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You carry your baby in your belly for 9 months, and you get so used to always having your baby so close to you that it can be hard to make the transition to having your baby sleep in a crib in his/her own room. I think it’s probably harder on us parents than it is on our babies. Ha! So I’ve got some tips that helped us with the transition and I think will help you too.
- Be committed: It all starts with your mindset going into the transition. If you go into it with a wishy-washy mindset of “we’ll see if this works, but we can always go back to our old ways”, the transition is most likely not going to go well. But if you go in with the mindset that you are committed to seeing this transition through until it’s successful, you will succeed. Decide. Commit. Succeed. I’m pretty sure that’s a workout motto, but it applies to sleep transition too. Ha!
- Give yourself peace of mind with a baby monitor: Like I said, the key to successfully transitioning your baby to a crib starts with YOU! As parents, we worry when we’re not right there to see our baby and make sure they’re ok. Give yourself peace of mind with a baby monitor. We got the VTech RM5762 Wi-Fi Remote Access Video Baby Monitor with 5” display and 1080p HD 360-degree Pan & Tilt Camera from buybuy BABY. This monitor has so many features that I love and that bring me comfort as a mom. It has wi-fi remote access, so I can watch my girls in real time on the parent unit, or I can use the MyVtech Baby 1080p app, which would be an especially cool feature for any working parents. The camera can pan side-to-side, tilts up and down, and zooms. My other favorite feature is that it has a built-in temperature sensor to alert you if the nursery gets too hot or cold so you can adjust the thermostat. Iris’s room is the hottest room in the house, so I used to always worry about what temperature it was in her room, but now I don’t have to worry. The VTech RM5762 has seriously amazed me with its quality and features. They also have the VTech RM5762-2 Wi-Fi Remote Access Video Baby Monitor with 2 Pan & Tilt Cameras (perfect for a growing family), and the VTech RM5762 Wi-Fi Remote Access Video Baby Monitor (doesn’t have the Pan & Tilt Function on the camera.
- Read your babies sleep cues: Your baby will tell you that he/she is sleepy by yawns, eye rubs, or just plain ol’ fussiness. When you see these sleep cues, drop what you’re doing and start your sleep routine. (This is especially important when you’re developing a new sleep routine.) Your baby’s brain produces a sleep chemical, and you want to get your baby to sleep while the brain is telling your baby it’s time to sleep. If you wait too long, the brain will start to produce a chemical to give your baby more energy to stay awake. Take advantage of when you have the brain helping you out. It can even be helpful to start your bedtime routine a little earlier so that you’re sure not to miss that window.
- Have a bedtime routine: Having both a bedtime and nap time routine is key! The series of actions you go through in your routine will cue your baby that it’s sleepy time. Our nap time routine consists of a white noise machine, reading one book, and singing one song. Our night time routine consists of bath, lotion, pj’s, reading three books, and singing two songs.
- Create a good sleep environment: Sleepy time should be calm and quiet. So you need their room to be calm and quite as well as your behavior to be calm and quiet. Sleepy time isn’t the time for trying to get your baby to laugh and giggle (although, we’re totally guilty of sleepy time giggles because they’re so cute! Ha!). We love to use a white noise machine (the VTech RM5762 Wi-Fi Remote Access Video Baby Monitor has a white noise machine function on it as well as other lullabies), and black out curtains to create the best sleep environment for our girls.
- Don’t pick up your baby as soon as they start crying: This is a tough one for parents because nobody likes to hear their baby cry. I know some parents just can’t do the “cry it out method” where you let your baby cry for 5 minutes before going in to check on/soothe him/her, then wait 10 minutes, then 15, etc. But babies are smarter than you think, and if they know you’ll come pick them up as soon as they start crying, then that’s just what they’ll do. So try to figure out some sort of method that works for you and your baby. Maybe rub your baby’s head or sit in the same room as your baby so he/she knows you’re close by. But just don’t pick your baby up. I had no problem, emotionally, with the “cry it out method”, other than the fact that both Hazel and Iris would just get more energy as they cried, so it didn’t really work for us. But I also knew that I couldn’t pick them up and rock them to sleep every time they cried or they’d continue to cry every time I set them down. So what we ended up doing was I’d make them stay in their crib for 30 minutes (I’d either go in and soothe them every 5min, 10min, etc, or I’d stay in their room too), and after 30 minutes of them being awake, whether they were crying or happy, I’d take them out and we’d go play and try again in an hour. Eventually, they’d get tired enough and would fall asleep on their own.
- Be consistent: Consistency is key! When developing a new routine, it can take a few days to see results. I’ve found that the second day is sometimes the toughest day, but each day after that will get easier as long as you’re consistent. So just be consistent and don’t give up, mama! You can do this!
Good luck parents! Stay strong!
Note: I just want to say that these tips are what worked best for our babies/our family. I am in no way saying that this is the only way to do it or the way everyone should do it. If these tips help, great! And if not, that’s great too! You do what you feel is best for your family.