Here’s a scenario that all co-sleeping families are familiar with: You’ve loved waking up with your little one every morning. Giving them a snuggle as the sun shines through your bedroom window. Watching their little eyes open to the world and greet you with a gentle smile as a way to hello.
But one day it just hits you: it’s time to stop co-sleeping and give your child the independence to be in their own baby crib. Which means you have to figure out how to transition your baby from co-sleeping to crib without stressing them (or you) out.
If you’ve been sleeping within arm’s reach of your baby for a while, you know all about the many co-sleeping benefits. You might also know that co-sleeping has a magical way of fostering independence in your little one, which will go far in making this transition from co-sleeping to crib as easy as can be.
But what’s the secret to stopping co-sleeping without stress?
Well, here it is:
Consistency is key
On the list of best practices for how to transition baby from co-sleeping to crib, being consistent takes the top spot.
It can be difficult (okay, not just difficult—sometimes it can feel gosh darn impossible!) to think logically when you’re woken up at 2 am from a deep dream state.
But once you’ve put a plan for transition in place, it’s important to follow through on it. Not just sometimes. But every single night of the week.
Keeping consistent will help your baby feel more comfortable with the sleeping changes you’re making. Which will shorten the transition process and help you get back to the long nights of restful sleep you crave. Fast.
Of course, there might be nights when your half-asleep brain doesn’t quite stop your parenting instincts in time and your transition plan goes out the window.
Don’t worry about one or two-speed bumps along the way. Just get back on track with your transition plan the next night.
Keep your baby close
Just because you’ve decided to move baby into a crib of their own doesn’t mean you have to move your baby far away.
Choosing to gradually transition from co-sleeping to crib (rather than going all-in one night) can ease some of the stress for both you and baby.
On the first night you transition from co-sleeping to crib, keep your baby close by pushing the crib firmly against your bed. Your baby has been sleeping within arm’s reach for a long time now…which means being anything more than a few feet away from you might initially feel like a shock to the system.
By putting your baby’s new crib in the same spot next to you that they’ve gotten used to sleeping in, they’ll be able to keep a sense of familiarity. Even as they get used to their totally new sleep set-up.
As the nights go on, slowly start moving your baby’s crib farther away from your own sleeping space. Do that until your baby is fully comfortable and confident sleeping away from your side.
If you’re a co-sleeping family who has been using a co-sleeper crib:
For families who have been enjoying the many benefits of a bedside co sleeper throughout their co sleeping journey, this gradual transition can be made even easier.
Use a conversion kit to transform your bedside co sleeper into a baby bassinet. Then make a plan to start moving your baby’s bassinet away from your bedside slowly during the nights ahead.
Because baby is already familiar with the sensations of sleeping in their made-just-for-them baby bedside co sleeper, they’ll feel more confident and comfortable as they adjust to the changes in their sleep routine.
Instead of feeling the impact of many surprise changes at once (New mattress! New crib! More distance away from you!), they’ll be happy to catch some Z’s in the familiar sleeping space they already love.
Sleep with their stuff (so that they feel like they’re sleeping beside you!)
Your baby has slept right beside you for many nights, which means they’ve gotten used to being calmed by the familiar feeling of sensing you nearby.
(Fun fact! Because newborns are still learning how to find meaning in all the things they see and hear on the daily, they develop a strong awareness of smell. Which means just having you close enough to offer the comfort of scent will set them in a peaceful mood!)
Putting a little extra care into making sure that baby still feels the sensation of having you close (even when you’re across the room) can go a long way in making sure nights remain stress-free and rest-filled for all.
Sleep with your baby’s bed sheets for a few nights before you start the transition from co-sleeping to crib. By doing this, you’ll guarantee that your little one is surrounded by comfortable items that smell like you. So that when the time comes to set them up for a new sleep set-up, they’ll have all the extra comfort they need to make the transition from co-sleeping seem easier.
