Co-sleeping can be a great experience for both baby and parents. When parents wish to transition a child from sleeping in the family bed to sleeping in a crib, there are several techniques to use. It is important that parents remember every child is different and one child may be easier to transition than another. When approached with nurturing, patience and consistency, the transition from bed to crib can run more smoothly for the whole family.
Introduce a Lovey
A child who has been co-sleeping views her parents' bed as a safe, comfortable place. In order to successfully move her from the bed into her own crib, a lovey can be helpful, according to the Zero to Three article, "Sleep Challenges in Infants and Toddlers." If a child does not already have a small stuffed animal or blanket she is attached to, one can be introduced as long as it is something that will not be a choking hazard. A child who has a comfort object, the way she has in her parents' bed, will more readily transition into her own crib, says Zero to Three.
Keep Baby Close
An effective way of introducing baby to her crib without taking away the security she has from being with mom and dad is to keep the crib in the same room as them. This method, recommended in the KidsHealth article, "Cosleeping and Your Baby," gives parents their bed back, while maintaining the safe, secure feeling that baby has grown to rely upon. KidsHealth says parents can keep the baby in the crib in their room until they are ready to move the child into her own room. As she gets older she will feel more secure and also develop the independence to be ready for her own room.
Provide the Right Conditions
Every child is different, and therefore, every child requires different conditions in which to fall asleep. When transitioning a child from the parental bed into a crib, it is important to know what that child needs in order to relax enough to fall asleep. In the Ask Dr. Sears article, "31 Ways to Get Your Baby to Sleep and Stay Asleep," it is advised for parents to be sure they know their child's sleep needs. Ask Dr. Sears says that sleep is something that will come naturally and overtake a child when the conditions are right. If there are too many stimuli the child will be unable to sleep, regardless of location. Ask Dr. Sears recommends parents establish soothing routines in order to encourage sleep before bedtime. This will ease the child into the bed transition with greater ease and help eliminate stress created by the change in sleep arrangements.
Transitioning a child from the family bed into her own crib is a process. It takes time, patience and consistency. A WebMD article, “Kids Getting in Bed With Parents? Get Children to Sleep in Their Own Beds,” says that one key factor in transitioning from bed to crib is flexibility. WebMD advises parents that some sleepness nights should be planned for, as their child adjusts to the change. They say parents can sit in the room with their child and pat her back or give some extra snuggles to reassure their little one that she is safe and sound. WebMD reminds parents that in the early years a child is developing trust in the world. Changes like moving from bed to crib can temporarily challenge the existing trust, and in time it will be rebuilt.