If you’re reading this, you most probably co-sleep. The risks, the benefits, the safety advice of co-sleeping, it’s all there to be read up on. The opinions of others, also there to be welcomed, or ignored. There are some parents that absolutely love co-sleeping and will do it for as long as they need to. But if like me and you no longer love it and have now become a little tired of getting kicked in the ribs at 3 in the morning. Or you might just want to get some time back for you and your partner, then here are 7 tips that you can use to help your baby sleep in their own cot.
1. Routine is key
Babies respond really well to routine. Having a routine while you’re making the switch to the cot is really important. There would be no point starting something, to then do it differently the following night as your baby just won’t know what’s going on. I found that by giving my child a bath, then taking him into the room for his bottle, using a night light, and playing lullabies created a “bed time atmosphere” that he got used to really quite quickly.
2. Making sure they’re warm enough
It’s a lot warmer in your bed compared to their cot, so if your baby seems unsettled, which they will be initially, you could try putting a thicker blanket over them or warmer pyjamas. It is also worth checking if your baby is at the age where they can now safely sleep with a pillow and a duvet. My child settled much quicker when I took the pillow from our bed that he was used to sleeping on and put it in the cot for him to lie on. If they kick off their covers then a bag for them to sleep in is a great way to keep them cosy.
3. Putting something that smells of you in the cot
The smell of you will definitely help comfort your baby. Try putting a top that has your scent on with them in the cot, and your child will be comforted by your smell. If they become restless during the night they could settle back down when they smell you again. Again, if your baby is very little, take the time to read up on the safety advice for their age group.
4. Giving them their milk in the cot
If your child is old enough to take the bottle independently you may want to try putting them in the cot first then giving them their milk to drink. That way they are happily feeding and may become drowsy while doing so which will encourage them to fall asleep right where they are.
5. Stick to comforting your baby from outside the cot
The first few nights will be really tough and your child might become very distressed with being in the cot. You may feel more comfortable with getting your child out of the cot, comforting and then returning to the cot, but I felt that this made my child more distressed as he thought he could cry and I’d just get him out again. I found that by holding his hand and stroking his face from outside the cot worked a lot better. They may also have a favourite blanket or comforter that they take to bed with them.
6. Sticking to this routine for naps in the daytime too
If you are at home with your child during the day, encourage the cot in the daytime too. This will allow your child to become more familiar with it come the night time. You could try not making it too dark in the room for nap times as your child could feel uneasy and instead make the room slightly darker rather than pitch black.
7. Consistency is everything
Just as routine is really important, try not to give up after a couple of bad nights. It will take some children longer than others to adjust, they are all different, but stick with it and they will soon feel very comfortable in their own cot and mummy and daddy’s bed will be a distant memory (or so we can hope!).