Of course: you’ll want to choose the item you give to baby wisely. Sleeping with bulky blankets or plush toys can be a safety concern for newborns. Which means leaving those kinds of items in their bed will leave you with more worry than peace of mind.
But by sleeping with baby’s sheets and fitting them snugly on your baby’s mattress before they tuck in for the night, you’ll be able to help soothe your baby and keep any separation anxiety away. Without a single safety concern.
Pick the right time
Only you know what’s best for you and your family. Which means only you know when will be the right time to transition baby from co sleeping to crib.
For many families, the decision to stop co sleeping will come when baby becomes too active during the night. Or when you more generally decide that it would be better for you to get back to having some space of your own.
But even if your decision to transition away from co sleeping is accompanied by some need to make the switch now! feelings, set the stage for an easy transition by making sure that it’s a good time to start a new routine.
Avoid making big changes when family is in town, a big project is forcing you to work long hours, or other big life events are taking over your time and emotional energy.
Making sure that both you and baby are feeling settled, calm, and ready to rock and roll toward a new routine will help keep things feeling stress-free.
Give yourself a break!
Though many parents wondering how to transition from co-sleeping to crib feel pressure to get the process “perfect,” remember that only you know what works best for your family.
Give yourself a break if there’s a day when your perfectly-made plans go out the window. And know that your baby will get comfortable and content with the transition from co sleeping to crib soon.
As long as you keep consistent in your plans, the day you’ll have successfully transitioned to a crib (instead of just Googling “how to transition your baby from co-sleeping to crib”) will come. Maybe even sooner than you think!
How to start, when to stop co-sleeping: every co-sleeping family will have a slightly different journey. That’s because every family is unique, and so is every family’s needs.
But no matter the ins-and-outs of your family’s uniqueness, most people start here: when your baby first comes home, the ideal place for them to sleep soundly is by your side in a bedside co-sleeper or other safe sleep tool specially designed to keep them safe, secure, and enveloped in a hug of love all through the night.
(Why is a safe sleep tool like a bedside sleeper preferred? Because too-soft bedding can pose risks when your baby hasn’t quite hit the developmental milestones to easily roll out of it yet.)
But over the next few months, your baby will grow from a newborn into a crawling, playing, keep-you-on-your-toes toddler. And when that time comes, you may begin thinking about the best age to transition from co-sleeping with your family’s own special timeline in mind.
How Your Co-Sleeping Family’s Journey Will Be Unique
Every baby is unique, and so is every co-sleeping family. That means that every co-sleeping journey will look a little different.
But no matter your family’s special co-sleeping timeline, it can be helpful to check in at different milestones during your baby’s first few months to stay aware of both baby’s development (as well as your family’s needs).
Checking in during these early months can help you make decisions about the best age to transition from co-sleeping down the road. (Even if that time still feels far, far off for you right now!)
No matter when you decide to stop co-sleeping, the good news is that co-sleeping with your baby during their early life has left them well-prepared to take on sleeping (and the world, while they’re at it!) all on their own.
Co-sleeping helps your baby develop sensory awareness, meaning that they’ll easily be able to tell the difference between comfort or crisis and rest—or call for your help—accordingly.
Your baby has also had plenty of time to nurture a deep and meaningful relationship with you, which means they will feel surrounded and supported by your love even if you’re sleeping farther than an arm’s length away.
This means when the time to transition from co-sleeping comes, you and baby will be more than ready to tackle all the nights of snoozes and sweet dreams ahead.
When to Stop Co-Sleeping: The 5 Month Milestone
Baby’s first few months set the stage for a lifetime of healthy growth.
That’s why co-sleeping during this part of baby’s life is such an important tool in their grow-big-and-strong toolkit.
By catching their first few months of z’s in a designed-just-for-them bedside co-sleeper that fits flush against your bed (meaning you’re always close by!), baby will benefit from a boosted immune system and better supported emotional and physical development.
That’s why it’s important to take full advantage of all the co-sleeping benefits your bedside co-sleeper can offer in these early months of baby’s life.
