How to Get Baby to Sleep in His Own Roomby Katlyn Joy | June 8, 2011 12:00 AM
Perhaps nothing brings out more experts in babydom than the topic of baby sleep. There are rows of books lining shelves in bookstores and libraries devoted to various aspects and techniques. Family bed, attachment parenting, cry it out, and various methods in between leave parents feeling overwhelmed.
Is your current baby sleep arrangement working for everyone? If it is not, then it's time to try something else. Maybe baby is sleeping blissfully between you and your spouse but the two of you are tired of waking with little feet tangled in your hair or spit up on your pillow. If you are feeling overtired, or resentful, you need to find a new arrangement for bedtime.
On the other hand, if you are feeling pressured to change your sleeping situation because of relatives or friend's skepticism or criticism, ignore outside advice. If it's working for the three of you, then don't worry about it. It's your family and you know (deep down) what is best for you and yours.
Is one parent content with the situation while the other is frustrated? Then it's time to investigate a new way of handling sleep with the baby. You must be a united team and waking up bitter is not a great team-building experience.
Many breastfeeding mothers in particular sort of slide into a sleep sharing arrangement in those early frequent nursing sessions that stretch through the night. They meant to bring baby to bed to feed baby at 2 a.m. but dozed off before returning the little one to the crib. It happens and eventually it can become an inadvertent pattern.
If one way or another you find yourself hostage to a sleep arrangement that isn't working for you, there are some tips to try to get baby to sleep to at night, in his own room. Bedtime in their own room may sound like a dream itself, but it can be accomplished.
Pace the day
Many sleep problems begin earlier in the day. Make sure baby gets adequate naps in during the day, but none too close to your set bedtime. Baby is not going to be thrilled about bedtime anywhere if timing is off. Also don't set baby down in the crib if he's overtired. That will backfire as well.
Make comfort a priority
Is your baby's room a comfy temperature? Not too warm or cold, no drafty corners is an important consideration as well as how bundled up baby is. Many parents tend to overdress baby. If baby is older, consider the lighting. Some little ones freak out at a dark room minus Mommy.
Use the crib as a crib, not a playpen.
Baby's bed is for sleeping, not playtime. To multifunction that space is to confuse baby.
Have a routine.
Nothing is more key to success in getting baby to sleep in her own room than having a consistent bedtime routine. If baby is unused to the space, then focus that bedtime ritual in the room. Reading stories, singing the same little sleepy time song each night, a final feeding all should be set aside for baby's room. Build a positive association between bedtime, the baby's room, and a good night.
If baby has been sick or the schedule has been shifted due to vacation, or some other big change has upset life, then give a little flexibility to baby's bedtime. Perhaps you can soothe a crying baby a bit longer than typically was needed. Just be careful not to cede all ground and go back to the beginning.
Give baby a bit of yourself.
Letting baby have a blanky that has your scent or being able to see the family photo from the crib may soothe baby.
Consider white noise.
Sometimes baby will be lulled more easily to sleep in his crib if some white noise is in the background.
Go with your gut.
If you know it's time to let baby cry a bit each night and learn to self-soothe, then trust your instincts. You and your baby have a communication and you know your baby better than anyone. If on the other hand, you sense baby needs more time to be soothed by you before settling into her bed, trust that as well. Keep in mind, your child will learn to sleep alone. We all do, we all have. The path to that point is personal and sometimes a bit stressful, but your family will figure it out!
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