There are lots of reasons why parents end up co-sleeping with their babies. Whether it was a decision you made or something that you fell into accidentally, it might seem impossible to get a co-sleeping baby to start sleeping on their own again.
But don’t worry- there is a way! We have put together this useful guide to give parents the information they need to know how to get a baby to sleep in a crib after co sleeping.
This is a gradual process and there are several steps you will need to take in order for this to work successfully. Keep reading to find out more.
How To Get A Baby To Sleep In A Crib After Co Sleeping
Step One – Introduce Distance
The first step to get a baby to sleep in a crib after co sleeping is to introduce a little bit of physical distance but in a familiar setting.
Start sleeping a few feet away from them in the bed so the baby gets used to not having physical contact with you while they are sleeping in their crib.
If they wake up and struggle to get back to sleep then you can comfort them, but then move away again as soon as they are calm. Repeat this step for several nights until your baby seems used to sleeping in a crib and not co sleeping.
Step Two – Put A Baby Crib Next To The Bed
The next step is to get your baby to sleep in a crib, but it will need to be close enough that they can still see you and know that they are there. Put the crib right next to your bed so they will feel like they are co sleeping but in a crib.
To start off with, you might still need to get them to sleep whilst you are holding them or rocking them- whatever usually works. But once they are asleep you can settle them into the crib. The goal is to get your baby to sleep in a crib independently after co sleeping.
If they wake up in the night you can comfort them, but then place them back in the crib. If they can’t settle in the crib then don’t panic- just aim to gradually increase the crib time each night by an hour or two and reduce the time of co sleeping night after night.
You can let your baby go at their own pace.
Once a baby is comfortable to sleep in a crib, you can start settling them into the crib straight away and seeing if they can get to sleep with just your hand or the sound of your voice.
Once they reach the point where they can get to sleep in the crib on their own, it is time to try them in their own bedroom.
There is an optional additional step which involves moving the crib further away from the bed each night so they can get used to not being as close to you.
Step Three – Sleep Training
Once the crib has been moved into a separate room it is time to start sleep training. You will need to install a baby monitor so you know that your baby is safe when they are not with you after co sleeping.
You can start by staying in the room while your baby falls asleep, and gradually build up to letting your baby fall asleep on their own in their own crib.
The more times they are able to fall asleep on their own, the more capable they will be of getting themselves back to sleep if they wake in the night. Every time your baby wakes up and cries, make sure you put them back in the crib once you have comforted them.
Do not fall back to co sleeping.
It is important that you respond quickly to your baby’s cries to begin with – it is important that they know you are still there if they need you even if you are in a different room.
You might think that this will keep them dependent on you, but it will actually reassure them and make them more capable of self-soothing. Once you have established this, you can hold off and wait to see if they settle themselves.
The other important tip is to be consistent. Any moments of weakness when you let them sleep in your bed will undo your progress. Even if it feels like your progress is slow, you are still moving forward and you will get to a point where your baby is sleeping independently.
Your baby might benefit from a noise machine that generates white noise. Sleeping in a room with other people creates small noises- breathing, sheets shuffling etc- so having something as a background noise can be comforting.
You should also choose your timing carefully. Try to start the sleep training when you know that you and your partner have a few days off work.
You might need to get up repeatedly to begin with and you could have a few nights of disturbed sleep, but it will work better if you can really commit to it and you don’t give in. This is an important step in learning how to get a baby to sleep in a crib after co sleeping.
How Important Is A Schedule To Get A Baby To Sleep In A Crib ?
Some parents place a lot of importance on a regular sleeping schedule. Having a specific bedtime and naptime can be helpful to a baby as it provides structure and they know exactly what to expect. Their bodies will go into a natural sleeping pattern.
However, it is important to remember that children are not all the same. Some children will struggle with a strict sleeping schedule as they might get tired at different times depending on the day.
Lying in a crib when you can’t sleep can be frustrating, distressing and lonely. They might crave co sleeping rather than going to sleep in a crib.
Also, your child or baby might be more or less tired on certain days depending on what they have been doing, how they are feeling, or even how many new things they have learned that day.
It is good to have a sleeping schedule, but be prepared to be flexible when required and pay attention to your child’s needs on that particular day. A change of scenery, a bath, a drink or a healthy snack, or a bedtime story could help them to relax enough to feel ready to sleep.
So if you have ever wondered how to get a baby to sleep in a crib after co-sleeping, then we hope we have covered the main ways to help you with this. And before long, you will all be sleeping like babies.