Though Europe tests and endorses bedside co-sleepers through baby’s first year, the United States has yet to expand their testing and endorsement procedures past five months of age.
However, experts agree that sleeping close to your baby is still best practice through the first year of their life.
That means around five months might be the right time to start taking stock of how baby has grown and decide whether it might be time to start transitioning your baby into a crib or convert your co-sleeper into a bedside bassinet or whether they’re still comfy-as-can-be where they are.
When to Stop Co-Sleeping: The 9 Month Milestone
When it comes time to fully decide when to stop co-sleeping, developmental stages and family needs are more important indicators than age.
That’s because all babies are unique, and their growth stages are going to be just as unique as they are.
Likewise, no two families are the same. What works well for one family might cause nights of restless tossing and turning for another.
It’s a good idea to check in with your baby at the 9 month milestone to make sure that co-sleeping is still the best sleeping solution for them (and you!).
If baby has started feeling confident enough in their mobility to move from the safe space of their bedside co-sleeper into the maze of blankets and pillows that you keep on your own bed, it might be time to think about keeping baby more secure with a standalone baby bassinet or crib.
Those blankets and pillows you love to curl up in and keep close can quickly become a safety hazard to baby. Though baby might be learning to be a confident crawler at this age, they still haven’t quite figured out the art of being an escape artist.
(Ready to learn more about how to co-sleep safely? We’ve got you covered!)
And when it comes to plush bedding that can easily wrap around them or cover their head, those escape artist skills are much-needed to assure fully safe sleeping throughout the night.
But remember: at the end of the day, only you know the co-sleeping timeline that works best for your family.
The Big Takeaway
The day when it’s time to stop co-sleeping with baby will come.
But when it does, be excited to walk with baby toward their next milestone!
Because baby has been co-sleeping all life long, their body and mind are ready to take full advantage of all the developmental benefits and conquer every new adventure that comes their way during nights ahead.
And just because baby is ready to transition their bedside co sleeper into a bedside bassinet or sleep in a crib all their own doesn’t mean they have to go far.
If you choose to stop co-sleeping around one of these early milestones, you can still help support baby’s next stage of sleep by positioning their baby bassinet or bedside crib right against your bed, or moving it no more than a step or two away from your own mattress.
That way, baby will still be able to feel your loving presence offering comfort from close by, even as they adjust to the feeling of sleeping in this new space that is fully their own.
As baby becomes more comfortable in their bedside bassinet or crib (and as space in your bedroom allows), you can slowly move baby’s sleeping space farther and farther from your own bed. This will help baby gradually develop confidence and awareness that you’re nearby to help, even when you’ve stopped co-sleeping and are farther than an arm’s length or two away.
And on the day you decide it’s finally time to stop wondering when to stop co-sleeping and start really moving your baby to a crib and room of their own: just know they’ll feel well-prepped for this next important step.
Co sleeping is not a new practice. For most of recorded history, parents have ensured the safety and healthy development of their littles one by sharing a sleeping space with them. (While making breastfeeding easier and getting a more peaceful night’s rest themselves, that’s what we like to call a win-win!) But if you’re new to co sleeping—or just want a refresher on how to safely co sleep with your little one!—then there are a few co sleeping should-dos to keep in mind.
What To Understand About Co Sleeping Before We Get To the Dos and Don’ts
To this day, many cultures around the world sing the praises of co sleeping and consider it the normal— and natural— way of easing baby’s stress while helping them learn to breathe regularly and healthily develop in body and mind.
Studies have confirmed that co sleeping is a safe practice that improves your sleep as a parent, supports your baby’s healthy development, and promotes bonding with your baby through proximity and touch (a perfect trifecta that makes parents sing the sleep practice’s praises).
But though co sleeping is one of the oldest and most popular methods of sleeping with a newborn around the world, getting the safety dos and don’ts of co sleeping with a newborn down is what leads to peace of mind—as well as long and restful nights of sleep for the whole family.
