How to Break a Baby From Sleeping With the Parents

By Carolyn Scheidies
baby sleeping image by Diane Stamatelatos from

When you first arrive home from the hospital with that precious baby, you might be too exhausted to even think about getting up and down to put your baby in another bed. Your own rest is important, especially if you've had a cesarean section. For this reason, it makes sense to keep your baby in bed with you. However, doing so quickly develops into a habit, which also keeps your baby from learning how to sleep alone. Having the baby sleep with you in your bed can be dangerous for your baby. There are gentle ways to break a baby from sleeping with the parents.

Step 1

Use a bassinet. Your baby quickly gets comfortable in your bed. After all, it is warm, comfortable and you are there. Having your baby in your bed can be a real convenience especially if you nurse your baby. Sooner or later you realize that having your baby in bed all the time with you becomes a major inconvenience. Once your baby develops the habit of sleeping in your bed, switching her to another bed, especially one in another room, is difficult.

If your baby is still small enough to fit into a cradle or bassinet, place one beside the bed. If you nurse, nurse before placing your baby into the bassinet. Keep your hand on your baby, sing softly or otherwise soothe your baby until she calms, realizing you are near and she is secure. Once she adjusts to the bassinet, move it further from the bed. Be ready to soothe and comfort, but do not take your baby back to your bed to sleep. After you feed or nurse her, be sure to return her to the bassinet.

Step 2

Start with nap time. Once your baby adjusts to sleeping alone in a bassinet and he is old enough to start sleeping in a crib, begin putting him in the crib for daytime naps. Be close, comfort him with your voice and with touch, but do not let him nap in your bed even if he is fussy. Be gentle and comforting, but firm. Soothing music often assists in calming your baby. Do not just lay your baby in the crib and leave. This only makes your baby feel insecure and fearful. He'll be even more clingy the next time or he might withdraw, feeling he can no longer trust you, which opens up other problems. Once your baby goes to sleep, be sure to stay in hearing distance with an open door or a monitor.

Step 3

Put your baby in the crib to sleep at night. After your baby learns to nap in his crib during the day, it is time to start using the crib at night time as well. Use the same method you used to acclimate your baby to the crib for the afternoon nap -- your comforting voice and soothing touch. Make sure there are no drafts or anything that squeaks, snaps or causes sounds that may frighten your baby. If darkness seems to bother your baby, you may wish to leave a night light on of some sort. As long as your baby knows you'll come when she has a need, making the transition from your bed to hers will be much less stressful.

About the Author

Carolyn Scheidies has been writing professionally since 1994. She writes a column for the “Kearney Hub” and her latest book is “From the Ashes.” She holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where she has also lectured in the media department.