Will my baby ever sleep in her own bed? Initially it seems like an impossibility, but take from moms that have been there: it can be done — even if your family situation may not make it possible for baby to have their own room. Whatever your approach is, the end goal is to give them their own place for quality sleep.
Much infant sleep advice points out two important factors for parents searching for sleep solutions: consistency and patience. Let’s back up and address the approach you need to be patient and consistent with. How do you decide where they will sleep, when they do sleep?
Myths About Putting Babies in Their Own Room
- They are too small for the big crib.
- You won’t hear them.
- You won’t be able to get to them quickly if there is an issue.
- They can harm themselves.
- They will cry all night.
- They will resent you for abandoning them.
In breaking down these myths, there is one common thread. Mom brain. That’s right, you.
Your anxiety is keeping you from trying something new. Baby doesn’t know enough to fear or dislike the crib. Establishing a routine is so hard in those early days, but giving her your best effort at peaceful and restful sleep can make a major difference for everyone.
It will take time to find what works, and you could easily find ten ways that don’t work. Here are six recommendations from moms advocating for crib time first.
Six Keys to Success When Putting Babies to Sleep
Check not just the room temperature, but another idea is to warm up the sheet. Sometimes laying them down on a cold bed sheet is enough to startle them awake. Try a warm blanket or heating bad on the mattress for a few minutes before you put them down. Be careful not to keep things too warm or too cold, but find a temp that works well so you can dress them comfortably.
Control their startle reflex
It takes several months to work through the involuntary muscle twitches. Wrapping tightly with a swaddle blanket or sleep sack is a great way to keep their little bodies in check. They also can mimic the feeling of a warm body when they are accustomed to being snuggled by Mom. Try both the arms in and arms out swaddle to see if one works better than the other.
Wedge under the mattress
Especially if reflux might be an issue, elevating the head of the mattress just a bit can make for a more comfortable rest. Chat with your pediatrician about recommendations if this is a struggle for your baby.
Video baby monitor
There is a lot to be said for being able to hear and see what is happening. The peace of mind from a video feed might allow less of a rush to aid and more of an effort to let them self-soothe. If you can see they are working it out, you can allow yourself to relax. Babies are noisy, and a majority of the time they aren’t really awake, just adjusting and making noises because that’s what babies do.
Quality rocker or glider in their room
If you do need to tend to them a few times during the night, you will need somewhere comfortable to sit — especially if you have a baby that needs the motion to soothe. It’s also a way to be close without being uncomfortable. You will learn quickly how to navigate from the chair to the crib with a baby in complete darkness.
Don’t rush out
If you are able to rock or bring them into the space close to asleep, lay them down but keep a hand on them. They grow accustomed to both weight and warmth of your touch. Take a couple extra seconds to let them adjust before you tip toe out.
Trial and Error
Building sleep schedules and routines are of utmost concern for new parents. Whether you choose to go straight to a crib as early as possible or transition in stages, you will have to give it your all to build consistency and routine your baby can learn and depend on to feel safe.
If you rip the band-aid off your fears and go for the crib right off the bat, there will be no need for multiple transitions. Get their environment prepped for success and give it a try.
Just remember that they are learning how to adjust in a whole new world, and so are you. I wish I could tell you they will sleep through the night soon, but they won’t. It’s a fact.
They have needs around the clock until they get the hang of things. Even then you may run into issues and setbacks. It’s all a normal part of growth, and there is nothing you are doing wrong to create it. Adjust your expectations and get into problem solving mode.
There is just no way to predict how long it will take and what will work best for your little one. Like all things parenting . . . trial and error. But do it with confidence. Don’t let your anxiety prevent you from success, especially when it comes to the elusive sleep schedule.
You can do it!