What a Safe Co Sleeping Environment Looks Like (and How to Prepare Your Own)
Before baby and parent tuck in for a more caring and nurturing night of rest, the co sleeping environment needs to be prepped for peaceful nights of catching Z’s.
Though it might be tempting to settle in and just invite your baby into your bed, this sleeping position (which is often called bed sharing) can put your co sleeping newborn at risk by surrounding them with super-soft pillows and blankets that aren’t built with their safety in mind.
That’s why every safe co sleeping environment should be designed to offer your little one comfort and security as they snore the night away.
To create a safe co sleeping environment (the kind that will deliver all the co sleeping benefits you’re after while also delivering the peace of mind you deserve, there are four key “must-dos” to remember:
- Co sleep with your baby close
- Create the right room conditions
- Ensure your baby’s safe sleep position
- Choose the right bedside sleeper
Ready to help your baby co sleep safe and sound? Let’s break these safe co sleeping “must-dos” down further!
Co Sleep with Your Baby Close By Your Side
There’s nothing better than turning over in the middle of the night to see your little one sleeping sweet and sound, with their eyes closed and the kind of gentle smile on their face that lets you know that they’re resting easy.
Parents who choose co sleeping cite the extra bonding time as one of the biggest benefits: and we can’t help but agree (that’s one of the big reasons we love co sleeping so much)! Because when you sleep no more than an arm’s reach away from your little one, you have plenty of extra time to take in their features, listen to every gentle coo, and care for every small crisis call that comes through the night.
That kind of nighttime bliss can’t be beat. But you can put the brakes on that bonding—and foster a potentially unsafe sleeping environment—if you choose to sleep too far away.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe sleep guidelines, you should be within easy reach of your sleeping baby for at least the first six months of their life (that’s to make sure that you’re always around when a crisis call hits, no matter how big or small).
And according to scientific research, sleeping next to your baby has historically been a way for babies to learn how to regulate their breathing patterns in positive ways. That’s because when you’re breathing close enough to your baby for them to hear you easily, they’ll start naturally matching your breathing rhythm (cool, right?).
Which is a pretty amazing way of saying that co sleeping with a baby isn’t just a way to bond on an emotional level. Every part of your baby’s system and your baby’s healthy development processes will benefit from the act of sleeping close to you—and feeling you there by their side every minute of the night.
Create the Right Room Conditions for Safe Co Sleeping
Dark, light, with the window open, with the window closed, with the thermostat set to a toasty 82 degrees—we all have an opinion on what kind of conditions create the best night’s rest.
But when co sleeping, the room conditions need to be designed with your baby’s needs in mind.
That means the room shouldn’t be too toasty (aim for between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit), and there shouldn’t be extra pillows, stuffed animals, or blankets crowding the mattress. (These kinds of fluffy materials can quickly grow unsafe if a baby rolls onto them or gets wrapped up during the night.)
And even if you love the feeling of being extra-hot through the night (we can’t blame you for wanting to beat that winter chill or make the most of the summer heat!), welcoming your newborn baby might mean putting those preferences away for a little while. Because as soon as your baby takes up residence in your room, it’s time to start thinking of it as their space as well as yours.
But there’s good news: you don’t have to fully let go of your old sleep habits to guarantee that your baby is protected, well-rested, and unconditionally supported throughout the night.
By choosing a bedside sleeper that is expertly engineered with your baby’s comfort in mind (and beautifully designed with 100% beechwood to be eco-friendly and fit your bedroom style!), you can create a cozy environment for both you and your newborn.
Even better: you’ll soon be rewarded for your efforts. Because you’ll be enjoying more sleep (get ready for your new parent friends to be jealous!) and curbing separation anxiety while making nighttime nursing easier than ever.
Ensure Your Baby’s Safe Sleeping Position
There’s no debate or discussion about this one: experts agree that babies should sleep on their backs (just ask the American Academy of Pediatrics—or any other trusted source!).
