive to any change, or easy going. A change in sleeping environment will take any child some time to adjust, no matter how chilled your bub is. Be prepared for a 2 week transition and have support in process as you make these changes.
Fifth– make a list of every step you take to help sooth your child till relaxed enough to full asleep peacefully. Then replicate it in the new environment. Know that a child that feels nurtured, safe and calm at bedtime will show little resistance to settle. Are you feeding to sleep? Do you need to introduce a comforter, or is it time for bub to move from swaddling to a sleeping bag. Is your bub on the appropriate wake/ sleep pattern for age and development? What sleep comfort’s is your child used to and will they still work in the new environment. If you think a particular settling method maybe required then research which one will suit your parenting style (there are at least 26 types), or consult with a certified sleep expert for a individual consultation- like me!