And though expert consensus on this is fairly new (there weren’t firm guidelines on safe sleeping positions for babies until around the late 20th century), trusted voices have been on board with the necessity of a firm sleep space for a while now.
In case this baby is your first (or you just need a refresh!), the surface underneath your baby should always be firm and clean, and any blankets should be light and kept far away from covering your baby’s head.
When you’re co sleeping, these guidelines remain the same.
It’s important that your baby has space to lie comfortably—and safely—on a made-just-for-them mattress that isn’t too soft or pillowed. Babies can easily sink into too-soft bedding, which can quickly become dangerous if they’re not yet old enough to know how to safely roll away from too-plush materials.
But just because your baby is sleeping on a firm mattress doesn’t mean they’ll be left feeling uncomfy through the night.
With the right parent and baby-loved bedside co sleeper to keep them cozy and secure, they’ll be able to fall asleep every night while feeling like they’re on cloud nine. Because the best bedside co sleeper isn’t just designed to keep your little one safe by your side, it’s designed to nurture them in the loving half-moon shape of a hug, wrapping them in comfort whether day or night.
Which brings us to…
Choose the Best Bedside Co Sleeper and Take the Guesswork Out of How to Safely Co Sleep
While you may prefer a weightless waterbed or a soft-as-a-cloud pillow topper that leaves you feeling like you’re sleeping on air, babies need baby-secure beds that have been rigorously tested for safety.
And while many crib and bedside co sleeper manufacturers promise safety, they also build your baby’s sleeper out of cheap fillers and plastics, while being finished in toxic chemicals and varnish that leach harmful gasses all night long.
By choosing a bedside co sleeper that is made of eco-friendly, fully non-toxic, and ethically-sourced beechwood, you won’t just experience all the expected co sleeping benefits. You’ll also feel the difference that going with an all-natural option makes.
Because while adult mattresses just weren’t designed to properly support your baby (that’s the hard but honest truth!), made-just-for-them mattresses like the kind you’ll find on the best co bedside co sleeper will sit tightly against the co sleeper frame so there are no gaps, space, or crevices that your baby could accidentally slip into.
By choosing a product specially designed by experts to provide a safe co sleeping environment, you can spend less time worrying about how to safely co sleep—and spend more time catching Z’s while your little one calmly and restfully sleeps by your side.
Because enjoying the feeling of spending more time sleeping beside your baby, knowing that they are spending their night comforted and protected by your nearby touch?
That’s just priceless.
Thank you to Jessica Tomes of Baby-Chick.com for your review of the babybay bedside bassinet. Ms. Tomes said “babybay has seriously been a lifesaver for my little family”.
“We highly recommend the babybay to all of our Mommy Chick friends looking to catch some extra snoozes.” Baby-Chick.com
Below is an excerpt of the review:
Get more sleep with the baby bassinet by babybay.
Your nighttime routine with a newborn can feel like a merry-go-round. As you adjust to spending normal sleeping hours rotating between, getting up to soothe, nurse, and return them to their crib every 2-3 hours, you’re using up the energy you’d rather save for the special moments. The babybay Bedside Co-sleeper is the perfect solution — especially in the early months, when baby is just so needy. (Because sleep, who needs that?) This European company has transformed the way we think about co-sleeping, and we love that their bassinet and mattress pads meet the top safety standards, both internationally, and domestically. We also love babybay’s dedication to sustainability — for every beechwood tree used to make your bedside co-sleeper, they plant another! And, all of their products are non-toxic, never using harmful plastics or glues, in any of their products. The chic, modern design is an added bonus.
With it’s half-moon shape (designed to mimic a hug), the babybay is also the perfect solution to nighttime separation anxiety — your touch is only a hand’s reach away. I have literally spent a night (or ten) holding hands with baby. But I know she is in her own safe space, and that helps me sleep sounder. You know, until she wakes me up to nurse (again) . . .
To read the full review visit: https://www.baby-chick.com/get-more-sleep-with-babybay/